Recently I have been exploring a new aspect of coin collecting. So far, it has been a selfish hobby, even some bragging rights. Isn’t it what a hobby should be anyway? But there is something else to it: I would like to share it with my kids. When they were very little, cons have been a no no, and later it has been a treat when they were allowed to look at some of the coins, and on occasion get something from my pocket change. Ok, I have to admit, I even went to the bank to pick up some half Dollars just to have them in the “pocket change”.
As my older daughter Emily is learning to read, the other day I asked her to “help” me with my state quarters. She was reading the states, I put it away, and showed her the individual states on the map. But now I’m hoping to take it one step further.
Why would I do it?
Primarily, because as a father, all I can give the kids is what I have. There are other things they could be interested in, but it is much easier to teach them about something that I know, something that I’m excited about.
It is great education. Secretly I’m hoping to have two little coin collectors in the family, but I’m ok if it doesn’t happen. They will at least understand what am I doing after they go to bed, and what is so exciting about the new mail I’m getting here and there.
But what I’m really hoping to get out of it is the education I certainly would like them to have: at this age math skills and basic geography, later the understanding of history, cultures, politics and economy. Not necessarily at an expert level, but enough to understand the world around them. Text books can do the job too, but why not through something that is fun and doesn’t smell like learning? This is how I did it, I enjoyed it, and got very much out of it that is directly helping me today. I think it is worth a try.
There is another thing to coin collecting, the friendships I have made over the years through swapping coins with people around the world. It is much more valuable than my collection. Even if they will never become collectors, they will be able to peek into this world. Just an example, that we can talk about immediately. I was discussing coin collecting for kids on a mailing list. Out of the blue, one of the list members sent me an email that he is selling his collection and would be very happy to gift some albums to Emily. A day ago, I didn’t even know who Dave was, and today he is contributing to Emily’s education and entertainment. We can certainly talk about it when she puts the first coin into her album. And over the years, it is just one of many examples of how I met interesting and valuable people.
How will I do it?
Mostly I will play it by ear. I have my own ideas, but whatever works. I thought that state quarters are the best way to start with, until somebody pointed out that kids at this age are more interested in quantity and pennies and nickels maybe a better start.
One thing is for sure, while they will be able to see how to collect if you can’t see, I don’t want them to be blind collectors, and I will have to introduce labels, magnifiers, and the value of not touching higher quality coins. I will have to figure this out, fortunately for now, even a handful of change after shopping can contribute to the collection.
I like the idea of albums, however, just to distinguish a collection from spending money, not to mention the math and organization skills it creates.
What if they are not interested?
Could be. Maybe so far it was interesting because it was a novelty and they are not allowed to get into my collection on their own. If that’s the case, I will have to come up with another way of teaching history and geography.