We all have to grow up, so we are told. Kidulting, instead, tells us that we can hold onto our childhoods. Maybe it’s a backlash against “adulting,” the idea that one has to act a certain way when they reach a certain age. Maybe it’s a way of responding to the demands of everyday work life. Or maybe it was born from simple nostalgia. Whatever the origins, kidulting is a booming trend that is also great for businesses. Let’s take a look at this hot 2019 trend and what it looks like.
“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”
What is Kidulting?
It’s not clear where the word “kidulting” originated, but the term is perfect for describing this fun trend. Kidulting is used to describe adults who seek to reinvent their most cherished childhood memories. Some argue that it is a way to prolong childhood and delay adulthood, but I like to think that it is more of a way to bring the two stages of life together. Why do we have to leave things we enjoyed in childhood behind because we are “grown up”? Activities that bring us pleasure, like crafting and playing games, should not have to end because we reach a certain age.
Surveys and market research show that kidulting, the recapturing of childhood experiences, is a rapidly growing trend. Some adults are looking for an escape during their downtime. A simple pleasure like playing your favorite childhood Nintendo games at home after a long day at work is a nice reward for a day spent “adulting”. Other adults enjoy using these experiences and opportunities to spend time with their families. Sharing childhood crafts or watching favorite cartoon characters with their kids is a great way for families to bond.
Trends in movies, apps, and video games all point to the power of kidulting in marketing and sales. Pokemon, the trading card game from the 1990s, has been one of the top winners in the kidulting trend. The uber popular Pokemon Go! mobile game was released in 2016 and immediately became a global sensation. Adults of all ages were playing the game alongside kids. The recently released Pikachu film was also developed with kidults in mind. Other examples of kidulting doing extremely well in pop culture are the Lego movies, along with the variety of superhero films emerging one after another. Adults are eager to revisit these favorite characters from their childhoods.
For many years in recent history, crafts were only done in art class in school. After leaving elementary school, many people never touch art or craft products again. Until now. Kidulting has made it acceptable and accessible for adults to revisit childhood favorite crafts like loom weaving, bracelet making, painting, and crocheting. Studios have emerged where people can paint while they drink wine. Pottery studios host group classes where friends can listen to music while creating with clay.
Kits and online courses, along with the popularity of YouTube videos, also make kidulting craft experiences easy to access. Simple but high impact projects like decorating a phone case or a cute container like a vase or a bank allow adults to reconnect with their inner child. Fun wall art projects are another way that people enjoy expressing their playfullness and originality, all while enjoying crafting during their downtime.
The kidulting trend has been a great revenue generator for businesses that have embraced it. The hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, is set in 1980s America and masterfully recreates the visuals from that era. In one of the Season 2 episodes, a main character named Dustin wears a purple Science Museum of Minnesota Brontosaurus sweatshirt. The Science Museum cleverly jumped on the nostalgia of the kidulting trend and reprinted the sweatshirt for public sale. The demand for the shirt was so high that it crashed the museum’s website on the very first day of sales.
British candy maker, Tangerine Confectionery, brought back the much loved retro sweets Brand, Barratt, after nearly a decade. The decision was prompted by consumer demand and a study that showed the relevance of kidulting in the market. “Our recent research has shown that a key global trend…continues to be ‘Kidulting’, the popularity of treats and sweets geared towards adult consumers who are looking for ways to relive their childhood and eat the sweets that remind them of their youth. The study showed that simple pleas¬ures…helped adults reconnect with their inner ‘big-kid’. Going back in time to older, popular products has helped these businesses remain relevant today.
You have probably indulged in “kidulting” without even realizing it! Get in touch with your inner child, indulge your nostalgia, and make time to play if you aren’t doing it already. You’ll be glad you kidulted.
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Morena from MorenasCorner.com is the kind of girl who would rather have paint on her fingers than get a manicure. Morena’s passion is using thrifted and inexpensive finds to craft designer inspired creations, and she enjoys creating colorful, bold pieces of home decor. The Italian-American daughter of two DIYers, she and her husband strive to pass the tradition and value of handmade to their four children.