How many of last year’s holiday gifts do your kids still play with? Probably none! Stevanne Auerback – aka Dr. Toy – is a psychologist with the Institute for Childhood Resources. And he says that most kids only play with their Christmas toys for one day before getting bored with them! Why? “Toy overload!”

Between gifts you give, and gifts from grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, kids typically receive 10 to 15 new toys. But since they can only focus on one at a time, kids go into toy overload, and end up saying they’re bored and have nothing to do. The solution? Buy fewer toys – but choose the right toys.  Here are tips to help you figure out which gifts will hold your child’s interest over the long-haul.

First: Choose toys that are open-ended. In other words, skip toys with limited options, like the doll with 25 recorded sayings, or the computer game that starts and ends the same every time. Instead, pick toys that let your child use their imagination like Legos, action figures and art supplies. Something that lets them have a unique experience each time they play with it.  

Another tip for buying toys your kids will actually play with: Stay age-appropriate. It’s not just about brainpower.  Your child may not have developed the strength or manual dexterity for toys out of their age range.

Finally: Spend more on traditions, and less on stuff. Think about it: What do you remember most about your childhood holidays? It’s probably not the gifts.  It’s more likely the traditions, the meals, and the funny family stories Uncle Jerry told. So work on creating memories for your children this holiday season.