It's wonderful to watch the natural curiosity of kids, especially when it crosses over to the their collecting habits. Kids can and are interested in everything. When it comes to collecting cost doesn't have to be a factor, collections can be as simple as rocks picked up on vacation, vials of sand from beaches visited, stamps from the mail or quarters received as pocket change (and later given as allowance).
Here are a few ideas that can appeal to anyone, no matter what their age, but will certainly appeal to the youngsters in your life.
Like an adult, it's not uncommon for a kid to be interested across the board and collect about anything, like Andy's keys or noted Christmas designer Larry Fraga who started collecting glass ornaments when he was seven years old! It doesn't matter what it is -- if they love it and it's not harmful (or too costly), let them make their own choices. Yes, they'll probably change directions a dozen times, but don't we all?
United States Mint Images
One idea is State Quarters! It's certainly not a new idea, coin collecting has always been popular and the State Quarters, as well as the new 2009 U.S. Territory Quarters are a great way to start a youngster out.
Make a chart, get a U.S. map or buy a coin folder for a few bucks. This is one collection that won't hurt the budget when done over the summer months.
Did you realize that some State Quarters are worth more than twenty-five cents? Find out which ones!
How about mixing in a little bit of history and geography? I love Postcrossing! It's a neat idea that actually works and is free to boot!
Okay, it's not completely free, if you want a card -- you have to send one, so you do have the cost of purchasing and mailing a postcard from your corner of the world. But if you would like to collect and exchange (paper, not electronic) postcards with people from around the world -- it's easy and lots of fun! The youngest ones in the family will need a little adult help, but involve them in looking at maps and discovering where the cards are going to or what country they've come from.
Collecting pins can fit any budget, just set some guidelines before starting out. Will you collect pins on vacation, from the different places visited? What looking for lapel pins at garage sales and flea markets? They can usually be found for just a few cents.
The most fun is collecting Disney Pins at the parks! If a visit to the parks is on the family calendar, check out these tips and ideas on how to do it for less than $1.50 per pin.
McDonald Fast Food Toys
No one has ever accused McDonalds of not being savvy when trying to appeal to the younger set. The toys in Happy Meals are very appealing, many are also very collectible. When a licensed toy promotion comes along, it's not only the kids who are eating the meals -- adults also look for and collect the toys.
Of course it's hard to build a collection just by eating, it's also probably bad for your health. But fast food toys are usually prolific at garage sales, lower-end collectible malls and flea markets.
Keep an Eye Out for These Toys:
Toy-A-Day FREE Characters
FREE - I'll bet that got your attention. This is a part collectible and part craft web site featuring free printables that are cut-out and folded to create a standing figure. Just print off and assemble your favorite tiny characters.
The little guys range from cartoons to real people as depicted by the artist. Favorites include: Super Mario; Steve Jobs;Sponge Bob Square Pants;Wolverine; Transformers; The Beatles; and of course - Star Wars characters.
There are loads of cartoon characters that will make the younger kids happy, but cutting and assembling these takes a little dexterity. Youngsters under ten might require a little help, but it's definitely fun and worth it!
Classic Video Games
It will probably be the teenagers that are interested in vintage video games. If they're interested in computers, they just might find these fascinating. Vintage video games can be found fairly cheaply and can be plentiful. But it will take someone who loves to tinker a bit to get absorbed in these. No, they don't have the graphics of today's games, but when a teenager sees how they can built a whole library of games for the price of one or two games at today's prices, they'll think again. But it's not just the prices, original PacMan or Space Invaders? They're just too much fun.