Kids are natural
collectors. They collect action figures, dolls, baseball cards,
seashells, stamps, coins, comic books, stickers, model horses,
fossils, rocks, and anything else that captures their interest. They
trade collectibles with friends, learn the value of favorite items,
and work on displays. While some children are causal collectors,
others are intensely involved. One boy who collected baseball cards
spent hours each week organizing his collection and studying the
playersí game statistics.
Children become interested in collectibles in a number of ways. A
teacher might spark involvement with lessons on dinosaurs or
national flags. A childís friend might talk him into becoming a co
collector so the two can trade items. A book, a TV show, a trip to
an exciting place, or a gift can start a childís hobby.
Some kids collect because their parents or siblings do or used to.
When a child sees how excited his parents are about a special piece
of pottery or a political button, he may be inspired to state his
own collection. Even parents who donít collect now can inspire their
child with stories of their old childhood collections: the pleasure
of trading stickers with friends, working on a train layout, or
gathering action figures or Legos. Most parents now regret having
thrown out those collections.
If your child is starting a collection, there are lots of ways to
help and encourage him. The most important is to take an interest.
Ask him to tell about parts of his collection and listen to his
stories about special finds. You may be astounded by how much he
You can help him find books, articles, shops, or exhibitions that
specialize in his hobby. One girl bought rocks and gems
inexpensively at collectorís shows and museum stores. A mother and
child searched flea markets and garage sales together, looking for
old magic tricks.
You can find or buy your child pieces for his collection, or tell
inquiring relatives which items he would enjoy receiving. You also
can help him store and display his items. Depending on his hobby, he
could use scrap books, picture frames, a bulletin board, cases, or
shelves. He might decide to make his own custom display. One child
hung his key chain collection on a heavy piece of cardboard cut in
the shape of a key. Other kids arrange their animal or doll
collections in scenes using homemade props. Whether your child makes
an elaborate display or just piles his collection up, heíll enjoy
showing it off arid sharing it with others.
Heís likely to eventually lose interest in his hobby as he enters
the teenage years, but donít get rid of his old treasures. Keep them
as souvenirs or as items to pass on to a younger sibling, or simply
for your child to enjoy again once heís grown.