Monday, January 17, 2011

Collecting Things

One of the quirks my daughter has is that she loves to collect things. I know, many kids like to collect things. When I was young I collected stamps and old coins and dolls. My daughter likes to collect twigs, pine cones, and rocks. She doesn't collect beautiful, colorful rocks, but any rock she comes across. I work really hard to discourage her from collecting these things. A behaviorist once told me that collecting these kind of objects can be viewed as strange and shouldn't be encouraged.

The other day, my daughter came home from school with a special project due on February 2nd. She's supposed to make a diorama of a groundhog's home in honor of Groundhog's Day. She couldn't wait to start the project! She really does have a knack for making three dimensional-type art. In preschool, when she wasn't spending her time reading, she'd spend long stretches at the crafts table. This table was stockpiled with empty toilet paper and paper towel inserts, coffee cans, egg cartons, etc. My daughter loved to take these things and turn them into amazing objects. She made a giraffe, a Buzz Lightyear and a Woody from Toy Story, a bug terrarium, among other things. Initially, I thought her behaviorist actually made the items for her, but I learned that my daughter actually made these things. They were brilliant! That crafts table is probably the main thing my daughter misses about preschool.

So, this groundhog diorama is really up her alley. She couldn't wait to get started on it! Friday morning, before school, she started work on it. I warned her that she wouldn't be able to finish it in the 15 minutes that she had. But when it was time to leave for school, she wanted to turn in what she had done. It was pretty good, actually, but I knew she could do much better if she had more time.

She came up with a cool idea that the groundhog would have a rock wall to climb up to his hole to see (or not see) his shadow. She drew in the rocks with pencil. I mentioned to her that she should really use real rocks and suggested we go to the park the next day to collect rocks and pine cones and other cool things to use in the diorama. After I said this, I couldn't believe I actually suggested we do this activity! Anyway, the behaviorist did mention that as long as there is a purpose to collecting the objects, then that was fine!

So, the next day, during a glorious 80 degree day, we took a walk in the park. My daughter was allowed--actually encouraged--to collect little rocks and tiny pine cones. She had a blast! Well, we both had a blast. I can't wait to see how her diorama turns out! I'm sure it'll be really great!

I guess sometimes you do have to stop and collect the rocks!


  1. DD does this, so we have a special place in the garden set aside for her "treasures", that way, DD can keep collecting them, and we don't end up with a house full of rocks. :)

  2. My little boy picks up random bits of whatever he can find. I have to carefully check his pockets before I wash his pants. Rocks, random bits of string, you name it!

  3. We went through the same thing with ds, he would come him with twigs, bottle caps, stones and other stuff filling his pockets! I didn't mind the nature stuff but the bottle caps and some other garbage bothered me - it was almost OCD like when he picked them up but luckily it went away when we changed his medication. he still does collect twigs and stones though.
    The funny thing is his "neurotyp" sister loves nature and is always bringing home stones, twigs, etc too. Her best friend is the same way! What looks like a regular stone to me will be something special to them - either where they found it or a speck or spot on it I didn't notice. Turns out the rock and twig collecting is pretty normal with some kids.
    Like corabelle, we set aside a special place for each of them to keep their rocks and other things outside. I got tired of dusting off rocks and stubbing my toe while cleaning their rooms.

  4. i was a rock collector as a child.

    cool ideas she has.

  5. Oh man, this is Katie. She collects EVERYTHING. Or, really, a more appropriate term would be hoarder. From paint samples at the hardware store, to rocks, to TRASH. We had a huge meltdown at Disney b/c I wouldn't let her keep the trash from her meal, and she does this at home, too. She has countless collections. I only put a stop to it when it is gross...I have never thought to discourage it b/c, quite frankly, we have enough meltdowns without adding more b/c I take away her "precious". She even has to keep pieces of things we throw away. Old carpets, boxes, fabric etc. She always needs a, yeah, we have a lot of collections going...

  6. Hmmm we don't have that AT ALL. Should I be glad?

  7. Oh, how fun! Can't wait to hear how it turns out. I didn't realize collecting things was considered strange. Lots of kids do this, don't they?

  8. This project sounded like so much fun for her! I used to collect tons of rocks and had several boxes for my collection. I don't think it's strange at all. Plus, the extra bonus is that rocks are FREE! (That's one of the best inexpensive hobbies around.)

  9. Convergence is a wonderful thing! So awesome that her obsession actually cam in handy!

  10. Your behaviorist is wrong. See this link

    1. Thanks for the link! I think that's a valid point. I think the difference is the vibe behind the collecting. Is the child obsessive? Does it get in the way of other activities? I wrote this post years ago. My daughter still likes to collect the occasional rock--especially if there's something special about it. But it's not an obsession anymore. Does that make sense?