Saying goodbye to Toys“R”Us might not be such a terrible thing after all. According to behavioral experts, you might want to reconsider cleaning out the playroom if you want your tots to think outside the box—according to new research, having fewer toys makes kids more creative.

Researchers at the University of Toledo conducted a study of 36 kids between the ages of 18 and 30 months. The toddlers were divided into two groups and observed while playing individually for two one-hour sessions. The kids in the first group were each given 16 toys to play with, while the kids in the second group were only given four. The kids in the second group showed an ability to come up with more games and activities for each toy than those in the first group. They were also less distracted than the kids who had more toys to play with.

The study concluded that having fewer toys made the kids much more focused and creative. “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,” explained study author Carly Dauch in the journal Infant Behavior and Development.

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What this study doesn’t mean is that you must give away every last toy in the house or leave the Christmas stockings empty next year. While showing some restraint in the toy aisle at Target is important, researchers actually suggest rotating toys rather than simply minimizing the amount. The real secreti is keeping just a few toys out at a time to help kids focus.

Do you feel like your kids have too many toys? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Photo: Design_Miss_C via Pixabay

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