Acorn Season – Why Collecting Stuff is Good for Kids

Why Collecting Stuff is good for kids, plus things to do with acornsIt’s acorn season.

We live in an area where huge old oak trees are everywhere, stretching their ancient branches heavy with acorns and covered in luminous green leaves almost down to the ground. Getting out of the car at ballet, or walking across the park almost requires a helmet as nuts drop randomly on the heads of anyone crazy enough to stay under the branches for too long.

Each day more and more acorns arrive at our house. They come in handfuls deposited on the table, emptied out of school uniform pockets as they go into the washing machine and I even found a couple in my bed last night. I’ve long since given up trying to stop them, there is no point, my kids are all compelled to collect them. So if you can’t beat them… join them, right?

We grabbed a collecting bag and headed to the park late last week looking for acorns. Not just any old acorns, three specific acorny things –

1. The girls were hunting for acorns with their caps still on.
2. Morgan was looking for empty acorn caps.
3. And Noah was collecting as many un-split acorns as he could find.

Why Collecting Stuff is Good for Kids  and ideas for acornsAll set with their task the collecting began in earnest with the big kids helping each other and everyone helping Noah. There were lots of exclamations and excitement when a particularly good specimen was found and many other interesting discoveries to side track us along the way such as huge orange toad stools.

By now you might be wondering why I was not only allowing my kids to collect acorns, but encouraging it…. well that’s because collecting stuff is good for kids.

Whether they are collecting acorns, rocks, shells, sticks, stamps or something else children are learning and using skills such as number and counting, classifications, organisation and decision making.

Why Collecting Stuff is Good for Kids  and ideas for acorns Collecting natural materials have an added bonus, they are usually free! It also means the kids get outside, move, run, climb and explore. My kids were working together, sharing, helping each other and negotiating as they collected.

But even collections of store bought items have positives. As much as I really dislike Moshi Monsters my girls are learning to budget and make wise spending choices as they save their pocket money to buy the little bits of coloured plastic. They are also using all those mathematical and science skills mentioned above with lots of reading thrown in as they read about each character, and even make up their own stories to go with them.

But what are we going to do with all those acorns?

Why Collecting Stuff is good for Kids - plus things to do with acornsThe acorns with their caps on became acorn people and have featured in many imaginative games and stories.

Why Collecting Stuff is Good for Kids  and ideas for acorns - acorn gemsThe empty acorn caps were made into ‘acorn cap jewels

Why Collecting Stuff is Good for Kids  and ideas for acorns - And the rest of the acorns have been sorted by colour, lined up by size, used as pretend food, counted, crushed for ‘potions’, dumped in and out of containers, and planted so that one day we can have our own oak tree.

Do your kids like to collect stuff?
Have you got any more ideas for what we can do with all these acorns?

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Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. says

    I remember collecting acorns and chestnuts (not the edible kind) in Poland every autumn, taking them to school and making people and animals out of them with matchsticks. Lots of very fond memories.

    We live in an area where oak trees are plentiful and my boys marvel at the masses of acorns that they find underneath. We haven’t taken to collecting them yet, but we might still…

  2. Leah says

    They are such lovely objects. I’ve always had a soft spot for acorns, picked up a few myself recently on holidays because I couldn’t resist and we don’t see them at home. Could you try drilling holes through them and stringing them up for decoration or jewellery?

  3. says

    I’ve never actually come across acorns…for some reason I didn’t think we had them here in oz! Love what you did with them….and the idea of collecting!
    My girls are loving collecting stones and flowers at the moment!

    • katef says

      I think Oak trees like the cold… which is why we have loads them down here! And probably why you never see them were you are., you lucky thing… I hate the cold :)

  4. says

    I used to collect rocks… yes rocks. Then when my family moved… they for some reason did not make it on the moving truck… hmmm, wonder if my mother had something to do with that. lol.

  5. says

    We have an oak tree in our garden, and there’s also one at the kindergarten my kids go to. Despite having a ready supply of acorns at home, they love to collect the ones at kindy to give to me as a present. We love making little people out of them.
    I love the idea of making acorn cap jewels. In fact I might suggest they do that at kindy today using the wonderful metallic paints they have there.

  6. selby says

    in primary school i would grate each end of the acorn down using the concrete, push the middle out with a stick and give them to my friends as friend ship rings, they were fashionable back then and my fellow students would pay me in acorns to make them rings!

  7. Samantha says

    So funny to come across this a week after my girls and I (ages 4 and 7) just collected a bunch of acorns on our walk. We plan to make a home made board game with them. They will be what you collect during the game. We will make squirrel characters for the player pieces and call it “Squirrel Town!”

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