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Oregon Family Magazine

The Lesson Behind Collections

01/04/2022 ● By Sarah Lyons
Kids love to collect stuff… everything from rocks to stickers. These “favorite things” bring them joy and entertainment, but can also seem to take up space and collect dust. Are there benefits to collecting?  The answer is, yes… These treasures can be a great opportunity for kids (or adults!) to research and learn about things of interest, and experience the world around them. And it fun! Collecting not only brings satisfaction and depth, it also…

Teaches Responsibility 

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 are more likely to spend time reading about, sorting, and discussing their collections. As kids learn about and research their collections, they experience the world around them. While collecting rocks, kids learn about science. While researching stamps or coins they learn about history. A leaf or shell collection teaches about nature, or a baseball card collection teaches sports and math as they study and compare statistics. 

Shared Experience

Collecting and sharing can foster friendships because there’s common ground. There may even be conventions a collector can attend to explore, purchase, and meet others who are interested in the same collector’s items they are. This also helps build social skills and a way to meet new people.

Create a Story

Collections also help create a story. As one looks through items in their collection they can recall where they found a particular item - at a 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 found the item.

Lessons in Budgeting

Kid collectors who find items that need to be purchased will have an opportunity to learn budgeting skills. They will need to research how much an item costs, find a way to earn money, and save until they can purchase it. This may provide the opportunity to research and compare items and compromise which item they can afford. If the item can be traded, they can practice negotiation skills as they bargain for a good price.

Brings Joy

While your child’s collection may look like a dust collector to you, it likely brings your child much happiness. When I think about it, I have my own collections that bring me joy. A stack of books by my nightstand, my grandmother’s fine china, more lipstick and nail polish than I ever need, and enough kitchen gadgets to fill two kitchens! A child’s collection brings them a similar happiness, and it’s important to remember and respect this. Provide a shelf to display the treasured items or a special box to store them in. Many valuable lessons can be learned from collecting, and it seems to be human nature… so why not… let the fun begin!