Kids and Collections


kids and collections des moines moms blogMy kids have many different collections, and I was interested to see if that was leading them down the road to becoming future hoarders or if it was something I should be encouraging.

I have two boys who love Legos, coins, flattened pennies, comic books, rocks/shells, and Beyblades. All of these collections are important to them and they both love to display their treasures.

As an adult, I love my collections too. I personally collect ornaments from all of our travels, a certain kind of bracelet, and seashells from beaches I’ve been to. They bring a sense of joy and nostalgia when I look at them.

parenting kids who collect things des moines moms blog

Why Collections Are Good For Kids

I turned to Psychology Today to see what impact collecting has on kids. To my surprise, there are many good reasons to encourage kids to pursue things to collect.

First, collecting things that the kids want to collect encourages imagination. (The key here is letting children decide what to collect.) Collections for children are a source of playtime and are great for brain development.

Second, collections help their developing brains practice sorting and organizing. That leaf collection they just have to save? It might be a great way to help them practice classifying items, which is a very important scientific skill.

Collections also help with other brain development like creating patterns, comparing, distinguishing and more. Through this form of play, collecting things helps our kids make sense of the world.

Here are two articles that explain the psychology behind kids and collecting:

Practical Tips for Parents

How do we balance our kids’ collections and our sanity? Here are some things we found that help at our house:

  • Create space. This could be on a bookshelf or in a box in their closet. I really like to use plastic shoeboxes or tubs to help keep everything safe and organized—and not too cluttered.
  • Teach kids organization skills. I like to explain to my kids why it is important to organize their treasures beyond just aesthetic appeal. It keeps their items safe when they are put away. It helps them access their pieces more easily and to see what they already have.
  • Set boundaries. It’s ok to collect a variety of things. In our house, the kids must use their own money to purchase collections or receive them as a gift. I am not in the habit of spending lots of money on their collections. They can earn their money if it is something important to them. Another boundary is that collections must be treated with respect. This means keeping them picked up, displayed, preserved, etc. I want them to have creativity and freedom, but I also need to maintain some of my sanity.

What do your kids collect? Do you have any tips for collections?


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