A few months ago I had the honour of being asked to speak to the Playgroup Coordinators from a local council. One of the most productive points of conversation was around the number of common play myths there are in modern parenting… Let’s face it, we all want to do the best for our children… And whilst playgroups can coordinate educational and enriching play experiences, unless we work at busting these myths, then achieving the full benefits of play for children in the home is near on impossible.
So, over the next few weeks, I will present to you a series of **modern day play myths that (I believe) need some serious de-bunking**… Myth #1: More toys equals higher quality play
There are some great studies on this… The most recent was undertaken by the University of Toledo which looked at the influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play and particularly the hypothesis that an environment with fewer toys lead to higher quality of play for toddlers.
Essentially, they observed 36 pre-schoolers were observed in two different individual free play conditions; one with 16 toys, and the other with 4 toys.
What the results showed was that 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 (i.e. they played with toys in a greater variety of ways). This is not new news… it echoes a similar study undertaken at a kindergarten in Germany in the 90’s where they took the toys away completely. After navigating through an initial moment of ‘boredom’, the children exercised their imaginations and began to create play out of items that they would never have previously considered. 🦸🏻♀️👩🏼🎨👩🏻🔬 My take home from the studies – fewer, more flexible and engaging toys are better… As to what are the best toys… we will save that for another week… 🤔