Giving your children FEWER toys will help them develop their imagination and learn new skills, say experts

  • University of Toledo researchers?gave children under three either four or 16 toys
  • They?then observed the children while they played and recorded their habits
  • They found?children with fewer toys develop better skills and are less distracted
  • Experts said keeping more toys in storage helps to keep your children focused

Fewer toys give children a better quality of playtime according to a study bound to give parents pause for thought this Christmas.

Giving children just four toys means that they focus on a single one for more time and play more creatively.

Researchers found that children with fewer toys have more ‘imagination, and skill development’ and are less distracted.

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Fewer toys give children a better quality of playtime according to a study bound to give parents pause for thought this Christmas. Giving children just four toys means that they focus on a single one for more time and play more creatively (stock image)?

Fewer toys give children a better quality of playtime according to a study bound to give parents pause for thought this Christmas. Giving children just four toys means that they focus on a single one for more time and play more creatively (stock image)?

GENDERED TOYS?

Boys and girls are driven by biology to play with toys that are traditionally aimed at their own gender, according to a new study.

The research found that an innate drive pushes boys to prefer trucks and cars and aggressive toys such as guns or toy soldiers.

A similar inbuilt instinct may be the reason why girls have always liked to play with dolls, cosmetics or toys based on domestic life, it said.

But the impact of feminism on parents, advertising and media may be a reason why girls have been less keen on dolls, make-up and kitchen toys in recent years, according to the research paper.

Girls are more likely than boys to be influenced as they grow up by parents, the adults and children around them, and what they read and see on television, it said, while boys stick to boys’ toys.

The study produced by a team led by psychologists from City, University of London, was based on evidence collected by different researchers across the Western world over decades, with some dating back to the 1930s.

The study, published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development, involved giving children under three either four toys or 16 toys.?

University of Toledo researchers then observed their play and recorded their habits.

Scientists concluded that having fewer toys ‘promotes development and healthy play’ and improved children’s ‘creativity, imagination, and skill development’.?

Experts said that keeping more toys in storage helps to keep your children focused.

Writing in the study, its authors said: ‘When provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively.

'One recommendation may be to opt for having fewer toys available in a play environment for any one play session.

‘When there is an abundance of toys, small collections can be rotated into play while the majority is stored away, providing opportunities for novelty without creating the distraction posed by having too many toys available’.?

The study was released as parents begin the unenviable task of working out what to buy their children for Christmas, if they have not done so already.

A typical British child owns 238 toys, but?plays with just 12 of these, meaning that 95 per cent are unused.

Parents spend an average of £207 ($278) on toys for their children each December.

Just 3.1 per cent of the world’s children live in the United States, but they own 40 per cent of the toys consumed globally.

New research has also shown that boys and girls are driven by biology to play with toys that are traditionally aimed at their own gender.

HOW THEY DID THE STUDY?

The study involved monitoring 36 toddlers, nine of whom were male and 27 of whom were female, for 30 minute play sessions.

No more than a quarter of the toys that the children played with were battery operated.

The study said: ‘We tested the hypothesis that an environment with fewer toys will lead to higher quality of play, as indicated by sustained play and more variety in the manners of toy play’.

The results backed this up.

New research has also shown that boys and girls are driven by biology to play with toys that are traditionally aimed at their own gender. The most wanted toys for boys this year include the £19.99 ($19.99) Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro

New research has also shown that boys and girls are driven by biology to play with toys that are traditionally aimed at their own gender. The most wanted toys for boys this year include the £19.99 ($19.99) Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro

The children who had four toys exhibited one and a half times as many manners of play than those with 16.

Children also played with toys twice as long when they only had four compared to 16.

The study said: ‘Sustained play with a toy may allow for more opportunities for trial and error to learn about the toy’s characteristics.

‘Deeper exploration may lead to increased imaginative play, supporting expression and affective development’.

Longer play with fewer toys may also help children develop problem-solving and various other executive function skills

The average number of toys owned by each child in the study was nearly 90, the report said.

?

The study, published in November, found that an innate drive pushes boys to prefer trucks and cars and aggressive toys such as guns or toy soldiers.

A similar inbuilt instinct may be the reason why girls have always liked to play with dolls, cosmetics or toys based on domestic life, it said.

But the impact of feminism on parents, advertising and media may be a reason why girls have been less keen on dolls, make-up and kitchen toys in recent years, according to the research paper.

The study, published in November, found that an innate drive pushes boys to prefer trucks and cars and aggressive toys such as guns or toy soldiers. The BB-8 Lego robot from Star Wars will be popular too despite the £130 ($99.99) price tag.

The study, published in November, found that an innate drive pushes boys to prefer trucks and cars and aggressive toys such as guns or toy soldiers. The BB-8 Lego robot from Star Wars will be popular too despite the £130 ($99.99) price tag.

Girls are more likely than boys to be influenced as they grow up by parents, the adults and children around them, and what they read and see on television, it said, while boys stick to boys’ toys.

The study produced by a team led by psychologists from City, University of London, was based on evidence collected by different researchers across the Western world over decades, with some dating back to the 1930s.

The most wanted toys for boys this year include the £19.99 ($19.99) Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro.

The BB-8 Lego robot from Star Wars is popular too despite the £130 ($99.99) price tag.

For girls the Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set from Mattel, which costs £29.99 ($27.97), is among the must-have items.?

Girls are more likely than boys to be influenced as they grow up by parents, the adults and children around them, and what they read and see on television. The Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set from Mattel, which costs £29.99 ($27.97), is a must-have items for girls this year

Girls are more likely than boys to be influenced as they grow up by parents, the adults and children around them, and what they read and see on television. The Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set from Mattel, which costs £29.99 ($27.97), is a must-have items for girls this year

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