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14th Aug 2022

Giving our children experiences rather than toys makes them more intelligent

Melissa Carton


Very interesting.

The run up to Christmas and birthdays often fills me with dread as I know my kids are about to get an influx of gifts that really they don’t need.

I try to stay as zero waste as possible but it can be difficult when grandparents and aunts and uncles want to naturally spoil your children at special ocassions with lots and lots of presents.

The last couple of years I’ve asked those close to us to consider giving the children vouchers for places like the zoo or aquatic centers rather than adding to their ever growing pile of toys.

Over the past month we’ve gone to several outdoor events and the kids always seem to get more out of it than with toys they’ll only play with briefly.

Don’t get me wrong children need toys they just don’t need as many as most of them have and research has even found that giving our children experiences rather than toys actually makes them more intelligent.

A study conducted by Oxford University found that children’s academic success was more dependent how much quality time they spent with their family rather than how many toys they had.

3,000 children between the ages of three and five were studied during the research which found that the fewer toys a child had the better they did at school.

More research by Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, concluded that happiness is derived from experiences, not things.

Looking back at my own experiences as a child I would have to say that there is a lot of truth to this research.

When I think about the memories that stand out to me from my childhood they are always holidays or trips to the zoo or the Christmas panto. Very few revolve around being given toys.

Experiences are also something that will last a lot longer than toys. Our children will grow out of most of their toys over time but the memories that come from family holidays or days out will last a lifetime.