Sunday, November 28, 2021

How Kids Can Benefit from Collecting Cards

I have a nephew who recently turned eight years old. Back when he was about five, I gave him a stack of junk wax–era trading cards, just to see if the action would generate any interest. He wasn't a big sports guy back then, but he did find a few "shiny" baseball and hockey cards that he liked, along with some superhero cards that he quickly snatched up. 
That constituted enough interest for me, so I took out the small binder and some nine-pocket pages that I'd previously set aside and placed them in front of my nephew, explaining how they'd help keep the cards safe and organized. Watching the little guy take to them with eagerness and begin to slide cards inside each pocket made me a happy uncle.

Couple that early interest with a resurgence in the popularity of Pokémon cards among he and his classmates that school year, and soon I'd be bringing more binders, pages, and top-loaders with me whenever I visited.

On each of those visits, I was really impressed with the level of care my nephew took with his cards, whether they featured Pokémon, dinosaurs, sports stars, or whatever else.
Regardless, it got me thinking: Collecting cards can be of great benefit to kids.
Here are some examples.

Kids can learn to sort cards by number, team, player/character, alphabetically, or as my nephew sometimes does it, by shiny cards and non-shiny cards.

Provide them with a few supplies, and kids will quickly figure out that they can use separate binders and boxes for separate projects.

Most of you reading this can probably describe a few of your favorite cards right off the top of your head: the colors, the design, exactly what the player is doing in the image, maybe even the blurb or the cartoon on the back. And I'm sure some of those cards go all the way back to your childhood.
Reaching Goals
Creating a to-do list and crossing items off that list is a great thing to teach youngsters, whether the list involves cards or not.

Seeing a Project Through to Completion
This relates to the previous example. How many of you remember how you felt when you completed your first full set of trading cards? How determined did you need to be to find those last few cards?

Taking Care of One's Belongings
Some kids take better care of their cards than others. But storing cards in pages, top loaders, and card-friendly boxes instead of just all over the place can teach a child a lot, and help them enjoy their collection.

Fair Dealings
I don't think my nephew has made any trades with his classmates yet, but ensuring a trade is agreeable on both ends is important, and I'll try to make sure he doesn't learn that lesson the hard way.

Quite a list!

And when that kid collector reaches adulthood, I think you can see how all of these skills will apply to "real world" situations as well.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But if you've ever bought cards for your nieces and nephews, or grandkids, or any kid, and the parents respond by giving you the "oh great, now there will be cards all over my house and I'm going to have to buy even more of them" look, just rattle off some of the benefits listed above and maybe those parents will change their tune.
What other benefits can come from collecting cards? Share in the comment section, and thanks for reading!


  1. Batting averages help a lot with decimal numbers. I have most hit/at bat combinations memorized under 50 at bats.

    1. Excellent point, GTT. Also, nice work on the mathematical accomplishment there!

  2. I think you need to have a certain gene to have the enthusiasm for collecting cards, particularly the dedication needed to pursue sets, store cards in binders, organize pages, etc. I'm sure that's inherited, too, so it's logical your nephew would have some enthusiasm for that.

    I also have a nephew who has collected cards at a young age and I've mailed cards to him in the recent past. I did so for his 15th (or is it 16th?) birthday in January. I don't think the enthusiasm is still there, which is understandable for his age. But I'm hoping it comes back, it's not like my daughter's ever going to care! (She's 23 now, I've given up hope).

    1. True, Night Owl. There might be a card-collecting gene. Or at very least a collecting gene in general. Most of the points above can probably be applied to any collection of stuff.

      As for your nephew, he might very well come back to the hobby at some point. Happens to many of us!

  3. A. Great post. Love the list you created.

    B. Speaking of fair dealings, my principal told me a story about how her nephew brought his pokemon cards to school and another kid traded him a huge stack for one of his rare cards. The older sister found out and told the mom, who ended up contacting the school. Lol. It was a huge fiasco, but the kid ended up getting his "rare" card back. I'm guessing in addition to "fair dealings", he also learned that quantity isn't necessarily better than quality.

    C. I just gave my nephew (he's actually my friend's son) a huge stack of Raiders cards, because his mom wanted something new for show and tell. Hopefully he ends up being a card collector.

    1. (A) Thanks very much, Fuji!

      (B) That's quite a story about the Pokemon trade. Getting the school involved, yeesh! Glad things seemed to work out alright in the end.

      (C) Nice job giving your nephew some cards! Maybe it'll help get him into the hobby.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. Yesterday I took my stepson to a card shop and he enjoyed digging through the dime boxes and looking for cards that interested him. His mom was with us yesterday, but I promised him that we will go to the card shop and a flea market by ourselves in the next few months.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, OhioTim! Thanks for sharing the story about your stepson, too. It's always good to hear about kids getting involved in a hobby, instead of just staring at a digital device for hours every day.

  5. I don't have any kids, nor do I ever spend any time around them, so I could be completely wrong about this, but I can't understand how any parent wouldn't want to their kid(s) to have a hobby, especially one that doesn't involve staring at a screen/handheld device all day?

    1. My thoughts exactly, Jon! Any hobby or activity to get kids away from a device and involved with physical, tangible things. Maybe even outdoors (gasp).