I’m not going to turn this into a coin collecting for kids blog, but after my original article, I wanted to give a little update, it relates to this blog to some extent.
The big news is, we got started and Emily is filling her state quarter album. Today I offered her a quarter for something and asked her if she wants it for her piggy bank or quarter album, and she picked the second. So far, so good…
I got quite a bit of advice and encouragement from people, in the forms of content, web sites, emails, coins and albums and so many other things. It surprised me how many responses I got just after a short question asking for advice about the best way to start. There are many approaches, and I think the bottom line is not scientific or proven, it is about the kid. Fortunately, we don’t have to achieve anything, it would only be great if we did. For her, it is about having a good time. For me, it is about presenting her to see more of the world and get an understanding she didn’t have before.
One of my biggest difficulties at the moment is her age. Though it makes perfect sense, yet, it is a new experience for me. We cannot just cover history, geography, mintage, metals, art, culture and social interaction in one sitting. For that matter, it is probably best not to do any of it. A good advice I got is helping me a great deal, quantity is better than quality. Ok, to an extent. I could give her a thousand coins today, she would probably be impressed, and then coin collecting would be a checkmark in her life, probably not extending through this summer. However, quantity is important in a sense that there is the quarter album which has 50 wholes to fill, let’s look and find and complete and rinse and repeat. I’m trying to tie the next quarter to something more then having to find it in a bag, for example finding two states on a map will get you a new quarter of your choice, so that I can slowly introduce other aspects of collecting without giving her too much and lose interest. Originally the idea of starting with pennies and nickels sounded like a better idea, but I have changed my mind because she is doing better with letters and words than numbers, and I felt it would be more of a variety to work with quarters. This way we can look at dates, and for the second album we can introduce collecting by dates, and talk a bit about how old coins are, and what happened in the year they were minted. I have no idea if it would be meaningful, but worth a try. However, she already told me that she wants to do pennies after the state quarters.
I would like to show her a couple of more aspects, a set just by type, similarly to how I collect, and then have a sense of what makes her interested. I certainly don’t want a textbook coin collector, I’d like to see her form her own interests, but it is impossible without showing her what’s out there and what’s possible.
So far, there isn’t much I need to see, she can read the states and find where they go in the album. The first visual difficulty I have faced is talking about the states. The way I set it up was taking a quarter, finding the place for it in the album, and finding the state on the map. Depending on how much she can relate to the state, I tell her some things about it. The issue is that I have a braille map, which is not colored, the state borders are raised, and the states are indicated by braille letters. So, it is not terribly useful to her, but she has enough of an understanding to know where a state is in relation to the entire country. So, she got an app where she can play a game by exploring the states. I don’t think the game has much to do with geography, but it slowly introduces the states, and she gets to play that is not hard to ask her to do. Also, the entire map can be resized, and once you touch a state it is announced. This greatly helps me check if she is able to find a state we are looking for, and I don’t have to rely on the braille map.
When it comes to other coins, I will have to rely on her to read dates or any other text, especially when we look into collecting by date, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be an obstacle. For now, I’m trying to figure out how to introduce magnification, because I think it will be very interesting, but I can’t even tell her what to look for.