A growing number of adults are engaging in activities that are traditionally designed for children. These are a part of ‘kidulting’, a cultural trend that is becoming popular across the world. The psychology of nostalgia and the therapeutic practice of inner-child work boosts your mood and is good for mental health, according to psychologists. It evokes nostalgia that feels positive and reassuring, kidulting also offers the creative release of carefree play. But the concept is not new, it keeps coming back in trend – just like fashion where what was outdated becomes retro and old becomes new and cool again.

“In practice, kidulting is a natural, simple return to known, feel-good childhood activities,” says clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, and author of ‘Joy From Fear’. “The familiarity of the activity is often the perfect backdrop for unwinding.”

The practice surged in popularity during the early months of pandemic. And since then, ‘kidulting’ has generated interest in a majority of adults.

A 2021 survey of about 2,000 US parents who purchased toys found that 58 per cent of them had bought the toys for themselves, a Bloomberg report said.

And global brands too have been finding launching innovative products to target kidult shoppers. McDonald’s recently launched their limited-edition adult Happy Meals that came with collectible toy, TikTok influencers posted videos of themselves dressing up in fashion that was popular in the early 2000s and adult kickball leagues.

Then there are spaces that allow adults to relive their childhood. Dopamine Land in London is one such place where adults engage in light-hearted activities designed for children. Similarly, in Amsterdam, Wondr invites patrons to “dive into a sea of pink marshmallows” and “write on the walls”.

The Museum of Ice Cream, a multi-storey playground of pools filled with fake sundae toppings, has expanded from New York to several other American cities and Singapore.

As per a report in The Economist, modern-day gadgets like smartphones are playing spoilsport, reducing these places to selfie backdrops. And some attendees are glued to their phones.

This is due to stress and anger. According to a Gallup poll, negative emotions, including stress, sadness and anger, have reached record highs. But it is to be note that when the world is bleak, the appeal for distraction is stronger.

And this is why kidulting is becoming popular once again. There is no information to take in, no rules to follow and no goals to achieve. It is amusing and not stressful at all.


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