Parents naturally want the best for their kids and sometimes this results in rooms full of toys. While toys can be valuable learning tools, more is not necessarily better- many education experts actually believe that fewer high-quality and age-appropriate toys are more beneficial for children.
Unintended consequences of too many toys
1. Sibling conflicts
If you have more than one child at home, there tends to be less arguing when there are less toys to fight about (believe it or not!). In most cases, siblings with fewer toys are compelled to share and cooperate. This helps them learn determination and patience.
2. Stifling imagination and creativity
Fewer toys can result in children becoming more resourceful by solving problems using only readily available items and materials. They’ll begin to use things from their surroundings to invent games, pretend play, and cultivate their imagination and creativity.
3. Decreased attention spans
Having a large number of toys can negatively affect attention spans. It’s difficult for a child to appreciate a toy in front of them with numerous other choices. Instead of using problem-solving skills when they’re frustrated, they just drop the toy to choose another.
Key benefits of fewer toys
In an experiment where toddlers were given 4 versus 16 toys, the toddlers in the 4-toy group engaged in more creative, imaginative play. They also played with the toys for a longer period of time and in a wider variety of ways, ultimately deepening cognitive development.
2. Higher quality imaginative play
Researchers in a German study removed all toys from a kindergarten classroom for 3 months. They observed that the children, although bored at first, engaged in “wildly imaginative play” by the end of the 3 months, with improvements in concentration and communication skills.
Quality > quantity
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy toys. Having well-made toys that are appropriate for your child’s age can be valuable learning tools and support holistic development. When you do (inevitably) end up buying toys,make sure they are baby safe, educational, and most importantly, fun. We work with Learning Time to ensure that children get the toys they need at each stage. That means no more unnecessary piles of toys at home!
Try providing experiences too
Alternatively, you could also consider giving your children things that will provide experiences. Give the gift of lessons that will pique their individual curiosity. Drawing or painting lessons for the art lover, piano or singing lessons for the music lover, or golf, gymnastics, and swimming lessons for the sports lover.