The United States has 3.1 percent of the world’s children but buys 40 percent of all toys sold worldwide. Obviously, American kids can’t possibly extract all the play-value out of that many toys, most of which end up piled somewhere. That got me thinking about how drastically a family could cut back on its toys. So, an exercise: You’re marooned indefinitely on a desert island with your kids, who are under 12. You can bring five toys. There are trees to climb, waters to swim in, and animals to hunt and evade, so there’s no need for specialized sports equipment. You get to bring a separate box of books and musical instruments, so just concentrate on the toys — and nothing that requires electricity, since there won’t be any.
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