Too many toys can stunt a child's development, an Australian early childhood expert warned Friday.

As parents rush to buy the latest gadgets at department store sales, education consultant and Early Life research center founder Kathy Walker said bargain toys were not necessarily a good thing.

"We have become what I call a throwaway society, a quick fix, instant answer society - but the thing about early childhood development is that it requires the opposite of this quick fix attitude," Walker told the Herald Sun.

She said a constant stream of new toys, particularly electronic toys that required little imagination, encouraged short attention spans and stunted motor skill development.

"These children are not learning to engage and sustain an interest, to follow through and persist, which are skills that will be essential for formal learning later in life," she said.

"It's not that I'm an arty-farty, warm and fuzzy type who thinks that children should just play in the back yard, but the creativity, depth of thinking and imagination that comes with real play helps children become great learners and communicators later in life. It's quite a serious issue."

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