Collecting doesn't have to take a lot of money, sometimes it's almost free. Here are a few suggestions on how to spur the passion without breaking the kids' piggy banks!
- State Quarters -- They're not free, but when you're just checking out the change it can feel that way. Get them involved in looking for the new ones from both mints, perhaps it can even be a history lesson on why certain images are used.
- Cereal Box Premiums -- Think inside the box! But don't stop with just the premiums. Cereal boxes are also a terrific collectible, especially when limited editions are produced for movies and sports. Boxes can be carefully taken apart and stored flat -- displaying just a few treasures at a time.
- Advertising Premiums -- The kids can start checking the Sunday coupon supplements for those mail-in premiums. As an added bonus, they'll be doing more reading! If you take the kids grocery shopping, have them keep an eye out for those freebies that come with the food stuffs. Although some might not appeal to the younger set, there are lots that will.
- Sea Shells/Rocks -- Find these on your vacation, sand from beaches visited, small rocks from the parks make sure the youngster has a way of labeling them with when and where they were found.
- Postcards -- A great inexpensive travel souvenir and an excellent collection to start. Let them choose a card from the attractions that are visited on vacation. Or get the kids started on Postcrossing, a terrific idea where, for the cost of a stamp and a local card, you are on the way to starting a collection.
- McDonald Happy Meal Toys -- What a bargain! They get a meal, drink, cookies and a toy for under three dollars. Many times the toys are tied to licensed characters and are a cross collectible.
- Keys - One young collector gets keys from his friends and family, free and interesting. Perhaps he might graduate to old, fun skeleton keys that can also be used in great decorative displays.
- Small Candy Tins -- if you can find them with food products in the supermarket, it's like getting them free. And many times they are almost given away at garage sales and thrift stores.