Collecting stuff is just about everywhere. Why, even Bert on Sesame Street collects paper clips, and it would seem that young children are collectors by nature. Most toddlers are naturally possessive and are drawn to gathering groups of items. Collecting can be a fun hobby for children, but also most definitely a learning tool for them as well. Children learn from touching, feeling, and doing and collections allow them to do this. It also gives them something to focus on when you are on vacation, shopping, at the beach or out walking.
We started my daughters collecting Beanies Babies, Pez containers and my elder daughter collects water globes and my younger daughter, marbles and monkeys (stuffed and on clothes even!) Collections can range from postcards, rocks and shells, stamps, coins, well the list is practically endless! I believe that collecting gives them a sense of accomplishment when they have found their desired object, gives them something to look for when we are out (we frequent antique markets and with their allowance money, they occasionally make a purchase) and it encourages them to be creative in their display and challenges them to keep their room neat and tidy. Collecting offers many benefits to both children and adults and here are a few ideas why collecting is important:
Collections tell stories regarding where the object came from, the previous owners of it, if it is new, it can tell about our life and times to generations to come.
Collecting uses your imagination (takes imagination on how to display it) and for most of us, it is also the thrill of the hunt. You never know what item for you collection you will find next!
Collecting teaches us – the value of an historical object is great because it gets one to think about the previous owners, their surroundings, etc. Natural things can teach us plenty about the earth and how it is formed such as fossils, shells etc. Current collections can tell us about our current society and will tell future generations about the way we live today.
Collecting can help further science. Scientists collect objects to find out the composition or the history behind it and put the information in their findings and use this information to discover other ideas or thoughts.
Collecting allows you to share your knowledge with other. If you collect a certain object and you do research on that object, you become more knowledgeable in that field and thus you can show your friends what you know about your subject.
Collecting can beautify your surroundings when displayed. If your child puts some effort into it, you can display their collection quite nicely. Dollar stores sell such things as small shelves or shadow boxes that are perfect for the smaller types of collections.
Collecting also offers a sense of accomplishment in both the purchase, the thrill of the hunt as it were and the way that it is displayed. It also boasts the confidence of the child because they know more about their chosen hobby or collection than most of their friends do. This is also a chance to get them to read (what am I talking about?) Why not get them to research their collection. If their hobby is collecting stamps, say, they can read about collecting, the ins and outs on collecting and thus boast their confidence. They have ready items for show and tell and by telling about a subject they know quite a bit about, they also feel much more confident in their abilities.
How do you get started getting your child interested in collecting? Well do not push them to anything, but listen if they express and interest in an item. Many kids start out collecting a particular type of toy (my younger daughter for a time was collecting Hot Wheels types of cars). Family members and friends can also add to the collection for holidays and birthdays. This also gives something for the child to focus on when they are planning what to do with their allowance. With Beanie Babies, we would go to the store ever couple of weeks to see what new stock had come in and the girls would pick one and either continue to save or purchase it there.
There are a myriad of things that a child could start collecting. Some can cost money, others do not have to. All it takes is a imagination and your child could have a great collection of items by the time he or she leaves home!