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Thread: Fewer Toys for Children are better for Cognitive Development and Creativity

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    Advisor Jovialis's Avatar
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    Fewer Toys for Children are better for Cognitive Development and Creativity

    The holidays are a time for making memories, but in many households, the holidays mean rushing to snag the must-have fad item, toy or tech gizmo on their child’s wish list.

    Good news for parents who dread long lines and cranky crowds at the mall: A new study from the University of Toledo in Ohio suggests “an abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play.” Having fewer toys can lead a young child to focus and engage in more creative, imaginative play. The study, “The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play” to be published in Infant Behavior and Development next month, explains that fewer toys result in healthier play, and ultimately deeper cognitive development.

    Researchers observed 36 toddler subjects between the ages of 18 and 30 months in free-play sessions. The toddlers were given either four toys or 16 toys. “There was a significant difference in the quality of toddlers’ play between the two toy conditions. As measured by sustained play and variety of manners of play, toddlers had a greater quality of play in the Four Toy condition compared to the Sixteen Toy condition,” the study reports. Essentially, when given a few toys, the toddlers played with toys in more varied ways and for longer periods of time.

    The study echoes several experts in recent years who’ve advocated for streamlined, or even toy-free, play areas for young children. In his book Clutterfree with Kids, Joshua Becker describes too many toys as a distraction from development. “Imagine the impact that hundreds of toys in our homes may be having on our kids,” he writes in response to the University of Toledo findings.

    Alexia Metz, one of the researchers in the Toledo University study, notes that all the participants played under both conditions (four and 16 toys) — on different days & in random order — so that the difference reflects the change in the environment and controls to some extent for variability among children. When the children were given 16 toys, Metz and and her colleagues were able to confirm the distraction and disadvantage: “The results of the present study suggest that an abundance of toys may create such a distraction. With fewer toys present [referring to the four toy group], participants engaged in longer epochs of play.”

    The children with four toys exhibited one-and-a-half times more interactions with the toys indicating that young children “are more likely to play in more sophisticated, advanced ways with fewer toys present,” according to the study. This increased involvement with a toy has positive implications for many facets of development including imaginative and pretend play, self-expression, physical skills including fine motor coordination, and problem-solving.

    This isn’t to say that parents should toss toys from their home, or leave them off their shopping lists altogether. If you are, however, bending over backward or spending more than you would like on gifts for your children, particularly the very young ones, it may be worth pausing to ask yourself: Does my child really need this item? Will it enrich her playtime—or simply be used for a week or two and then ignored?

    No doubt you’ve heard, “My kids have so many toys and they don’t play with them.” You probably have said this yourself.

    Memories more precious than presents

    As you finish up your holiday shopping, consider creating bonding rituals and traditions for children to look back on and cherish instead of another toy or electronic gadget. Have an annual movie date, a yearly cookie bake-in, or prepare a holiday meal together.

    Research backs up the notion that parents should invest in activities over material goods. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology researcher at Cornell University, found that people look back on experiences with more satisfaction than they do on their material purchases. He “discovered that people thinking about impending experiential purchases, such as ski passes or concert tickets, have higher levels of happiness than those who anticipate spending money on things.”

    Elect to spend money on events—a winter trip, attending a holiday ballet or show, or going to a special restaurant—or embark on free activities such as walking or driving around to see houses adorned in lights to make the season less about presents and more about holiday cheer.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-better-option
    I agree with this article, too many toys would probably be too distracting for a child. Making due with what you have will probably lead to a greater appreciation. It will force children to use their imagination more, and get greater enjoyment out the fewer amount of toys. Perhaps too many toys would also lead them to being spoiled, and grow up to be wasteful.

    When I was a child, I did have toys, but I was more interested in drawing, puzzles, building houses out of cards/blocks, creating stuff with clay, and especially playing with my imagination. I used to spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, while my mom and dad went to work. They had a large property, and I would roam around, and play outside often. My aunt and uncle who lived there, who were teenagers then, would also spend a lot of time with me. They would talk to me about interesting subjects, like history and science. They would also buy me books about those topics as well. My aunt and uncle were the ones that usually bought me toys for Christmas and my birthday too. I think it is important to try to speak to children like adults, and to foster interest in higher-order subjects.

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    ^^I made all of those mistakes with mine...too many toys, I mean. Well, others too. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    I used to get so irritated when as toddlers they'd turn from the toys and start playing with my pots and pans.

