Toy Variety Encourages Kids to Be Active: Study

June 6, 2011 | One of the perks of summer is that kids across the country will take to their neighborhood streets, parks and backyards to enjoy a season filled with physical, outdoor play. And children who have more play options to choose from are bound to be the most active and burn the most calories, according to a recent study reported by

Research led by a team at the University of Buffalo shows that kids who have a greater variety of active toys to choose from play for a longer period of time – and at a higher intensity – than boys and girls who have fewer toys.

Researchers gave 36 children aged 8-12 three toy quantities (one toy, three toys and five toys) to play with for 60 minutes and observed their behaviors, heart rates and activity counts. Kids who had three or five toys to choose from played 95 percent longer than those who simply had one toy. Girls in particular engaged in more intensive active play than boys who were given the same number of toys to play with.

“The results of this study are significant, considering the epidemic of childhood obesity plaguing this country,” Denise Feda, a postdoctoral associate at the University of Buffalo, told “Adults looking for effective ways to increase their child’s exercise time should take a look at toy variety. Adding an active toy or two could help, especially for girls. Girls can be motivated to engage in equal physical activity as boys by simply providing them with a greater choice of active toys.”

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has compiled a list of great active play toys to keep kids up and moving during the summer months. For safe summer play tips and more, visit