How Many Toys a Child Really Needs (Survey)

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What is the right number of toys for my child?

How many toys should I buy for my child each year?

When to stop buying toys for my child?

These are all legitimate questions that are asked by many parents, especially those that feel their child has too many toys (which is understandable).

Indeed, it can be confusing to figure out the appropriate number of toys that your young one should have.

One famous recommendation that addresses this issue is the 20-toy rule. To put it simply, your child can have only 20 toys to play with at any given time. But this seems to be quite simplistic and limiting since it suggests a one-size-fits-all approach that’s not based on an actual study or research.

Instead, we decided to answer this question by asking actual parents in the US about their children’s toys including their purchasing habits. This involved 1000 parents with kids aged 3-12 years old.

Kindly note that we went beyond ‘the right number of toys to have’, and asked also about other things like the yearly toy spending, toy types to get, and when to actually stop buying toys.

Thanks to the survey we ran, there were several interesting findings which will probably be quite helpful for you.

Following are the survey results.

How Many Toys a Child Should Have

This is essentially the most important question. To get the answer, we simply asked parents how many toys their child actually use and play with.

number of toys a child use and play with

Children don’t seem to need as many toys as we may think. The majority of US kids (59%) play with a maximum of 10 toys out of their whole collection.

Then, there are 10% of kids that play with 11-15 toys and 11% that engage with 16-20 toys. And only two in 10 children require 21 toys or more.

As indicated, almost 70% of children will probably require no more than 15 toys to play with. This is contrary to the 20-toy-rule which suggests a higher number of toys for kids.

The majority of kids in the US play with only 10 toys or fewer out of all their collection.

How Many Toys to Buy for Kids

We simply asked parents how many toys they typically buy for their kid each year.

number of toys purchase yearly per child

Over two thirds of parents in the US buy between 3-14 toys for their child per year. Only one in 10 parents buy 24 toys or more yearly for their kid.

On average, parents purchase around 10 toys for their kid per year.

American Parents buy about 10 toys on average for their child each year.

How Much to Spend on Children Toys

We wanted to know the yearly spending of parents on toys per child.

amount spent on toys yearly per child

For almost three quarters of parents in the US (74%), the yearly spending on a child’s toys may reach a maximum of $500 or less. About 8% of parents spend $700+ on their kid’s toys yearly.

Parents spend an average of around $329 on toys for their child every year.

The annual spending on toys per US child is about $329 on average.

When to Stop Buying Toys for Children

We asked parents their opinion on the age where kids don’t need toys anymore.

age where kids don't need toys anymore

Almost six out of ten US parents (59%) believe that kids don’t need toys anymore when they’re between 10-15 years old. Interestingly, one in 10 parents (9.5%) believes there is no upper age limit for children to play with toys.

On average, parents believe that kids don’t need toys anymore at an age of 13.

According to parents in the US, the average age where children don’t need toys anymore is about 13 years old.

Other Relevant Survey Findings

Types of Children Toys That Parents Tend to Buy

We asked parents about the types of toys they buy the most for their kid.

types of toys parents buy the most

The toys that US parents tend to buy for kids are electronic toys (38%), followed by video games (36%), toy vehicles (33%), art toys (30%), and construction toys (29%).

The toys that are least bought by parents are board/card games and toy guns (18% each).

The Maximum Amount Parents Spend on One Child Toy

Different parents are willing to spend different amounts when buying toys. To get more information on this, we asked them about the price of the most expensive toy they ever bought for their child.

price of most expensive toy purchased by parents

For over three quarters of US parents (76%), the maximum spending per one toy is $300 or less. Only about 8% of parents buy a toy that’s more expensive than $500.

Based on the survey data, the most expensive toy purchased for kids is about $25,000.

The responses by parents indicate that the average maximum spending on a toy is around $347.

On average, American parents spend a maximum of about $347 on one toy for their child.

What Affects Parents’ Decision While Toy Shopping

We asked parents what has the biggest influence on toy purchases they make for their kid.

biggest influences on toy purchases by parents

The top factor that most US parents (66%) consider when buying toys is unsurprisingly their child’s wants and wishes. Other important things parents take into account when purchasing kids toys include online reviews (36%), friends/family recommendations (32%), sales/promotions (30%) and social media (29%).

About a quarter of parents (26%) are affected significantly by advertisements while shopping for toys.

When it comes to toy shopping, advertisements are a large influence for only a small percentage of parents in the US (26%).

How Long Kids Spend on Playing with Toys Daily

We wanted to know the amount of time children spend playing with toys. So, we asked parents about this.

number of hours a child spend playing with toys daily

The vast majority of US children (86%) may spend up to 6 hours daily playing with toys.

