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Can you have too many toys?


We all knew it but now that the University of Toledo has published it as a research document perhaps we’ll pay more attention – Kids have too many toys. Controversial stuff from the Toyology team to agree with such banter? Well no, we’re proponents of promoting the non-plastic tat that clutters up cupboards across this and other nations. So, the researchers at this University in Ohio, USA, recruited 36 toddlers and invited them to play in a room for half an hour, with either four toys, or 16 toys.

They found that youngsters were far more creative when they had fewer toys to play with and played with each one for twice as long, thinking up more uses for each toy and lengthening and expanding their games.

One of the conclusions in the report stated that parents, schools and nurseries should pack away most of their toys and rotate a small number of them regularly, to encourage children to become more creative and improve their attention spans.

We most certainly subscribe to that. Earlier this year research by Argos found that 54% of parents were looking to pad the present pile far less and focus finances on buying a significant “Wow” present.

Kids Toys Colourful
Kids Toys Colourful

Dr Carly Dauch, co-author of the research commented on the Toledo toy study “The higher number of incidences of play in the 16 toy condition did seem to interfere with duration and depth of play. Other toys present may have created a source of external distraction. “During toddlerhood, children develop, but may not have mastered, higher level control over attention. Their attention, and therefore, their play may be disrupted by factors in their environments that present distraction.

“The results of the present study suggest that an abundance of toys may create such a distraction.

“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”.

About Peter Jenkinson

Toyologist Pete Jenkinson regularly writes about toys in national newspapers like The Sun and The Mail. This super-dad has an unmatched passion and dedication for trying and testing the latest, coolest and most interesting offerings from the world of toys.

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