Kids love their toys, and playing with them is an essential part of their childhood. With age, they move on to other forms of entertainment. But when do kids drop their playthings?
Children are acquainted with toys within the first few months of taking their first breath. Toys are not just a means of keeping a kid busy — although, at a few months of age, they are — they are the first friends of your children.
Toys are not merely a source of entertainment. Rather, they are the initial means of learning and developing for your child. From stuffed toys to plastic figurines, every plaything can be used to inculcate basic etiquettes, morals, and values. Parents use stories along with toys to sow some seeds of wisdom in their child’s head.
But eventually, there comes a time when children let go of their toys to pick other marvels of technology for entertaining themselves. Many factors are responsible for their complete moving on from toys — maturity, imagination, creativity, peer pressure, etc. At what age does that happen?
How Old Is “Too Old” For Playing With Toys?
This is a recurring question in the minds of parents. At what age does a child stop playing with toys? A study conducted by Let’s Play reveals that most kids drop their lifeless buddies by the time they are 9-years old.
The study involved interviewing parents of children aged between 3 to 9-years. The survey results showed a remarkable drop of 39% in the percentage of kids playing with toys at 3-years old to those who were 9. The obvious question now is — what happens after the children turn 9-years old?
The most notable difference at this age is that the children are approaching their pre-teens. This is the time where they begin to develop physically and mentally, but most importantly, emotionally. Every kid is different, and their development around this age is subject to a lot of variation and hence, is not comparable.
Before they turned 9, toys were their way of seeing the world while putting their imagination into it. However, now they are moving much closer to reality. In other words, it is time they start developing an understanding of the world they live in.
The Developments Post Age 9
Not only a child is stepping into the real world around age 9, but they are also beginning to experience emotional and mental fluctuations associated with stepping into the teens. The world suddenly starts to appear a little complex with every passing day.
One of the most important aspects is that of peer-pressure. At 9-years old, children are quite vulnerable to the glams and glitter of the world and can get easily influenced by anything happening around them. Playing with toys can suddenly get stigmatized by their friends who paint an image of false maturity that involves no toys.
Children end up either dropping toys due to such pressure or playing in hiding to avoid their friends from calling them names. This is, however, not the only reason why a child may stop playing with toys.
As the kids grow up, the school requirements rise as well. They are expected to do more and harder tasks, and their brains are tested all the time. Every day is a new competition. The Let’s Play survey revealed that 56% of kids stopped playing with toys due to their loaded schedules. There were also 31% of those who claimed that their kids got bored of toys.
But playing is fundamental to a child’s personality. So they may eventually drop toys, but draining their blood of play and sports is like telling them that chocolate is bad — you just can’t!
So the kids actually don’t stop playing. Instead, they get into more organized forms of play and games — sports.
Technology Vs. Sports
As already discussed, pre-teens are quite influenceable ages. Around this time, it is very easy to transition into middle school and be involved in a downward spiral of lazy activities like watching TV and playing video games all the time.
Thanks to technological advances, most kids nowadays don’t feel like stepping out and playing in the sun. They are happy being couch-potatoes and becoming joystick warriors with their eyes glued to the screens.
The Let’s play study showed that 70% of the parents of these kids are unable to give enough time to their kids. As parents, it is essential to give time and be physically present with your children to transition from dropping toys smoothly so that the kids get into some sort of sport and don’t become lazy sleepyheads.
For the kids who feel like transitioning into nothing, try indulging them in other activities like painting, cycling, hiking, yoga, etc. Keeping them busy is important to develop necessary motor and coordination skills and sharpen concentration and focus.
It is completely normal for a child to stop playing with toys after a certain age. That age is around the early teens, but it is not necessarily the same for every kid. Toys are a great means of developing social skills, management, and focus. But when the time comes, the child must move to more complex forms of skill training.
Toys are probably the most memorable pieces of a kid’s childhood. They are the modes of the depiction of a child’s imagination and desires. At times they indicate the strengths, weaknesses, and fears of the child.
But growing older makes them realize that they can’t rely on stuffed toys and plastic figurines to make their place in this world. This eye-opening transition is the time when children search for new ways to learn, explore, interact, and express.
As parents, this is the time to be the rock behind your kids while they figure out how to stand along and shine through the world around them.