Tips for Collecting with Children
- Always enforce the Ã¢ÂÂlook but donÃ¢ÂÂt touchÃ¢ÂÂ rule when in an antiques mall. Make sure kids donÃ¢ÂÂt run or roughhouse in antique stores for their own safety and the safety of others.
- Use the shopping experience as a learning tool. Allow children to ask questions about unusual items, and teach them to respect other peopleÃ¢ÂÂs property in the process.
- Show children items you recognize from childhood or your grandmotherÃ¢ÂÂs house. Explain why they hold fond memories.
- Encourage kids to start small, inexpensive collections. Teach them how to display and care for their collectibles when they get back home.
- Let kids look through books on collectibles that interest them, or topics that interest you. Learn about antiques and collectibles together.
With some direction, an interesting book or two and a little cash, children of all ages can discover an educational, stimulating hobby through collecting. I'm quite sure my own affinity for collecting was learned from my mother, but sometimes it seems like I was born with the collecting gene.
As a young girl, I rode along with mom combing garage sales and flea markets. I'd almost always dig up something too, and at garage sale prices she rarely had to tell me no. When items were beyond her budget, I had the option of using my allowance to purchase them.
The earliest collection I remember accumulating was a group of miniature porcelain dog figurines including Dalmatians,sheep dogs, dachshunds, German shepherds and a host of others. The mother dogs with puppies were my favorites. With a nickel here and a dime there, or maybe a quarter for a whole dog family, my hobby kept me entertained for quite some time with very little cash output.
Later on, I collected Snoopy items of all kinds and then I moved on to candles as a pre-teen. My candle collection consisted of everything from a realistic looking Popsicle to a cartoon-like hamburger, all made of wax. It was an unusual collection, but one that I enjoyed displaying in my room.
Learning Through Collecting
In addition to having fun, as children grow groups of objects they learn to take care for them, display them, research them and budget their allowance to buy more.
Collections can mirror a child's personal interests or historical topics they learn about in school. Other times accumulations just kind of happen over time. Being naturally inquisitive, children tend to hone in on things adults may not notice.
Kids also learn a lot from shopping for antiques and collectibles since history abounds in all areas of collecting. Even as a child, reading my mother's Depression glass book taught me to recognize most of the popular patterns and colors, and I asked questions that helped me to learn about the Great Depression in the process. I still use this information as an adult as a writer, antiques dealer, appraiser and collector.
What to Know Before You Go Shopping with Children
There are some important factors to consider before taking a child into a shop filled with attractive, breakable items:
With a little thought and consideration, collecting adventures with children can be lots of fun. And nowadays, you don't even have to leave home to go treasure hunting.
Collecting with Kids Online
Collecting online can be entertaining for children. Research can be done on most any collectible item, old or new, and collections can be grown as well. It's thrilling for a child to receive a package containing a collectible item in the mail, but buying online should always be supervised by an adult.
Remind the child that even minimal shipping costs can drive up prices before getting too keyed up about a purchase. Make sure fees added to minimally priced items stay within a reasonable range of budget limitations to avoid disappointment. And teach them to always let a more experienced adult review a purchase before they make a commitment to buy something online. A trained adult eye will often notice condition problems or signs of authenticity that children just learning the ropes might overlook.