Helping kids with autism start a souvenir collection can provide them with a lifetime hobby and valuable educational tools.
Mastering consumer expertise and communication are just some of the life skills that can be learned by collecting souvenirs. For parents wishing to help their children start collecting meaningful souvenirs from their family travels here are our tips.
Designate a spot for the collection
In the home, parents should find a particular place, shelf, nook, or cubby that will display all his or her worldly treasures. It can be one or two shelves in the bedroom, a window box for dolls or even the kitchen fridge for magnets. The best place should be a place he or she can access freely.With that said, avoid glass cabinets or pricey furniture that your child can damage.
Help them choose a theme
Souvenir collections are most impressive when they revolve around a theme.
Parents need to have their children make a list of five topics that they find interesting. It could be types of music, transportation, dolls, destinations, even something as simple as rocks.Then have them start a collection around that.
Our son loved collecting hotel keys from the different properties we’ve stayed in over the years. A hundred cards later they are all displayed in a large shadow box he keeps in his room.
Teach them how to be a smart consumer
Parents should teach children about quality control and discourage the purchase of fragile and breakable objects as much as possible.
Furthermore, they need to set a cost limit on purchasing souvenirs and encourage their children to compare prices before buying. Shopping for souvenirs can provide an educational opportunity for the kids to learn how to look for sales or even practice haggling strategies with local peddlers in some countries.
Many restaurants, cruise lines,hotels, and airlines offer free items that may be of interest to those starting or maintaining a collection. Some of the best collection pieces we’ve seen started off as freebies. Napkins, pens, brochures, and giveaway pins are just a few examples.
Encourage meaningful choices
It is estimated that travelers spend over 2 billion dollars annually on things never use. These things often get thrown out or packed away into drawers never to be seen or enjoyed. This moment is another teachable moment for children. Before they decide to purchase any souvenir, have the kids ask themselves questions like – Will I like this a year from now? Is this an object that is useful?
Moreover, parents can spring clean items that have not been used for months or years. They can donate unused items to charity and explain the concepts of waste and the importance of making meaningful choices when purchasing souvenirs.
Consider size and packing difficulties
Travelers using air travel as their primary method of transportation need to think about the size and weight of souvenirs. Collecting postcards, napkins, coasters, magnets, and other small items might work best. These things occupy less space than large bulkier items.
Similarly, the fragile items should be avoided since most checked luggage is manhandled and they can arrive broken.
Encourage digital collections
Not everything collectible must be costly or cumbersome; virtual collections can be just as enjoyable!
Children can enjoy taking pictures and videos at every destination on their phone. Upon returning home, parents could create a scrapbook or a digital photo frame collage as a memento of their vacation for everyone to enjoy.
Some kids love collecting rocks, fossils, shells, and other natural artifacts. Though usually not a problem some National or State Parks and wildlife/sea life sanctuaries restrict the removal of certain items from their sites.
To avoid disappointment, parents should verify various laws. This way, they can prepare kids ahead of time as to what they can bring home as a souvenir.
In the end, the most important thing for parents to understand is that their child’s collection should be a product of their own individual decisions.
Along with remembering trips and encouraging healthy shopping habits, a souvenir collection is a way for one’s child to express their personality. After all, discovering one’s passions and interests in a creative way can be fun, educational, and rewarding.