By Sarah Lyons
Kids love to collect everything from rocks to stickers. These treasures bring kids joy and entertainment, but they also take up space and collect dust. While they often seem like trash, collections often provide a great opportunity for kids to learn about things that interest them. Here are benefits of children starting a collection.
Kids who collect items need to be responsible for them. They sort, take care of, and find creative ways to display the items they interested in. It’s important to make sure collections are well cared for and stored correctly so they don’t get lost or broken. This helps kids learn responsibility and organization.
Kids who collect are more likely to spend time reading about, sorting and discussing their collections. As they research and learn about their chosen item(s), they learn about the world around them. For instance, a baseball card collection teaches about sports, but also math as they compare statistics. Here are other lessons learned:
- Science and nature: rocks, shells, leaves, pinecones, bugs (For items you don’t want in the house, encourage kids to take photos and provide a spot to display them)
- History: coins, stamps, fossils, arrowheads, artifacts
- Creativity: There is a host of items that foster creativity, whether it’s art supplies, buttons, playing cards- or simply the different ways a child chooses to display their collection.
Collectors bond with others who share similar interests, which can help start friendships. There may be conventions kids and parents can attend to explore, purchase and meet others who are interested in the same collector’s items. These experiences help build social skills and new relationships.
As kids look through their collection, they recall where they acquired certain items-at a family triping or on a hike with a friend – and they learn to tell stories about the experiences to family members, friends, and visitors.
For items that need to be purchased, kids will have an opportunity to learn budgeting skills. They need to research prices, find a way to earn money, and save until they have enough to make a purchase. If items are traded, they can practice negotiation skills as they bargain with friends.
While your child’s collection may be nothing but a dust collector to parents, it likely brings your child happiness. I have an abundance of items that bring me joy: a stack of books, my grandmother’s china, and enough gadgets to fill two kitchens. A child’s collection brings similar joy and it’s important for parents to remember this, foster their interests and encourage what is important to them.
Many valuable lessons can be learned from maintaining collections. Support kids by providing a shelf to display items or a special box for storage.