Helen collects rocks. Not rocks that might have value to anyone else, just rocks she finds while she's walking around. Connor did it too, but not quite as much as Helen does it.
It started out as pebbles. As soon as she could walk, whenever we were outside and she was near some pebbles, she would pick them up. Most of her clothing, particularly back then, didn't have pockets, so most of the rocks would end up lost before we got home.
Occasionally, she has pockets. So occasionally she is able to gather a fair amount of rocks. At Christmas this past year, Ed picked up her coat and realized it weighed about 5 pounds. Seriously. She's doing weight training with all the rocks in her pockets.
So Ed freed the rocks from her pockets, and she started collecting anew.
Often, these rocks come inside. I put the tiny ones on a little shelf, she has a few medium sized ones on a puppet show stand, and the large ones get taken outside. When I clean, I often grab a handful of the small rocks and toss them out to where our trash cans sit, which is on top of a bed of rocks.
Last Friday, Helen showed me a very special rock. This rock would be classified as "large" in our home. It's a triangular slab with sides of about 5 and 4 inches. I found the rock in Helen's bag after school and she assured me that it was OK for her to keep it. She had found it in the bamboo forest at the park at school.
I argued it was much too big for inside, what could she do with it?
It could be a boat for Pico.
A picnic table for the wooden gnomes.
A place to sit under for a bit of shade.
A place for small animals to climb.
And at about this point, though Helen was continuing on, I said "Point taken. That is a very valuable rock you have found." It's now part of the inside collection of rocks.