Children and adults love to collect things ranging from stamp collections, stickers, lego, dinosaurs to sticks. We all collect for different reasons. Maybe its the challenge, for a hobby, creating a decorative space in the home or maybe for the excitement of finding something unusual, pretty or rare.
As a child, I loved nothing better than opening my mothers button tin. I spent ages enjoying the sound as I ran my hands through the buttons. I would sit and admire them, often wondering which was my favourite.
I became an avid collector from an early age seeking out different items to collect, enjoy, play with, sort and organise. Over the years I have collected different types of erasers, badges, stamps, handbags and purses (I’m still seeking out the perfect one), buttons, books, sea glass searching in Scotland and plants. For me, each of these collected treasures evokes memories. My garden is full of memories from plants I have collected from friends, plant gifts from children I have taught, plants I have nurtured from seedlings and plants from my Granny’s garden.
To me collections are happy memories, reflect moments in time and are droplets of fascinations and they are treasured.
Not all treasures are silver and gold.
As we are all spending more time in nature during this difficult time, I thought it may be useful to explore the concept of nature collecting. As I am sure you are all experiencing currently, your child has a natural instinct to touch, feel and interact with the world around them. This normally results in parents pockets becoming full of little gifts and treasures. By allowing your child the freedom to become a nature seeker/explorer they will be fostering a connection with the natural world and by collecting items found in the natural world they will develop immersion, wonder in natures beauty and interact on a deeper level with its offerings.
Children find beauty in the smallest of things.
Young children collect for pure pleasure and wonder in discovering something for the first time. It doesn’t need to be given a name by a child but for the child its the excitement, the feel and sensory feedback they get from placing it in their little hands. It is the awe and wonder.
Ways to collect treasures when out and about
Using teddy bears
Sticky Ted loves to join children on adventures especially because he feels brave when he goes outside with his friend. Add some double sided sticky tape to his arm and he can collect the treasures that your child finds to take home.
Ice cube trays or egg boxes are a great resource for young children to take out on their adventures. They are light, easy to carry and show off their collected items perfectly. Oh and they limit the amount of items to collect 🙂
Creating journey sticks
Journey sticks are a wonderful way for young children to create a memento of the story of their walk featuring items collected along the way. You can then hang them or display them in your garden or home.
Now we are home… What shall we do with the collected treasures?
Create a nature journal
This is a great way for you and your child to make observations about the natural world over a year. You can add drawings or paintings of insects/ animals that you see, describe the sounds you hear, attach treasures or photos of your treasures and have a go at pressing flowers.
Jar of curiosities – time capsule
Click here to be taken to a blog by Babyccinokids on how to display collected treasures once home.
It is a lovely blog focusing on a family who have embraced collecting items and have created jars of their collections each year.
Take time to look observe
Take the time to explore the items together. Look at the patterns, colours, size, textures and shapes. Your child will enjoy spending time playing, arranging and sorting the objects in different ways.
Offering back to nature
I believe it is important for children to understand from a young age that they must treat our world with respect and care. Therefore if you are removing a small twig, stone, piece of moss then teach your child to only take a little piece. Once you have enjoyed the item you could either return the item back to the natural world or do something to help nature e.g. leave a little bird seed for the creatures who live in the wood. Being gracious and thankful for spending the time in your special place is important when developing an understanding of sustainability and our footprint on our world.