With the development of new technologies has come a large number of toy innovations for kids. If you can dream it – they have likely made it – and your Aunt Sue is on the waiting list to get one for your child. But is better for your child’s development for them to always be surrounded by gadgets?
A new study says no. In fact they say a lack of toy options can actually lead to a better play experience for toddlers.
For their study, researchers at The University of Toledo sampled a group of 36 toddlers between the ages of 18 and 30 months (nine boys and 27 girls) and observed their playing patterns twice: once when presented with a group of four toys, and again with a larger group of 16 toys.
While you would think having more options would equal more fun, the toddlers were actually more focused and creative when presented with less options. Fewer toys allow for “deeper, sophisticated play” and create fewer distractions, the team found.
Alexia E. Metz, Ph.D., a University of Toledo associate professor who co-wrote the study, told TODAY Home that giving your child fewer toys might just support the development of focused attention, motor skills, cognitive concepts and creativity.
“I think the main takeaway for parents is that if they give their toddlers some opportunities to play in a setting with fewer distractions, including having fewer toys out at any one time, they may notice that their kiddos play with each toy longer and in increasingly creative ways,”she said.
Adding, “When there are fewer distractions (including the temptation of other fun toys!), they can focus on the toy at hand. This gives them time to explore everything they can do with it, playing with it in more and more elaborate and creative ways.”
This plays into the theory that kids are more creative when they’re bored. They start to daydream, think creatively and build something out of nothing. Any time we’ve ever had a tech-free week at our house we see the same thing. The kids pull out the board games, art supplies and create things we’ve never seen. Toddlers are the same. Given less they will have to get more creative in the ways they play with their toys.
Image VIA Unsplash – Wendy Aros-Routman