What kids learn from collections
By Sarah Lyons
My kids 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. Are there benefits to encouraging the kids to collect items? While these treasures seem like garbage to me, they can be a great opportunity for kids to research and learn about things that interest them and experience the world around them. Here are some great reasons to encourage your child’s collection.
Kids who collect items will need to learn to be responsible for them. They will sort, take care, and find creative ways to display the things they are interested in. 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.
Experience the world around them
Kids who collect items are more likely to spend time reading about, sorting, and discussing their collections. As kids learn about and research their collections they will experience 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 study and compare statistics.
Kids who collect items can bond with others who share similar interests. This can help start friendships because you are already building on common ground. There may even be conventions kids can attend to explore, purchase, and meet others who are interested in the same collector’s items that they are. This will help them build social skills, meet new people, and build new relationships.
Create a story
Collections can also help kids create a story. As they look through the items in their collection they can recall where they found the item — at a family trip to the zoo or on a hike with a friend and they can remember, share the experience, and learn to tell a story about how they acquired the item.
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 the item. This may provide the opportunity to research and compare items and compromise on which item they can afford. If the item can be traded they will need to practice their negotiation skills as they bargain with their friends.
While your child’s collection may look like a dust collector to you, it likely brings your child happiness. When I really think about it, I have my own collections that bring me joy. 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 and they bring me joy. Your child’s collection brings them a similar happiness and it is important to remember this.
A child’s treasured collection may seem like a trash collection to a parent but try to foster their interests and encourage what is important to them. Provide a shelf to display items or a special box to store their items in. Many valuable lessons can be learned from collecting items and it seems to be human nature to want to gather items and start a collection.