By Scott Kozlowski aka scottkoz20

When I first started collecting baseball cards as a kid back in the 1980s, it was because it was fun and my friends were collecting. We were able to go to the store, buy Topps baseball cards for 35 or 40 cents a pack, open the packs and brag about what players we got in them. My dad was OK with me collecting cards because he viewed sport cards as something that could increase in value over time. After all, he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, kids bought packs of baseball cards for a nickel or dime and played flip or put the cards in the spokes of their bicycles in order to make an engine sound. After they were done playing with the cards, they were thrown out. Some of the cards that they had are worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars today. Because of this reason, my dad wanted me to collect. He believed that sport cards would continue this trend. We know today that cards from the 1980s and 1990s have not increased in value over the last 20-30 years as the cards from my father’s generation did.

Now being a father, I often wonder about why I would want my children to collect cards. The cost of cards can be prohibitive for packs and boxes. Values that cards have tend to vary on the product, sport, and players pulled from the packs. Therefore, if I wanted my children to collect in order to be profitable, I would be highly disappointed with the potential outcome.

When I think about what else the hobby can be used for, I think about teaching my children about other life lessons and reinforcing other skills they learn in school. For example, instead of trying to use the hobby as a means to teach investing, we could instead teach our children about the idea of money management. Learning about money management can teach our kids about saving and budgeting money; thus our kids to be able to learn about what is needed to have enough money to purchase something product that they what to buy.

Money management is not the only thing that card collecting can help a child improve their personal skills. For younger children, learning to care for items is an essential part of this hobby. I know first-hand that kids can be destructive with anything and everything. One thing that card collecting did for me was teaching me how to own something and take care of it. This is a lesson that children will need to learn at some point in their life and card collecting can help our kids, just as it did for all of us, learn how to care for something. As parents, we can also reinforce the idea of consequences when our children do not take care of their stuff. Some of the consequences can include the item being destroyed, to being taken away from them or as a last resort, not being allowed to buy cards.

The hobby can also help a child with understanding simple mathematics. Aspects of mathematics always have some type of relationship to any card set. One aspect about understanding math is card collecting can help to reinforce simple addition and subtraction with your child. For example, if a card set contains 300 cards and they have 250 cards for the set, they need 50 more cards to complete the set. Another aspect is teaching your child fractions. Using our example of the card set, you can teach them that they have 250 of 300 cards for the set, or 5/6th of the set completed. Now, if you want to teach and reinforce percentages, this is something that you can also do with your child.

Reading is another life skill that children can improve by collecting cards. One thing that I enjoyed about cards was flipping them over and reading the players statistics. Additionally, some cards delivered some type of fact or note about the team and/or the player. I would want to have my child  read any facts or information that is on the card. This will allow them to continue developing their reading skills and allow them to teach you something that they are reading on the back of the card.

However, the most important aspect to kids collecting is simple. The hobby can be used as something that you share with your child. When thinking about what card collecting could do for a parent-child relationship, the first thing that comes to my mind is bonding. Card collecting is a hobby where a great number of bonding experiences can occur. Being able to open packs of cards with my kids and sharing in their excitement of pulling an autograph of Sidney Crosby or a piece of Derek Jeter’s jersey might be more exciting that if you pulled it. Then working with your child to sort the cards out by team, player, position or card number can give you more time to spend with your children in building memories that you and your child will remember for the rest of your lives.

Card collecting is something that a parent can enjoy with their child. There is nothing wrong with having the hobby for what it is, but as parents, we need to be able to help our children with some of the basics skills needed for life, which includes mathematics and reading. There are lots of other aspects that I hope can affect the life of our children. While I have provided a couple of examples, there are a great number of areas that I did not touch upon, such as cost analysis of card sets or alphabetizing of the cards. There are endless possibilities to help further educate and grow your children’s knowledge. If every person that is reading this article can have an influence in their children’s lives through the hobby, then the cost of the cards become priceless as the hobby becomes an extension to their education.