By D. J. McAdam.
Stamp collecting is a hobby
that one can begin successfully at virtually any age, and with any budget.
I personally started collecting stamps at age 5, probably because my brother
Frank, four years my senior, was a stamp collector and because I was determined
to do whatever he did. This presented an interesting challenge, in that I
had not yet been taught to read, but the situation did not deter me and, in
fact, whetted my appetite for education.
Ah, there it is - even in the first paragraph of discussing stamp collecting
for children, the dreaded word education creeps in! Actually, stamp
collecting can of course be educational, but that is not my sole (or even
primary) reason for recommending it as a suitable hobby for younger persons.
Good reasons for children to collect stamps are as follows:
- It's fun. I think this rather important.
- It is a hobby one can pursue throughout life. This is often the
case, though there may be periods of dormancy.
- Stamp collecting is, essentially, an exercise in organization. I
will not go so far as to say the hobby encourages neatness - there are too
many examples of adult stamp collectors going in the opposite direction for
that - but it does build in to those developing brain cells an appreciation of
- Stamp collecting reduces stress. It is, perhaps, a sad commentary on
modern life that one should have to worry about reducing stress in a child's
life, but there you have it. I have personally known children with
Attention Deficit Disorder who have done quite well with stamp collecting, for
the same reason adults find it satisfying - the idea that "I may not be able
to control the world around me, but stamp collecting allows me to bring this
one tiny corner of it into order."
- It is quiet. Admittedly, this is probably more of a benefit to
parents than to children.
- It gives children a sense of geography. Reading about geography can
be boring. Getting a stamp from Somalia, or Argentina, or French
Polynesia, and then locating that country on a map or globe, can be quite
- It gives children a sense of history. Stamps may depict historical
events, but they are also in their own right actual historic documents.
Open an album or stamp catalogue to Monaco and there, in the year 1956, is a
place for a stamp issued to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Rainier and
Grace Kelly. Turn to Mexico, in the 1960's, and you will come across a
stamp honoring John F. Kennedy. Go to Germany, in 1941, and you will
find stamps depicting Adolf Hitler. World history, the good and the bad,
is printed on these tiny documents.
- Stamp collecting is inexpensive. One can get quite far on what one might otherwise spend on a single DVD or video game.
All you really need to get started in stamp collecting are stamps, and a
place to keep them. I hope I've encouraged you to get your children started in stamp collecting.
Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that it is a wonderful hobby.