The Adventure of Collecting

A child’s fascination with all things is natural.

Parents and guardians can capitalize on a child’s interests by helping them collect things that speak to them. Collecting coins, stamps, rocks and shells helps kids develop a potential lifelong passion for something that interests them, while also nurturing their curiosity and expanding the world around them.

“Building a collection encourages children to learn about the world around them by observation, and through comparing and sorting objects,” says Becky Wolfe, director of school programs and educational resources at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Collecting activates creativity.

Your child gets to think independently about what to collect. Their collection is solely of their design. Allow them to brainstorm about interesting little things they want to find, giving them the opportunity to use their imagination. Also, your child could find a special place and way to store or display their collection. The creative process of making a display to show off what your new curator is proud of will boost their self-confidence.

Collecting engages organizational thinking.

As the collection grows, your child will notice how each object is different, yet similar. Encourage your child to label their collection. “Writing labels or creating a small museum uses reading and writing skills in a fun way,” Wolfe says. They can log dates, the location where the objects were found and other details. Logging helps your child think about how to categorize and organize objects.

Collecting builds focus and patience.

Collections do not assemble overnight; they are a commitment. Your child’s search for items to add to their collection can take time. This develops patience as they wait for an opportunity to find another object for the collection.

To get your child started on the adventure of discovery, look outside — nature can be very mysterious, with many objects to uncover. For more inspiration, visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, with its ever-growing collection of more than 130,000 artifacts with everything from cretaceous bones to comic books.

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