Could Too Many Toys Be Bad for Your Child?

Jill Holtz

December 8, 2017

too many toys

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Are you tripping over toys in your house? A new study might be the excuse to do a toy cull or at least hide a few away! Find out why too many toys might actually be bad for your child.

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A new study by researchers at the University of Toledo in Ohio, USA, found that youngsters were more creative when they had fewer toys to play with.

They invited 36 toddlers to play in a room with either 4 toys or 16 toys for half an hour.

As well as being more creative with less toys, the toddlers also played with each toy for twice as long, thinking up more uses for the toy, and being more creative with their games.

Dr Carly Dauch, lead author said “This study sought to determine if the number of toys in toddlers’ environments influences the quality of their play”.

When provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively.

The new study was published in the journal Infant Behaviour and Development.

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child playing with blocks

This is not the first time that research has suggested that too many toys can be distracting.

A 1990s project called “Der Spielzeugfreie Kindergarten” (the nursery without toys) run by public health officers Rainer Strick and Elke Schubert, was designed to see if children can play happily and creatively without too many toys.

Toys were taken away from a Munich nursery for three months, and after just a few weeks, the children re-adjusted and their play became far more creative and social.

Battery operated toy

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ClutterFree with Kids

In his book, “ClutterFree with Kids”, author Joshua Becker also argued that fewer toys are better for children because sparse playrooms encourage creativity, help develop attention spans, and teach youngsters about taking care of their possessions.

“A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them,” he says.

He argues that when kids have too many toys, they naturally take less care of them. They don’t learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand.

He also suggests that fewer toys makes children become more resourceful because they have to solve problems with only the materials at hand, and resourcefulness is a good life skill.

You might also enjoy 10 Quick Ways to Tidy Up The Playroom

So Should You Get Rid of All The Toys?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do a complete toy cull, but you could do a couple of simple things:

  1. allow access to a limited number of toys at a given time. Put some toys away in a box and swap them out every month. The novelty will be there each time the “new” toys come out.
  2. make sure that the play environment for your child has less toys in it than you would have normally.

Not only will clean up time become easier but your child’s creativity and imagination will be enhanced, sounds like a complete win-win!

Over to you now. Do you feel your child has too many toys? Have you any tips to share on this? Tell us in the comments below. 

Too Many Toys

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