The authors conclude that parents, schools and nurseries should pack away most of their toys and just rotate a small number regularly, to encourage children to become more creative and improve their attention spans.
“This study sought to determine if the number of toys in toddlers’ environments influences the quality of their play,” said lead author Dr Carly Dauch in the journal Infant Behaviour and Development.
“The higher number of incidences of play in the 16 toy condition did seem to interfere with duration and depth of play. Other toys present may have created a source of external distraction.
“During toddlerhood, children develop, but may not have mastered, higher level control over attention. Their attention, and therefore, their play may be disrupted by factors in their environments that present distraction.