With Christmas nearly upon us, we’re all preparing for all the presents that are about to rain on our kids. However, a study at the University of Toledo, Ohio has indicated that “an abundance of toys reduced the quality of toddlers’ play, and that fewer toys will actually benefit children in the long-term.” (1)
Clair Lerner, a childhood development researcher explains that when kids have too many toys to play with, they actually play less with them as they lose interest more easily (2). On the other hand, having only a limited amount of toys to play with encourages children to use them more creatively as well as to play with them more because they view them as something rare and precious.
Learning to Share
This conclusion is echoed by another scientist, Michael Malone, a professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Cincinnati. According to his research fewer and better toys lead to increased sharing and cooperation, both valuable life skills. (3)
Life Experiences Better Than Toys
What’s probably even more important, however, is the value of experiences that parents often underestimate. According to another study at Oxford University (4), people with higher academic and professional success were the ones who had a better environment at home and more involved parents rather than more toys (5). The study included 3,000 35-years-olds and the results were pretty conclusive – having plentiful and diverse experiences as kids together with their parents were much more impactful than having extra toys to play with.
Other interesting studies in that area were conducted by Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University (6) who also concluded that happiness comes from experiences and not from possessions. Additionally, qualities like generosity and gratitude also increase when a person has had more positive and social experiences and hasn’t just ben surrounded by objects during the holidays and throughout the year.