To adults, a child’s obsession with collecting things like Silly Bandz may seem silly itself. But there’s more to this and other fads than just an urge to get the best elastic bracelets in cool shapes and colors.
Trends exist, especially among kids, for particular reasons. And how kids play with their favorite toys might just be a good predictor of the personalities they’ll develop as adults as well.
“Kids love to collect, play and display,” says Adrienne Appell, spokeswoman for the Toy Industry Association. In the same way the first generation of kids who collected baseball cards showed off and traded their collectibles, kids today trade Silly Bandz and even much more expensive toys.
If you’re afraid your child or grandchild may have fallen prey to toymakers and their engaging TV commercials, don’t paint them as victims just yet. Trends may help kids find things in common with others and help make them more socially comfortable and well-adjusted.
Some adults are packrats, amassing obscene numbers of old newspapers and magazines and every fortune cookie fortune they’ve ever received.
When kids collect, their minds and social skills are at work. Gathering and organizing items, like Pogs, and categorizing things by color, shape and theme teach kids valuable lessons. They negotiate trades with peers – though that could end up leading to a kind of trader’s remorse, according to Time Magazine, which recently reported on the Silly Bandz fad and its subsequent ban in some schools across the country because they instigated fights.