Creative Child

What Kids Learn from Collections

by Sarah Lyons


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.

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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 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.

Brings joy

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.


Life Lessons Learned from Collections

  • Science and nature - rocks, shells, leaves, bird nests, bugs (For items that you don’t want to keep in the house -  encourage your child to take photos of some of these items and give them a place to collect and display their nature photos)
  • History - coins, stamps, fossils, arrowheads or artifacts
  • Bargaining - cards - card collecting is a common childhood collection and encourages trades and bargains
  • Math - sports cards, counting items, sorting, and saving money to purchase items they would like to purchase
  • Creativity - Kids will need to use creativity to display their items

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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