Theory about Toys and Play for Kids

created Dec 5, 2017

"Fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively"

The University of Toledo produced this study.

Nearly 200 comments in this interesting HN thread.

Top comment:

Yes, so true!

My wife is a Play Therapist with 2 masters degrees in the subject. The organization of a play space with limited and well chosen toys is key.

Additionally if you give a child an electronic toy that lights up and makes a lot of noise and does a specific thing, the kid will usually play with it less, because they find their options are limited. Whereas, if you give a kid a wooden spoon and a pot to play with they can find a 1001 uses for it!

She has a rule for herself to not have more toys than it would take to clean up in 10 minutes.

Here is a talk she recently gave to parents at our pre-school. She talks about this issue at the 33 min mark.

I like the idea of non-electronic toys. My 15-month-old Granddaughter likes to "play" with plastic containers that she pulls from a ground floor kitchen cupboard.

She enjoys grabbing smartphones, and she's aware that she can create reactions on the phone by swiping a finger across the screen. She learned that early this year. I was shocked at how easily she became attracted to my iPhone, how curious she was about the phone as she held it, and how quickly she learned about swiping her fingers across the screen. It was an amazing thing to watch.

But we prefer to entertain her with low-tech toys. Months ago, she became fascinated with my ballpoint pen and small pocket notebook. She knows now how to click the pen by pressing the button at the one end. I help her scribble on the notebook. She holds the pen oddly, of course, but she tries to scribble on her own. I prefer that she play with this right now over the smartphones.

Gabbie plays with large Lego-like building blocks. She plays with plastic rings that she stacks. She does well with non-tech toys, including the Fisher Price Little People toys.