My children love to collect everything from rocks to stickers. They bring my kids joy and entertainment, but they also seem to take up space and collect dust. I must admit that I have wondered: are there benefits to encouraging kids to collect items?
While these treasures may sometimes seem like trash, I have found that they can be a great opportunity for kids to research and learn about things that interest them. As a result, they gain a better understanding of the world around them.
Here are some great reasons to encourage your child’s collection.
- Teaches Responsibility
Kids who collect items will need to learn to be responsible for them. They will sort, care for and find creative ways to display the things that interest them. They will need to make sure they are well cared for and stored correctly so they don’t get lost or broken. This will help them learn responsibility and organization.
- Allows Kids To Experience the World Around Them
Collectors like to spend time reading about, sorting and discussing their collections. As kids study their collections, their curiosity will lead them to a better understanding of the world around them. While collecting rocks, kids will learn about science. While researching stamps or coins, they will learn about history. A leaf or shell collection will teach them about nature, and a baseball card collection teaches them about sports and math as they analyze and compare statistics.
- Builds Friendships Through Shared Experiences
Collections can allow children to more easily bond with others who share similar interests. This connection can help form friendships built on common ground. There may even be conventions or classes that kids can attend to delve deeper and meet others who are interested in the same collector’s items that they are. This will help them build social skills as they meet new people and build relationships.
- Encourages Storytelling
Collections can also inspire stories. As children look through the items in their collections, they recall where they found them – whether at a family trip to the zoo or on a hike with a friend. They can remember, share the experience and learn to tell a story about how they acquired, prepared or learned more about the item.
- Offers Lessons in Budgeting
Kids who collect items that need to be purchased will have the opportunity to learn budgeting skills. They will need to research how much the item costs, find a way to earn money and save until they can purchase it. This may provide the opportunity to research, compare items and compromise for what they can afford. If the item can be traded, they will need to practice their negotiation skills as they bargain with their friends.
- Brings joy
It seems to be human nature to want to gather items and learn more about them. When I really think about it, I have my own collections that bring me delight. A stack of books by my nightstand, my grandmother’s china, more lipsticks and nail polish than I truly need, and enough kitchen gadgets to fill two kitchens. I don’t need these things, but I have collected them over the years because they bring me a sense of joy. Your child’s collection brings them similar happiness, and it is important to remember this.
Children’s treasured collections may seem like a mess of odds and ends to a parent, but try to foster their interests and encourage activities that are important to them. Provide a shelf to display items or a special box to store their collections. Many valuable lessons can be learned from collecting items.
Sarah Lyons is a mom of six children, including 6-year-old triplets. She tries to allow her kids to collect items they view as important, even though she may not always agree with the value of their “treasures.