Suggested Activities for kids: collecting
The Junior Collector: a Cool Kids’ Hobby
isn’t only for grown-ups. Encouraging your kids to start their
own collections will give them something to do that doesn’t
involve staring at a TV or computer screen. It allows children
to pursue their own passions, helps develop a variety of skills,
and can even earn them extra pocket money.
There was a time when most children had a stamp collection. A
few generations before that, collecting butterflies and insects
was a popular pastime that combined open air activity with
pleasurable study, and collecting and swapping cigarette cards
was a big deal. Collecting is a hobby that has some
old-fashioned connotations, but it can be cool too.
What to collect?
come in many guises, and collections can be themed in a range of
ways. If a child has an existing passion – perhaps for a type of
doll, or Harry Potter – deciding what to collect may be easy.
One treasured item can form the core of a collection. A 1950
teacup could be the beginning of a collection of china
generally, items linked to tea, things made by a particular
factory, or items dating from the same period. A World War I
button could be part of a collection of military memorabilia or
Collecting cards is a very viable hobby for many kids these
days. Whether they are Bakuran, Pokemon, hockey cards, or other
such cards, children can't wait to see what they will get next,
and can actually use the cards, in some cases, for games that
turn out to be quite complex and involving.
If starting from scratch, the main concern for the junior
collector is likely to be cost. Many things can be collected for
free: shells, fossils, rocks, wild flowers, to name a few.
Things that may not seem valuable – let’s say pencil sharpeners
- can be picked up at car boot sales, garage sales, and charity
shops for a pittance. Even the most mundane items, worth nothing
on their own, can gain value as part of a collection. The most
important thing is that the collector has a sustainable interest
in whatever s/he decides to focus on.
The benefits of collecting
has many educational bonuses that make learning fun. Encouraging
children to explore a theme in depth helps develop special types
of skill, in forming questions and evaluating which directions
to investigate. It contrasts with some internet learning which
can focus instead on a wide range of superficial information.
Many collections will give their owners a powerful sense of
living history, whether that is the way human lives have changed
through the years or the development of science and technology.
Organizing a collection also develops useful skills, not only
order and physical tidiness. Cataloguing and classifying
encourages the synthesis of different strands of information.
Many collectible items have a visual appeal that may encourage
children’s interest in art. Displaying a collection also
encourages visual thinking. Caring for a collection may also
develop practical skills if items need cleaning and restoring.
Though collecting may seem like a solitary pursuit, in the days
of the internet, it offers opportunities for collectors to
engage with school friends and potentially other enthusiasts all
over the world. Swapping duplicates or unwanted items is a
training for money management. It encourages entrepreneurial
skills at the same time as building friendship networks.
Many an adult has gone on to pursue a career that began with a
childhood collection. It's also not impossible for children to
become knowledgeable and to stumble upon items that are worth
money, though profit alone is unlikely to keep most junior
collector’s interest going. Apart from keeping kids usefully
busy, it may solve another parental problem – what to buy for
Christmas and birthdays!