Collecting Kids – A Guest Post by Estelle

Today’s guest post is written by my good friend and Op-shopping buddy, Estelle of Curbside Style, and now brand new blog Fortune Favours the Thrifty. When she isn’t toddler wrangling and scouring e-bay and her local oppies for vintage goodies, she can sometimes be found at the Camberwell market selling cool to hipsters.
Take it away Estelle…

One of my earliest childhood memories is of an old, black cardboard suitcase with a Twisties sticker on the top and ‘Pandora’s Box’ scrawled in thick marker on the hounds tooth lining. My family nicknamed me Pandora because that suitcase travelled with me everywhere and it’s contents were always a mystery to them. The collections in that case were never shared because treasure was not for sharing.

Shells, paper streamers and stamps, coloured foil and string, leaf skeletons and gumnut’s were things of beauty to me and they all had a ‘treasure factor’, some magical element that made them worth collecting.

I’m not sure if the collecting bug is something you’re born with, if it’s something you develop or perhaps both. But what I do know is that old suitcase seeded my love of collecting, gave me enormous freedom and was a constant source of inspiration for my hungry imagination. If you want to foster that bug in your kids you need to include them in your own collecting and then give them the freedom to choose their own ‘thing’, even if it is gravel, which is what my four year old likes to collect.

Have you ever noticed how your child’s play changes when they think they’re alone? It’s like an invisible thread that ties them to you snaps and within a blink of an eye they’re in some other world, doing amazing things with incredible creatures and characters. I think the key to a ‘Collecting Kid’ is giving them room to find the things that spark their own imaginations and then providing them with a place of their own to store those ‘keepsakes’. For me it was a suitcase, for Ada it’s a cardboard box the size of a small house. The container itself and even the contents are not important as long as the sense of permanence and ownership is there. It’s that sense of independence and freedom that allows their imaginations to take flight and that same sense of independence that allows them to explore the meanings and stories behind the objects they collect. A simple box can become a conduit to a whole other world.

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