My child plays by collecting.

Not every child plays the same way.

Some love role play, dressing up, playing make believe, toy kitchens and dolls.

Some like small world play with little figures, schools, cars, buses and garages.

Some like physical play with sit in cars, soft play, tunnels and swing parks.

Some like team games and sports like football, rugby and tennis.

Some like board games or card games like Snap, Old Maid, Snakes and Ladders and Ludo.

Some like reading, puzzles or technology.

Some prefer drawing, colouring and crafting.

My child plays by collecting.

That’s just her ‘thing’, it makes her happy, excited and content. She loves check lists, straight lines, displays, and complete sets. She likes the order, to spot similarities and differences and to treasure things.

Where others play by talking or doing or being physical she plays by looking.

If toys can be collected, then she’s in her element. Anything from blind bag sets, Thomas the Tank engine trains, Grossery Gang, Shopkins and even Oxford Reading Tree Biff Chip and Kipper books...the more the merrier.

Even the humble felt tip pens get lined up in colour order in her desk so she can check she still has them all.

She takes pride in her collections, and becomes distressed if one gets misplaced or lost. To her, every little item holds precious value, as without it her collection isn’t right. Duplicates don’t worry her as she turns them into ‘twins’ and they become even more special to her.

Playing by collecting has some huge benefits, though.

My child is learning patience as the set builds up slowly.

She is learning that you can’t always get your own way when she gets duplicates.

She is learning that things have order and structure.

She is learning mathematical concepts such as grouping, matching, ordering, matching up and sequencing.

She is reading the checklists.

She is developing knowledge of her chosen subject which builds her confidence.

So I let her collect.

After all, so many adults get enjoyment from collecting too, and some even make money from it! Stamp collecting, coin collecting and collections of old records go for big money on eBay! Maybe one day she might want to sell her collections too?

I am a huge believer that we should encourage individuals to be the person they are, and not have them change just to be like everyone else. So while other children ride about on their bikes, dress up as their favourite characters or play computer games, my daughter is making plans to build up whatever collection she has going at that point in time.

That’s just what she does, and how she plays, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

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