I have always been a pack-rat. Anything I have, I want LOTS of it: shoes, cookbooks, music, jewelry, lounge pants, movies, holiday decor, etc. So, I like to pass on my love for collecting (hording?) to my kids. There are tons and tons of ideas for thing to collect, but here are several that I thought would be especially fun for kids:
First off, a few suggestions for you parents:
1. Let Them Play With Their Collection – What fun is a collection that you can’t touch? Save the most special, valuable pieces that they shouldn’t play with for when they get older.
2. Give Them a Place to Store or Display Their Collection – Otherwise, you will find it all over the floor, little bro/sis will take it, or you will be digging it out of baby’s mouth!
3. Help Them Learn More About Their Collection – The more educated they are about their collection, the more they will value it.
Vintage Toys & Books
Tell your little one all about the toys YOU used to play with (and books you used to read). Have them ask their grandparents about the toys THEY used to play with…and let the search begin! Try yard sales, eBay, Craig’s List, Amazon, etc.
It’s possible that some of the toys/books are still being manufactured and you can find them at any store! Granted, they might not actually be OLD…but, they are still nostalgic. Think: Barbies of the past, Raggedy Ann, Sock Monkeys, He-Man, Thundercats, Nerfuls, the original Little People, old Board Games, Little Golden Books, Jack In The Box, etc. Although, I think it would be fun to have a variety of items, maybe “Vintage Toys” is too broad for you. Be more specific…just collect vintage Star Wars items, vintage dolls, books, Strawberry Shortcake, etc.
A perfect way to start a coin collection is to start off simple. Collecting state quarters is a great way to make it simple and easy for your kids. Get them a display folder or book and they’re on their way! They will have fun searching through change jars, digging through your purse and pockets, and keeping their eyes out for the ones they are missing! This collector’s map is a favorite on Amazon…and it’s a great price!
Collector’s Map, $9
It’s always more fun to collect something when you know more about it. Pick up a book about the collection and let your child learn more about it’s value, rarity, mark on society, etc. This book has several pages about each of the state quarters in existence…how it was designed, the process behind it, the release date, etc.
A Pocketful of History, $13
Does your child love Disney?? Let them collect the pins! There is a HUGE variety and their are TONS of collectors out there! I had NO IDEA pin collecting was such a popular thing to do! You can buy them online or trade with the “Cast Members” at Disney Parks. (They wear their pins on their lanyards (hip or neck) and will happily trade with you!
There are also stores and kiosks all over the park that offer Disney pins. Legitmate pins must have the Mickey Mouse stopper on the back. Many collectors like to get their hands on the “Hidden Mickey” pins, a small Mickey head silouhette is hidden on the pin. They can’t be purchased…you can only get them from a Cast Member. A perfect way to store the pins is on a lanyard or Disney also sells books to keep them in. Too overwhelmed by the huge selection?? Pick a theme: favorite characters, Princesses, Star Wars, etc.
Pins can be pricey at Disney Parks and online, averaging $5 to $15 dollars per pin. However, you can find them significantly cheaper on eBay! Just make sure they are the real deal. Learn more about pin trading, here and here.
PEZ candies were originally made in the 1930′s as a mint for adults, the original dispenser looked similar to a cigarette lighter (below).
In the 50′s they were re-marketed for kids by using the unique dispenser. They are a fun and cheap collection for your kids to start! You can buy a dispenser for just a couple bucks…or you can find collector originals online for a couple hundred dollars! The highest price dispenser sold on eBay went for $1200 dollars! Find lots of info about PEZ, here. And, read the interview of a serious collector, here.
PEZ Field Guide, $12
Stuffed Animal Collections
Cuddlekins Elephant, $18
There are so many options when it comes to collecting stuffed animals! You can stick to specific brands: Gund, Ty, Russ, Cuddlekins, etc. Or, you can pick a certain type of animal: teddy bears, elephants, farm animals, jungle animals, fairy tales, etc. Collecting stuffed animals is also a great way to bring back fond memories. Pick one up in every place you go on a vacation, give one for birthdays and Christmas, and for other special events (graduations, good grades, and other achievements). Maybe you can tag it with the date/occasion it was given.
I know I’ve suggested rock collecting before, but it really is so perfect for kids! Pick them up a fun field guide on rocks and they can constantly be on the look-out for interesting rocks to add to their collection. Another bonus, lots of rocks are FREE! A bead case for jewelry is a perfect display case for smaller rocks. If you’re feeling generous or think your child is REALLY into their hobby…pick up a rock tumbler for them (Christmas/Birthday)! They will have a ball loading that thing with rocks and seeing what they turn out like when they are done. I know I want one…for myself. One web site I like for rocks is http://www.bestcrystals.com/.
I don’t like to buy things twice, so I would rather pay a little more money for the mid-grade version. This rock tumbler is just that…great reviews on Amazon for a quality, small-scale tumbler. It’s the Model T, for $90. You can buy a piece of crappity crap for around $30. Remember that rock tumblers are noisy and require patience. They have to run continuously for days and days…so, it’s best to keep them somewhere where the noise won’t bother you. If it gets too squeaky, just add a few drops of oil.
Booger Shirt, $15
Kids love boogers, so why not let them start a booger collection? They come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. No two are alike! Best of all, they are FREE!…gotta love that. AND, the collection might seriously come in handy if their is a famine and you forgot to work on your food storage. Or, maybe you DO have food storage but wheat just isn’t that tasty…you want something a little more salty. Boogers. Maybe you are wrapping presents and ran out of Scotch tape…sneak a few boogers from the little dude’s collection. There are lots of fabulous reasons to collect this, go: hair gel, dumplings for soup, making Christmas decorations, thickening gravy, etc.
Oh, my heck. I can’t believe I just did a google search for booger pictures. Barf. Barf. Barf. You wouldn’t believe the nasty snot I saw. You can totally thank me for not posting them…cause I almost did. Oh, the things I do for you…
What do your kids like to collect??