Become a Collector

No one wants random items cluttering up their home, but collecting the right items can actually bring joy – during the collecting and whenever the collection is viewed.


Toys and art supplies don’t need to be expensive. In fact, you can collect items that would normally be thrown away and turn them into all kinds of amazing creations. Websites abound that invite you to turn trash into treasure, or you can just put a pile in front of your child and see what they do! Some favorite items to hold onto are:

  • Cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towel, gift wrap, aluminum foil, etc.)
  • Egg cartons
  • Plastic bottles (soda, water, seltzer, ketchup, pancake syrup, etc.)
  • Jars or containers (especially if the labels come off! pasta sauce, jelly, frosting, etc.)
  • Clamshell containers (from fruit, baked goods, etc.)
  • Empty cardboard food packages (if clean – great for closing up for a pretend “store”)

Make sure they’re clean, then just throw it all in a large box or container and tuck it out of sight when not in use. These items can be used in art projects or pretend play, and the only limit is your child’s imagination!


As you travel the state in search of fun activities, pick up a memento of each place. These can be natural items, such as a small stone or shell, or simple man-made items such as business cards or pens. Find a way to display your collection as a reminder of places you’ve been (a simple, clear vase works well). Memories will come flooding back every time you see it. You can even turn your collected items into a craft project, such as a picture frame or collage, or you can put them together in a shadowbox or scrapbook.


While you’re travelling around, you can also challenge your family to add to the fun! Then be sure to take pictures to commemorate the experiences. Some challenge examples:

  • Take your picture in front of every natural waterfall in the state.
  • See how many different playgrounds your child can swing at – and take a picture at each one.
  • Have your family match their outfits (by color or a particular article of clothing).
  • Bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal with you, and take pictures of that toy in new situations (an old friend does this, and his stuffed basketball has met some pretty famous people!)
  • Look for a particular something at each place. Maybe an interesting shadow, or a unique leaf. Make it the same something at each place for an enchanting collection.
  • Find interesting backgrounds and add your family. For extra fun (depending on your family’s personalities), you can opt to challenge them to be as silly as possible, as serious as possible (no smiling!), or see how much they can “ruin” the shot.

Once you’ve collected several pictures, start an album on Facebook, put them into a digital photo frame that rotates the pictures, or print them out and hang them on your wall. You’ll smile when you see them – and they may motivate you to go even further!

Sky’s the limit! What will you collect?

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