It goes without saying that children require toys as something to play with and keep themselves busy. It is also for the children’s development, and learning, like toys, for structured and unstructured playtime are necessary for a healthy mind.

More emphasis is being put on unstructured, as well as, structured playtime with science kits and activity boxes for interest-based games and activities. Extensive research is leading more educationists to understand that there are positive, as well as negative impacts of playing with toys. It may be difficult to fathom how playing can be detrimental for the development, and some of the pertinent points are briefly discussed below.

The detrimental effect of toys

Gender biases – One of the most discussed effects of toys is the gender biases that are common associations with gender-specific toys. For instance, a girl, wishing to play with trucks and pretend to play with soldiers should be able to do just that without suffering from prejudices surrounding those toys; likewise, a boy should also be able to play with dolls and take up craft if he is comfortable and enjoys doing it. The bottom line is, that it is necessary for the child to figure out what they like best, and find the most suited toy, for their own temperament and interest.

Racial biases – Another major factor that comes into play are the racial biases that children learn from a young age, due to the environment that they are in every day, which often translates to the family members at a young age, and after that possibly daycares and schools. With extensive research and studies conducted, psychologists, parents, and educationists are now more aware of how repetitive, stereotypical images and toys have a profound effect on the child’s views and understanding of the world and the immediate environment that they are in, although it may require years to overcome the damage done in the past decades.

Overstimulation – Having too many toys, also impacts children negatively. This is because too many toys, create a distraction, and does not enhance or promote good habits to learn. Whereas, having a few toys, that are rotated, so that, the child gets to play with them alternatively, has shown that children with fewer toys are more creatively inclined, as they learn to make do with what is available in a various different way to suit their imaginations.

When there are too many toys, a child does not need to create elaborate scenarios, as they have excess stimulation, already. With fewer toys, a child learns to space out the toys and play with different toys, when it suits them; with too many toys, it means having an overabundant supply where they do not focus on any of them as they don’t have to. The extra stimulation has already been provided. This means that they have less focus and concentration, which are necessary aspects of young and adult life.

Choosing quantity over quality – Another common problem with providing too many toys for children is that it is teaching the child, that the more they have, the better it is. This is not the ideal approach to life, as the backbone of child-rearing is to teach that the quality of time, people, money, the values that make a person successful, as opposed to collecting a lot of objects and items materialistically, and that age will be toys, which will depreciate in value over time. It also increases a child’s attention span, when a few handfuls of toys are rotated, rather than having a barrage of toys to placate their restless minds.

This goes to show that parents have to be vigilant about the types of toys, and also the number of toys they provide for their child. Children learn from watching and understanding the values of their families, and providing the child with everything that they need, besides the essentials, sends a wrong message and teaches the child wrong ideas leading to misconceptions that have a negative impact on the learning and behaviour of the growing child.

Children can still have a lot of fun with educational gifts for kids and activity or themed play, board games, and other forms of group play that is an essential part of growing up. With increased emphasis on technological stimulation, a lot of children, unfortunately, have fallen prey to the digital over stimulation.