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Starting a Family Collection

They're a great way to connect to and spend time with your kids

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No, I'm not talking about the dust bunnies my family seems to be collecting in our loft, though it is a collection that may break some records!

People collect everything from spoons (my mother had every state spoon proudly displayed in our dining room), salt and pepper shakers, hats/caps, rocks, coins, stamps, etc, etc...

A few summers ago, I thought it would be fun to start a family collection. This collection had to be one that would require us to spend time together, something that would get us outdoors (a common requirement of mine), and it had to be fun. Several weeks before our annual fishing trip to Wisconsin, I got the kids involved. I asked them each to come up with ideas for our family collection.

We had several great ideas and some truly gross and absolutely no-way ideas (did I mention I have seven kids, and four of them are boys?). We decided on rocks, flowers, pinecones, waterfalls, bird feathers (found, not plucked) and animal footprints (again, found, not pawprinted). We were excited to start our collections.

On our trip, all of the collection ideas were perfect -- they all required us to spend time together and work together, we had to hike and walk miles during those 19 days, and almost of all it was fun and adventurous.

We arrived home with an assortment of rocks, a few flowers, I don't think we left a pinecone in Wisconsin, some feathers, several pictures of paw prints (most were deer a few bear, raccoon and some we have yet to figure out, but by the size of the prints I'm glad we will be figuring this out by picture not by introduction!) and, of course, our waterfalls.

Waterfalls won, it was everyone's favorite. We collected a small amount of water in a baby juice jar, labled it, took several pictures, and wrote a note about the fall, the trail and surroundings. We collected 14 over those 19 days. To date, we have 37 waterfalls in our collection. We no longer collect the water -- we take lots of pictures and add a momento here and there (foliage, flowers, a leaf) that we find along the trail. Our daughter is so inspired that she has started a book she plans on finishing by her 20th birthday

(she is 15).

I love our collection, not only because of the beauty in those pictures, but because of the miles hiked together, the picnics we ate, the fascination and awe of each new discovery. I love our collection for the memories that fill it.

Collections are a wonderful way to connect to and spend time with your children, I loved learning and discovering their passions, knowledge, and seeing their surprise as we found and discovered our collections together. Happy Collecting, I'm off to collect some dust bunnies. ning and discovering their passions, knowledge, and seeing their surprise as we found and discovered our collections together. Happy Collecting, I'm off to collect some dust bunnies!

22 comments so far...

  • Waterfall collection -- cool idea! I like the pawprint pix, too. Pine cones? My mom calls them tree turds (don't tell your boys).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 14th April 2008

  • I also collect dust bunnies. Fun

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Sabrina on 27th March 2008

  • Speaking of unique collections, my oldest son collects bat droppings, he collects them for a university. ICK!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Carren on 27th March 2008

  • Great idea.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pam on 27th March 2008

  • ok we are leading a boring life, we collect state quarters! Very interesting, and fun, my husband even enjoyed this, we are googling Bessemer! Thank you.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Peggy on 25th March 2008

  • We go to Miami every summer, we collect sea shells, we have thousands!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by momofmany on 24th March 2008

  • very creative!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jijams on 24th March 2008

  • Thanks for the locations, I will get out the atlas and mark those. I like your site, you should however add a section "traveling with kids".

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by wondermom on 24th March 2008

  • Thank you for your comments, I now have a lot of great ideas to try, here is a list of some great, beautiful places to see some amazing waterfalls, Gorge Falls, Rainbow Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Sandstone Falls &
    Conglomerate Falls all in and right around Bessemer Mich, Amnicon Falls in Wentworth WI, Copper Falls in Mellen, WI., Manitou Falls Pattison State Park WI., Potato Falls
    Gurney WI., Cascade River Falls,Cascade River State Park Lutsen MN., High Falls
    Grand Portage State Park. Here are my favorites! If you love to hike then you will love Bessemer Mich, there are several falls along the trail. Beautiful, beautiful hiking. High Falls is I believe one of the highest waterfalls in the Lake Superior area, it is a fabulous park full of history and breathtaking nature. Have several cameras ready! I hope this gives everyone some ideas, if you want more place just send me a note and I will reply. I am gllad to know we are not the only family raising "dust bunnies"! Thank you again for your comments. Happy Easter!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 23rd March 2008

  • Now my mind is really on summervacation, neat idea.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by frazzledmum on 23rd March 2008

  • Hey dont feel bad I have a huge collection of dust bunnies! Is there a dust bunnie zoo?
    We collect whales! Oh I would love to share my collection with you.
    I know of some great waterfalls in Oregon. Contact me and I will send you the info.
    We go whale watching every year, and we have spectacular pictures and recordings of whales. Ditto on the wow 7 kiddos, I also checked out perpetualmoms.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jugglingmom on 23rd March 2008

  • Fun, Adventure, I was laughing and was wondering when can I get to do someting like this. You need a show on HGTV or something! Dust Bunnies! Paw Printing! How fun. I would love to know where all you guys have gone, we have been to Wisconsin, way up north and into Mich, I cant believe how many falls there are you can walk for hours along them until you reach Lake Superior. Any way I'm babbling, great idea, thanks for the story.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Blondie on 23rd March 2008