Collector Kids

I was one of these, a collector kid. I still am. As a kid I collected rocks, and, once in awhile, tiny frogs (although I found out you have to feed them bugs instead of grass). Eventually my collecting pretty much centered on rocks. But collecting rocks is actually a fairly common hobby, and not every collector collects the ordinary items. For instance, my daughter Ashley briefly collected blades of grass from places that meant something to her. Case in point: a blade of grass from Elvis’ grave at Graceland. I thought that was very creative and definitely original collecting.

So I decided to address common things people collect while emphasizing that it’s very okay to collect things a bit out of the ordinary. I wrote a poem called ‘Collector Kid’ and focused on those uncommon items that might interest collectors. The ultimate message was that collecting things that others might consider ‘weird’ just makes you unique, and unique is good.

In my research into what kids like to read about and talk about, I learned that trading cards are popular and decided to use that as my hook. I have some baseball cards of my own, most of them featuring the great Roberto Clemente who I had talked about in my episode on baseball heroes. I also have some cards that are just odds and ends. So to prepare, I needed to order some small sets I could display. I ordered some Disney cards and My Little Pony, and then ordered some animal cards. I was surprised when my animal set didn’t come with actual cards, but rather a map of the world with QR codes you can scan and basically pull up electronic cards with information on each animal. I downloaded the app that comes with the set, and I could scan animals from country to country. I decided these would be good to show yet another way to collect.

But I knew that no presentation would be complete without Pokémon cards, and I wasn’t keen on spending the money you need to lay out for those popular sets. As luck would have it, just days before I wanted to do this episode, MacDonald’s helped me out by putting Pokémon cards in their Happy Meals. Bruce and I polished off six Happy Meals to get six packs of cards. That truly was good luck. I didn’t open any of the packs beyond the two I wanted to open beforehand to familiarize myself with the cards. Pokémon was a new experience for me. I wanted my little viewers to go along on my journey of discovery, and let them ‘help’ me open the Disney, My Little Pony and a couple of packs of the Pokémon cards.

I had a good time doing this one, and began by showing things people might collect, such as teddy bears, coins, etc. Then we moved on to the cards. I read my poem and ended by again making the point that it’s okay to be different in your choice of collectibles, hoping that the idea broadened to the fact that it’s okay to be different, period. I was bullied as a kid; I had a southern accent as a transplanted Tennessean and never really grew out of my awkward stage (still haven’t). As a teacher, it broke my heart every time I saw an awkward child who was essentially being punished daily by classmates who didn’t appreciate the uniqueness and nonconformity. So any inroads I can make with my very young viewers in reinforcing that differences are good, I will make at every opportunity. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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