The responses by parents indicate that children spend an average of about 4 hours daily playing with their toys.

On average, a kid in the US spends around 4 hours per day playing with toys.

How Many Free Toys Parents Get for their Children

Free toys (e.g. gifts) contribute to the toy collection that children have, not just what their parents purchase. So, we asked parents how many free toys they receive for their kid yearly.

number of free toys received by a child yearly

Almost two thirds of US parents (65%) receive 3-14 free toys each year for their kid including from gifts, contests and charity donations. Around 12% of parents get no free toys at all.

The average parent get around 5 free toys yearly for their child.

On average, the American parent receives about 5 free toys every year to give to their kid including, but not limited to, from gifts and contests.

How Many Toys Parents Dispose of

We asked parents about the number of their child’s toys they dispose of yearly.

number of a child's toys disposed of yearly

Three quarters of US parents (75%) get rid of between 3-14 of their child’s toys every year.

The responses by parents indicate that an average of 6 toys are disposed of yearly for each kid.

The average US parent disposes of about 6 of their kid’s toys yearly.

The Preferred Brand When Buying Floor Puzzles

Since floor puzzles are quite popular among little ones, we were interested to know the favorite brand for parents.

preferred brand by parents for buying floor puzzles

When it comes to floor puzzles, parents in the US prefer to buy from Melissa & Doug (36%) followed by The Learning Journey (19%).

How Parents Typically Buy Kids Toys

The aim of this question is simply to know whether parents usually purchase toys in-stores or through the internet.

buy toys online or in-store

The majority of parents in the US (56%) typically buy toys for their children online rather than in-store (44%). This parents’ tendency to do the shopping on the internet is quite understandable considering the current pandemic we’re still living through.

How Parents Feel About the Quantity of Toys

We asked parents how they feel about the number of toys their child has.

how parents feel about number of toys

Around six in 10 parents in the US feel that their child has too many toys in the house. Only 32% of parents think their kid has the right number of toys.

Six in ten US parents (61%) feel their kid has too many toys at home.

The Most Favorite Toy For Children

This was the toughest question to compile and figure out since it was open-ended. We asked parents about the most favorite toy of their kid, then grouped the responses based on the toy type.

most favorite toy for children

The most favorite toy for American kids overall are dolls (13.7%), followed by video games (11%), toy cars (10.4%), action figures (8.2%) and Lego (6.8%). In other words, those five toys alone are the favorite for about half of children.

The Effect of Pandemic on Number of Toys Purchased

The coronavirus pandemic has probably a major effect on the toy purchasing habits of parents. So, we asked them how it influenced the number of kids toys they buy.

coronavirus pandemic affect on toy purchase

The coronavirus pandemic made some US parents buy more toys for their children while others were inclined to buy fewer toys. But the parents who exhibited an increase in toy purchasing are only slightly more compared to those who lowered their toy spending (39% vs 33%).

How Many Toys the Average Child Has

We wanted to know how many toys kids in the US usually have at home, which is a commonly asked question by parents. To find that out, we simply utilized the data already gathered through the survey.

Of course, asking this question without specifying the kid’s age (which is probably the main factor) is a bit meaningless. Here is how to calculate this value:

Number of Toys a Kid Has = Child’s Age x (P + F – D), where:

P = Average # Toys Purchased by Parents Yearly (as found by survey) = 10

F = Average # Free Toys Received by Parents Yearly (as found by survey) = 5

D = Average # Toys Disposed of by Parents Yearly (as found by survey) = 6

So, the above values lead to the following final equation:

[ Number of Toys a Kid Has = Age x 9 ]

In other words, the toys possessed by a kid will increase by an average of 9 products every single year.

According to this, a kid will have about 117 toys by the age of 13. By then, their parents would have spent around $4300 on toys (based on the average annual spending of $329).

The average American child will have around 117 toys by the time they reach their teens and their parents would have spent about $4300 by then.


We hope the above statistics will be helpful for your future toy shopping.

In short, you want to limit the number of toys accessible to your child to 10-15 maximum. This can be achieved by getting rid of any toys that are not being played with (or rarely played with) during the year.

You may dispose of those unwanted toys through donating, giving away, or selling them. Otherwise, you could simply store them away and even rotate the toys that are available for your child from time to time. That will allow you to get more value from the toys you already have as compared to getting rid of them.

Other things you may want to consider, based on our survey:

  • Stick to buying no more than 6-11 toys for your child each year
  • Cap your annual toy spending per child to $100-400
  • Stop getting toys for your kid when they’re 12-15 years old

Of course, all the ranges here should serve as a general guideline and the exact numbers to use will ultimately depend on your financial circumstances and child’s behaviors.

If you have any questions or comments about this topic, feel free to let us know through the contact page.

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