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The Benefits of Fewer Toys
By: Permanent Substitute Teacher/Extended Day Supervisor José Holliday
Toys are an important part of any child’s development as they are just one way children discover the world in which they live. Toys allow children to develop important cognitive, language, and physical skills. Through the use of toys children gain, develop and refine important areas such as imagination, concentration, confidence, independence, and coordination. Children, especially at a young age, learn through their senses and toys can provide them those opportunities. However, too many toys can become overwhelming to a child and actually make it difficult for them to choose what they would like to do or harder for them to stick with one thing for an extended period of time. We as parents may in turn interpret this as boredom and buy more, but really what they may need is fewer choices.
Consider these reasons fewer toys benefit children:
- Children learn to be more resourceful. - Children are capable of so much more than we tend to give them credit for and being resourceful with what they do have is no different. Children may appear to be bored, but given time and the chance, they will learn to use any available resources in creating games or strengthening their imagination. I can remember as a kid taking empty paper towel rolls and taping them together in order to make hockey sticks. I would also ball up either paper or tissues and tape them together for a ball. Instant fun and entertainment without a room full of toys. My parents will happily tell you this would keep me busy for hours.
- Children develop improved social skills and cooperation. - Children learn how to share with other children when there is only one of something. Children in these situations are required to delay their own gratification for the benefit of someone else and learn to move onto something else until the other child is done playing with the toy. Children in these situations are given opportunities to compromise and problem-solve with other children, aiding in the development of important social skills.
- Children experience improved concentration. - When there are fewer toys, there are less things to distract children from what they are currently using. Too many toys can create a sense of “I need to try everything” in the child and soon you may notice multiple things out with the child not really focused on any one thing. Fewer toys will actually encourage a child to stick with what they are doing (even if it’s difficult) for longer periods of time, thus improving concentration.
- Children are less overwhelmed. - Believe it or not, a child may actually be overwhelmed by walking into a room and having too many toys to choose from. Think of going to a restaurant, is it easier to choose a dish when there are several choices or just a few? Now think of what this scenario would be like for a child with toys. Less toys can make it easier to choose and even invite the possibility of trying something new.
Toys are a wonderful part of any child’s development and are a part of ensuring a healthy and happy child, but it is important to consider the ways too many toys can impact your child. Also, think of the benefits of fewer toys to you, as a parent, such as a quicker clean up time and less things laying all around the house. A room with less toys can be more aesthetically pleasing to not only you, but the child as well, as this can be so inviting for them to explore.
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.