Toddlers carrying a bag (mostly, an old tampered bag of the house) and filling it with things they can collect from the floor, drawers and kitchen cabinets is a common sight in many homes. Though it may get heavy, they’ll endure the weight to roam around the house carrying their heavy stuff, pretending to be it’s their most important job of the day.
Yes, collecting is one of the important playtime activities of children! As they grow, their interest in the kind of things they collect may keep moving from one to another, but at any given phase, collectibles are prized possessions for young children.
This post is a part of a series of posts on this blog on The Things that really matter to Children. Click the link to see the complete list of posts in the series.
C for Children’s Collectibles: How Collectibles matter to Children!
We walk back home from school everyday. In the ten-minute walk, my boy’s favourite activity is to explore the components lying on the road and the trees and plants on the road sides. He loves to pick up the stones from the road, seeds fallen from the trees, flowers from the nearby plants, sticks (bigger the better), gravels – in short, anything except animal poops! He continues his collection when he goes to the park to play and I keep hearing that he does it when he plays in the school playground as well.
It begins as a curiosity to know what object it is. When the examination is over, he feels excited to keep it in his pocket and bring it home. The first thing he does when he’s back home is to take out his precious collections of the day, either show it to me with a detailed description of his discovery or begin to play with it immediately. For your information, once it was a bone left on the road, half-chewed by a dog!
Only when I hear too much noise from the washing machine, I realize what has been in his pant pockets all day. In the initial days, as a mother, my response to his dirty collectibles used to be to shout at him for picking them up from the roads and even worse, bringing them home. There used to be serious negotiations between us about which ones are still okay to keep and which ones are to be thrown right away.
It took some while for me to get closer to his interest in collectibles. As I began to see the creative and intuitive ways in which he was using the things from his collection, I slowly allowed him to explore the roadsides. Even more, the more I heard about children of his age collecting pokeman cards, kinder joy toys and gold coins in subway surfers, the more I began to appreciate the kind of collectibles he was doing.
Today, he has a three-level box dedicated for his road collectibles. It is almost his treasure chest! Sticks and stones top his collection box. He checks the box from time to time, counts the items of each kind and can very well sniff if his little sister had tried to meddle with it when he was off to school.
To children, discovering something that’s unusual is interesting. Small things that we normally don’t use at home are intriguing for them. The thought of a potential use they can associate with the newly-found thing is highly exciting for them. A shiny stone my boy found in the park sand area immediately sent a spark in his brain to use it as a diamond in his pirate play. How exciting an idea – for him!
Children’s collectibles are more an extension of themselves. Like how as adults we value our status of living with the net worth of the properties we managed to save, that’s how collectibles matter to children.
It could be anything. For some, it could be freely available things like natural things. For some, it could be toys they are fond of – hot wheel cars or hatchimals. As they grow, it may change to stamps, antiques or anything they are passionate about. I am sure, as adults, we all have our own interests in collecting something – fancy clothes, books, plants or gadgets.
To us, children’s collectibles may not always carry meaning. But to them, it is an interesting part of their childhood. It satiates their need to constantly explore something. If you can remember bragging to your classmate as a child, about the goli your dad gave you after opening the soda bottle years before, you will relate to what it feels to a child who is anxious to announce to his friend the latest lego figurine he added to his lego men collection.
If you read till here, think about the things your child has shown passion in collecting. How well do you encourage his passion. Does he have a collection box or bag of his own? Do you take interest in his collectibles? Do you discuss with your child what you were fond of collecting as a child?
Collectibles – yet another little things that really matter to children!
List of posts in the Series
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