How many toys do kids really need?

How many toys do kids really need?

If someone is in the process of getting a gift for their child, they will probably realize that the task is not easy at all ... Toy stores in some cases inform consumers that the receipt can take up to 20 working days!


Aside from the huge workload that this means for store employees and the huge turnover for owners, how many toys does a child need? Does this huge volume of toys affect a child's psychology or behavior?


According to research from the University of Toledo in Ohio, USA, 'the abundance of games is associated with reduced game quality.' Thus, ‘fewer toys result in a healthier child engaging in play, but also a deeper cognitive development’, as reported in Infant Behavior and Development.


The researchers observed 36 children aged 18 to 30 months in sessions involving free play. What was observed? That there was a huge difference in the quality of the game, between two different conditions, in terms of the amount of games in their environment.


"As measured by continuous play and the variety of game modes, young children had better game quality in '4 games' compared to '16 games'. That is, in cases where fewer games were given, infants they played with them in a variety of ways and for longer periods of time.

The study reflects the opinion of many experts who in recent years have supported the modernization, or even the reduction of toys, for young children. In his book Clutterfree with Kids, Joshua Becker describes how many games result in distraction. "Imagine the impact that hundreds of toys can have on our children in our homes," he said.


Alexia Metz, a researcher at the University of Toledo, said that all the children who took part in the study were "examined" under the conditions of 4 games and 16 games, in different sessions. This obviously helps the reliability of the research as it enables the same individuals to be examined in different conditions and environments.


The conclusion of the research confirms that the large number of games can cause disruption. With fewer games, the children who took part in the survey seemed to stay in each game longer.


To be precise, in the cases where the children were in an environment with 4 games, it was found that they spent 1.5 times more time concentrating on one game, compared to the other group. This suggests that young children are "more likely to play in more advanced and advanced ways when there are fewer toys."


This increased preoccupation with a game has positive effects on many aspects of development, including the game of imagination and pretense, expression, skills such as good coordination and problem solving.


This does not mean that parents should throw away their children's toys or discourage playing time. If, however, you easily give in to your children's pressures or spend more than you want on gifts for children, especially the very young ones, you may be wondering: Does this child really need this item? Will it enrich its breeding time - or will it just be used for a week or two and then ignored?


You've probably heard a parent say, "My kids have so many toys and they don't play with them." Maybe you've said it too.


Memories are more valuable than gifts


Research supports the idea that parents should invest in activities rather than material goods. Cornell University psychologist Thomas Gilovich found that people look back on their experiences with greater satisfaction than they do in their material markets. He adds that people who are thinking about upcoming experiential purchases, such as concert tickets or a trip, have higher levels of happiness than those who expect to spend money on items.


So choose to spend money on events or start free activities, such as walking around a park, cycling or any other activity you enjoy.


BY Dr Angel,

Aggeliki Koskeridou

Holistic Doctor – Counseling Psychotherapist

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

MSc Health Psychology

insta: dr_aggelikikoskeridou_official




Dauch, C., Imwalle, M., Ocasio, B., and Metz, A. (2018). The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play. Infant Behavior and Development.

Kumar, A., Killingsworth, M., & Gilovich, T. (2014). Waiting for merlot: Anticipatory consumption of experiential and material purchases. Psychological Science doi:10.1177/0956797614546556

Newman, Susan. (2014) Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day. New York: Iron Gate Press.


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