When the environment has fewer toys, toddlers play longer, have better focus, and play more creatively. The study conducted comparisons of toddlers in an environment with 4 toys and an environment with 16 toys. The authors of this study also discussed how early work on increasing attention spans can help reduce the risk of attention deficits later in school.
What action will I take? This confirms that my toy rotation scheme is worth the effort, so I will continue. We have 6 different categories of toys and I have broken all of those categories into sets. We play with each set for a designated number of weeks, then switch to the next set. Each Friday we check the list to see which categories are getting switched this week. With this system, I know my children always have access to patterning toys, various balls, books with famous works of art, etc., and each week they get that ‘new toy’ feeling all over again when I open a set we haven’t seen in months.
Despite this great system, we do always seem to have a large number of toys spread out all over the floor at any given time. I suppose I should insist more strongly on putting toys away when we are done with them. When the toys are in their bins, they’re out of sight and will hopefully keep from being a distraction to the important play. A designated ‘clean-up time’ each day where we all focus on putting the toys away where they belong sounds like a good option, but I’ll start with every 2-3 days so I’m not overwhelmed. We can get better from there.