KidThink: What Today’s Kids are Thinking: Most kids are avid collectors

To help us keep up-to-date with what's happening with kids, we've asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids' lives. Since today's kids spend so...
July 1, 1997

To help us keep up-to-date with what’s happening with kids, we’ve asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Since today’s kids spend so much time on-line, Kid Think talked with kids via Live Wire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of 600 on-line families across the United States.

Both Kid Think and Live Wire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or have subjects you would like to see Kid Think cover, call Bob Horne at 212-337-6410 or e-mail

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This month, Live Wire went on-line to ask kids age eight to 12 what kinds of collections they maintain.

Collecting is an overwhelmingly popular activity among our audience. All of the boys and most of the girls (88 percent) say they have at least one collection. Many respondents actually work on several collections at the same time. Bethany, age 12, from Texas, says, ‘I collect Star Trek cards, baseball cards and pressed coins. I also collect rocks.’ Meanwhile, Tyler, age 12, from Oklahoma, collects stamps, baseball cards, corks and antiques. ‘They can be very interesting,’ he says.

When it comes to preferences, collections are as diverse as the kids themselves. For the most part, collections reflect either a genuine expression of the kids’ most current interests or are based on what’s hot among the other kids or in the media. Aaron, age 11, of Michigan, collects ‘Star Wars cards, Star Wars toys, pins and other stuff.’ Jessica, age 11, from New Hampshire, says she is collecting Beanie Babies. ‘They are very popular, and I really like them.’

Not surprisingly, distinct gender differences exist when it comes to choices in collecting. Thirty-five percent of the girls like items such as Beanie Babies and Barbies, while 39 percent of the boys prefer coins and sports cards. Surprisingly, the one collection that’s quite popular among both boys and girls is rock collecting (39 percent of the boys and 25 percent of the girls). Brittany, age 9, from Arizona, says that she likes rock collecting because ‘there are so many to choose from.’ Elliot, age 8, of Maryland, agrees, saying that ‘rocks are pretty neat.’

Interestingly, many of the kids in our panel are quite seasoned, and have been maintaining at least one collection for an average of two-and-a-half years. They also work on their collections quite regularly. Sean, age 11, of Massachusetts, spends time on his baseball, football and hockey card collections after he d’es his homework on weekdays and in the afternoons on Sundays. ‘I usually spend five or six hours a week on all collections.’

Often kids began their collections after receiving the first item as a gift. Sara, age 8, of Florida, says that she started her collections after her dad bought her a hacky sack and her aunt bought her a Beanie Baby. ‘I loved them both,’ she says.

Unfortunately, expense is a real concern for the kids and limits their collections, so they often wait to receive their collectibles as gifts.

Ehat kids said:

We also asked kids to name something that they would be interested in collecting and weren’t already collecting. Here’s what they had to say:

‘Teeny Beanie Babies!’ Rachel, Massachusetts, age 10

‘I would like to collect souvenirs from different countries, because I’d like to see what different places are like.’ Renika, California, age 9

‘I would love to collect stamps. I love seeing those neat superstars and awesome singers on those little stamps.’ Amberly, Maryland, age 12

‘I would like to collect something fragile from every state and from some countries.’ Tabitha, Florida, age 8

‘It would be old motorcycles because they can look really nice if they are cleaned up right.’ Edson, Oklahoma, age 12

‘I wanted to collect signed baseballs, but they are too costly. I’d like to collect them because they will be very special in the future.’ David, Texas, age 10

‘I wish I collected autographs. I would like to have something that is personal and special from people I admire, but it is too hard to get them or too expensive for me to buy them.’ Chris, Massachusetts, age 11

Next month: Kid Think will ask kids why they wear clothes with logos.

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