Playing is how kids learn. They can explore and discover the world around them, with their imagination and their own two hands. Toys are fun, and they do serve a purpose; but equally important is being intentional about the number of toys our children have.
Toys used to be simple and easy. A hula-hoop, a teddy bear, a wooden horse with wheels and a string kids could pull along behind them. These days, toys are taking over. Kids don't need a lot of toys to be happy. In fact, according to a study by Infant Behavior and Development, when toddlers have fewer toys, they are able to play with each toy longer, allowing them to focus more and play more creatively.
Fewer Toys, More Creative & Imaginative Play
Having too many toys can often distract children and prevent them from developing and using their own imagination. Imagination is vital. According to About my Brain Institute, imagination influences everything we do regardless of our profession. Imagination is the key to innovation. Children who have fewer toys find ways to use them more creatively by using their imagination and resourcefulness to create their own fun. This develops imaginative skills. Children are divergent thinkers; they are naturally creative. Cultivating their imagination along with this line of thinking will only help them to excel.
Parents may want to choose fewer toys, and when doing so, make them count. Quality over quantity. Legos for example, children can build a house, that then becomes an airplane, only to be eventually turned into a cow grazing in a field. Those little blocks may hurt to step on, but they build imagination. Watching children think while they play is fascinating.
A lot of toys these days are multi-functional. They have lights and songs; they will even read a book to your child. It's great in theory. You think the more gadgets it has the more entertained they will be. Possibly, but it's short-lived. They just sit and press buttons. They aren't actively involved in making anything happen.
Fewer Toys, More Use Of What They Have
When children have a bunch of toys, they want to play with all of them. The downside of that is that they want to do it all at once. They start in one spot and get through everything within the hour. With fewer toys they focus more on what they do have. An example might be, if a child has three toys, they will make the most of those toys and figure out every possible way to play with it. If a child has 70 toys, it's just going to overwhelm them as they jump from toy to toy.
The University of Toledo did a study with toddlers and their toys. It showed, when there were fewer toys, they played with them longer and in more ways. When there were more toys, many of the children played with 10 or more toys within 15 minutes. By flitting from toy to toy, they didn't take the time to explore the ways they could use each toy.
Fewer Toys, Less Chaos
How many mothers have posted pictures or posted about the tornado that hit their living room? The meaning behind that being, a toddler toy tornado. Fewer toys limit the chaos, the noise, and the mess, that all lead to a stressful home environment. Parents aren't always picking up buckets and bins of toys, kids have an easier time picking up after themselves, it's a win for both.
Parents may even notice that kids want to clean up. When they have fewer toys, they appreciate what they have because it's not something they have a lot of. Kids want to take care of their toys, because they don't get a new one every other week. As you can see, not having an excess number of toys has a lot of benefits. Most importantly, though, brain development.