Stamps communicate ideas and make bridges between people. There are many activities that can help you to build bridges that connect your love of collecting with others, and that might inspire them to learn more about the hobby.
The APS Education Department frequently receives requests from members who would like ideas for sharing their love of philately with others. The goal of this column will be to provide ideas and resources that can be used with all types of non-collectors. Feel free to use them “as is” or modify them as needed. All we ask is that you share your ideas and activities with us so that we, in turn, can share them. Together, we can build a resource library of effective practices for promoting the hobby to both children and adults.
One of the most successful activities that the APS Education Department has used with children is the “Young Stamp Collector’s Album.” All who participate find it to be engaging, and most are not happy when the activity is over. For this activity, you will need lots of loose stamps, pencils, glue sticks or hinges, and one copy of the “Young Stamp Collector’s Album” for each participant. Children prefer stamps that are off-paper, colorful, and depict familiar people, animals, places, and things; we refer to these stamps as “kid friendly.”
Figure 1. This foldable booklet helps young stamp collectors discover the possibilities of stamp collecting by finding things that “move,” “grow,” “live on land” and more.
Each participant is given a copy of the “Young Stamp Collector’s Album” (Figure 1). The first task should be to have participants place their name on the front cover. Next, have them look for a stamp with a person on it. Use a glue stick or hinge to attach the stamp to the correct page. If you are using hinges, you will need to take time to show the participants how to hinge a stamp to an album page. After affixing the first stamp, you may have them continue to look for additional people to add or choose to move on to the next page, “Places.” Spend as much time doing this activity as you desire. Often, when we are meeting with the same group over several different sessions, we will have participants complete only one page per session and collect their albums until the last day, when they get to take them home with an additional glassine of loose stamps to affix at home.
Figure 2. Designed for older children, the Youth Stamp Collector’s Album introduces kids to issuing entities, and works best paired with a world map.
The “Young Stamp Collector’s Album” is appropriate for children ages 5–12. For older children, use the “Youth Stamp Collector’s Album,” (Figure 2) which requires the participants to match stamps with their continent. A world map and stamp identifiers are necessary tools for this activity, along with instruction on how to use them. Older children enjoy the task of identifying issuing entities and placing stamps on their correct page. Once they have selected a stamp, help them to identify the country of issue and then locate the country on a map. This will help them to place the stamp on the correct page of their album. Participants can be challenged to locate a specific number of stamps for each page. They can also be encouraged to use their phones or a computer that might be handy to search for an interesting fact about some of the people, places, and things depicted on their stamps.
Regardless of which album you use, be sure to save time for participants to share the stamps that they have added to their albums. Sharing can be done as a whole group, with one person sharing at a time. Children can also share their stamps with partners Consider placing participants in groups of two and have one share their “collection” for one minute while the partner listens, then switch. Be sure to share some of your own favorite stamps during this time. Your passion and enthusiasm will be contagious!
In November 2019, the Education team visited local schools to introduce stamp collecting to fourth grade students.
To find PDF versions of the “Young Stamp Collector’s Album” and the “Youth Stamp Collector’s Album,” log into the C3a learning platform, click on the Videos & Resources tab, and look for the bridge icon. When you open the “Bridges — Activities for Sharing” folder you will find the album resources.
If you have not yet logged onto the C3a learning platform, visit aps.buzz/C3aPlatform for more information. Expanding the hobby is a matter of building bridges. To build our “sharing bridge,” we need your ideas, resources, and success stories. Please email your ideas, activities, and resources to firstname.lastname@example.org. With your help the “Bridges — Activities for Sharing” folder will become a bridge to the future.
Editor's Note: The “Let's Build Bridges: Sharing Stamp Collecting with Youth” article was published in the March 2020 issue of The American Philatelist. We are bringing the archives of The American Philatelist to the Newsroom - stay tuned for more columns and articles from 2020, and read the full March issue here. Happy Women's History Month!