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Too Many Toys May Limit Your Child's Creativity, According to New Study

When it comes to your child's toy collection, less may be more.

Child playing with Legos Bondar Illia/shutterstock

When it comes to how many toys and what kinds of toys you allow your child to play with, you surely have a take as a parent that's uniquely yours. Some moms and dads allow only a few items out of the play box at a time, while others are cool with a free for all, hoping it spurs their L.O.'s imagination. Well, now a study out of the University of Toledo has drawn conclusions about the best practices around playtime, and it turns out that children are better off when they're allowed to play with fewer toys.

“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,” researchers said in the new study, published in an upcoming edition of the journal Infant Behavior and Development. In their opinion, having fewer toys “promotes development and healthy play."

This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to limit your child's toy collection overall -- and risk major tantrums over holiday gifts this year! It's more about allowing access to a limited number of toys at a given time. 

“One recommendation may be to opt for having fewer toys available in a play environment for any one play session,” the study notes. “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.”

Not only could this practice make toy clean-up a far less aggravating process for parents, but it's also what researchers say will enhance "creativity, imagination, and skill development" for toddlers. Sounds like a win-win!