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Starting a Family Collection

They're a great way to connect to and spend time with your kids

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No, I'm not talking about the dust bunnies my family seems to be collecting in our loft, though it is a collection that may break some records!

People collect everything from spoons (my mother had every state spoon proudly displayed in our dining room), salt and pepper shakers, hats/caps, rocks, coins, stamps, etc, etc...

A few summers ago, I thought it would be fun to start a family collection. This collection had to be one that would require us to spend time together, something that would get us outdoors (a common requirement of mine), and it had to be fun. Several weeks before our annual fishing trip to Wisconsin, I got the kids involved. I asked them each to come up with ideas for our family collection.

We had several great ideas and some truly gross and absolutely no-way ideas (did I mention I have seven kids, and four of them are boys?). We decided on rocks, flowers, pinecones, waterfalls, bird feathers (found, not plucked) and animal footprints (again, found, not pawprinted). We were excited to start our collections.

On our trip, all of the collection ideas were perfect -- they all required us to spend time together and work together, we had to hike and walk miles during those 19 days, and almost of all it was fun and adventurous.

We arrived home with an assortment of rocks, a few flowers, I don't think we left a pinecone in Wisconsin, some feathers, several pictures of paw prints (most were deer a few bear, raccoon and some we have yet to figure out, but by the size of the prints I'm glad we will be figuring this out by picture not by introduction!) and, of course, our waterfalls.

Waterfalls won, it was everyone's favorite. We collected a small amount of water in a baby juice jar, labled it, took several pictures, and wrote a note about the fall, the trail and surroundings. We collected 14 over those 19 days. To date, we have 37 waterfalls in our collection. We no longer collect the water -- we take lots of pictures and add a momento here and there (foliage, flowers, a leaf) that we find along the trail. Our daughter is so inspired that she has started a book she plans on finishing by her 20th birthday

(she is 15).

I love our collection, not only because of the beauty in those pictures, but because of the miles hiked together, the picnics we ate, the fascination and awe of each new discovery. I love our collection for the memories that fill it.

Collections are a wonderful way to connect to and spend time with your children, I loved learning and discovering their passions, knowledge, and seeing their surprise as we found and discovered our collections together. Happy Collecting, I'm off to collect some dust bunnies. ning and discovering their passions, knowledge, and seeing their surprise as we found and discovered our collections together. Happy Collecting, I'm off to collect some dust bunnies!

22 comments so far...

  • Nice to see another mom on here with a large family, I have 11 children. We have a few collections we do as a family, including dust bunnies, do you name yours? We collect post cards from all the truck stops we stop at on our travels, we to have a large pinecone collection ( I discovered mice loves these also!) we collect spider web pics, not moms favorite, we started collecting leaf rubbings. After your article we will most likely be collecting waterfalls. Like another poster I would love to know where you have gone. I would also love to network with you for reipes, and other tips moms with their own baseball teams learn. Thank you.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mommymachine on 23rd March 2008

  • By the way 7 kids wow, you collect kids to! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by redhead on 23rd March 2008

  • While reading this i thought of a good one, STARS, my kids love stars, now I need to get one of those telescopes that print pictures. You have inspired me, thank you, this will be a fun way to spend our summer nights. Happy Hoppy Easter!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by redhead on 23rd March 2008

  • We have a collection of shells, and rocks from all the beaches we visit. It is a lot of fun collecting with your children and creating all those fun moments. I am going to visit your site now.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by musiclover on 23rd March 2008

  • My kids and I collect autographs from disney characters, we each have our own album with their autograph and a pic. We also collect disney lithographs.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by disneymom on 23rd March 2008


    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rachel on 23rd March 2008

  • How creative! I want to go on vacation with you and your family!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by wondermom on 23rd March 2008

  • Fun, Fun, Fun! Would you mind sharring where some of these waterfalls are? That would be great. Happy Easter.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Megan on 23rd March 2008

  • What a great idea! We have a "collection" of clouds, it is a album of pictures, our extended family sends us pictures to add to it, under the pictures we write dates, state, and what we see in the forms! We are planning our summer vacation it is going to have to be somewhere with waterfalls. Make sure you let us all know when your daughter publishes her book!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Heidi on 23rd March 2008

  • Hey, Holly! What an awesome thing! You've got my mind spinning on what kind of collection my son and I can start on walks in our neighborhood! I need the exercise and he would adore it!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Brandi on 23rd March 2008