Finally. Official confirmation of our long-held suspicion is here: Having too many toys isn’t actually all that great for little kids. Sorry, children everywhere.
In a study published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development, researchers found that “having an abundance of toys present reduced the quality of toddlers' play,” and that “fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively.”
The occupational therapists who wrote the study observed two groups of kids at play: One group was surrounded by four toys. The second group? 16. The group with fewer options engaged in “longer durations of toy play, and played with toys in a greater variety of ways.” So as with many things kids love—screens, ice cream, LOL Dolls—less is more and moderation is key.
But what if you happen to have roughly four billion toys exploding out of every cabinet and covering every available surface in your home? Simply make little collections of toys, rotate them into your child’s play area, and store the rest out of sight. Then for the next play session, the “old” toys get put away and a “new” assortment gets presented. There. Problem solved. And we didn’t even have to steal Christmas.