Too many toys could be a bad thing for childhood development

Toys can be terrific learning tools for children, but can there be too much of a good thing?

Play is a critical part of development, as it builds spatial skills, motor skills, and social skills. Surveys show Americans have upwards of 100 toys for children to choose from. 

Social scientists at the University of Toledo studied toddlers. In some sessions, the kids had four toys to play with, and in others, they had 16. When the kids had just four, the interactions were almost twice as long. That suggests the kids had time for quality play, meaning they used the toy in different ways that are beneficial for development. 

"As they grow older, they build that into a longer attention span, better problem-solving ability, and persistence with tasks that might be challenging or frustrating," said Alexia Metz, an occupational therapist at the University of Toledo. 

She says a smaller number of toys could limit distractions. Consider putting some toys away and rotating a few out at a time.