    Oh, to be able to do it all over again. **

    I'd definitely keep all the arts and crafts supplies, and blocks. My son also loved his fire engine, and those little racing cars on a track. My daughter loved her My Little Pony. They both loved that thing where pieces pop up and you have to smash them down. I wish they had an adult version! I'm drawing a blank as to names for some reason. As you put more and more into your brain, more and more has to fall out, I think. :)

    **ED. Maybe not...I don't have it in me...they'll have to muddle along as they are...just like the rest of us...no do overs. :)


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    ^^I made all of those mistakes with mine...too many toys, I mean. Well, others too. Hindsight is always 20/20.
    I used to get so irritated when as toddlers they'd turn from the toys and start playing with my pots and pans.
    Oh, to be able to do it all over again. **
    I'd definitely keep all the arts and crafts supplies, and blocks. My son also loved his fire engine, and those little racing cars on a track. My daughter loved her My Little Pony. They both loved that thing where pieces pop up and you have to smash them down. I wish they had an adult version! I'm drawing a blank as to names for some reason. As you put more and more into your brain, more and more has to fall out, I think. :)
    **ED. Maybe not...I don't have it in me...they'll have to muddle along as they are...just like the rest of us...no do overs. :)
    Was it like whack-a-mole?

    Well, I definitely bought myself a lot of luxuries when I initially got myself a disposable income, as I got older. So I guess if it was up to me, when I was a kid, I would have probably wanted more toys. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Was it like whack-a-mole?
    Well, I definitely bought myself a lot of luxuries when I initially got myself a disposable income, as I got older.
    That's IT!



    I guess they do have adult sized ones. I want one for my house, only bigger, and you can smash them really hard. I'll put pictures of people I really despise over the pop up pieces.

    That would be much better than the punching bags we have hanging up. The small one hits me back!

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    You could've kept around the pictures of those "friends" who sent you those cards last week ;)
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    That's IT!



    I guess they do have adult sized ones. I want one for my house, only bigger, and you can smash them really hard. I'll put pictures of people I really despise over the pop up pieces.

    That would be much better than the punching bags we have hanging up. The small one hits me back!
    hahaha, that would be a great stress reliever.

    My friend was a mma trainer, and we used to go to his home gym and beat the crap out of a human-like punching bag. It was a lot of fun.

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    Princess davef's Avatar
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    Angela can use my photo and attach it to a punching bag/dummy in case she reads any more of my attempts at guessing someone's ethnicity ;)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    hahaha, that would be a great stress reliever.

    My friend was a mma trainer, and we used to go to his home gym and beat the crap out of a human-like punching bag. It was a lot of fun.
    It sounds it. My daughter is more athletic than my son, and more aggressive (that's her father in her). She does kick boxing. I'm afraid to think what she'll take up next.

    I could take up Davef's suggestion:
    "You could've kept around the pictures of those "friends" who sent you those cards last week.)

    Change up the pictures every month:
    Jeannie the Christmas bragging letter "friend"
    Dave the middle aged pervert "friend"

    Got another one too:
    Annie the "did me dirty friend" who keeps sending cards even tho I haven't sent her one back in five years. I neither forgive nor forget. This time the card was of her daughter's wedding. Her hen-pecked second husband still looks miserable. I taped up the envelope, and plastered a big "Send back to Sender" stamp on it along with "Recipient requests no mail from this sender". What do you have to do to get rid of certain people anyway?????

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It sounds it. My daughter is more athletic than my son, and more aggressive (that's her father in her). She does kick boxing. I'm afraid to think what she'll take up next.

    I could take up Davef's suggestion:
    "You could've kept around the pictures of those "friends" who sent you those cards last week.)

    Change up the pictures every month:
    Jeannie the Christmas bragging letter "friend"
    Dave the middle aged pervert "friend"

    Got another one too:
    Annie the "did me dirty friend" who keeps sending cards even tho I haven't sent her one back in five years. I neither forgive nor forget. This time the card was of her daughter's wedding. Her hen-pecked second husband still looks miserable. I taped up the envelope, and plastered a big "Send back to Sender" stamp on it along with "Recipient requests no mail from this sender". What do you have to do to get rid of certain people anyway?????
    I definitely have a few "friends" I could use pictures of:

    Like my one "friend" Patrick who I used to confide with, but went around making fun of me behind my back from day one. Or my "friend" Chris that tried to hook up with one of my old girlfriends while I was with her.

    I think it would be fun to destroy one of those ballistics gel dummies they had on that show "Deadliest Warrior", years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    I definitely have a few "friends" I could use pictures of:

    Like my one "friend" Patrick who I used to confide with, but went around making fun of me behind my back from day one. Or my "friend" Chris that tried to hook up with one of my old girlfriends while I was with her.

    I think it would be fun to destroy one of those ballistics gel dummies they had on that show "Deadliest Warrior", years ago.
    I've always thought it would be very satisfying to smash a dish or other piece of china, but I just can't do it. I've wanted to, but just never did....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrhNPS4nbmQ

    Goodness, we're sounding angry. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I've always thought it would be very satisfying to smash a dish or other piece of china, but I just can't do it. I've wanted to, but just never did....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrhNPS4nbmQ
    Goodness, we're sounding angry. :)
    True, but that's fine, they better not mess with us than.

  12. #12
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    I think children need small and big toys. Children need toys of all sizes. Because these toys will develop them.

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