Playtime Isn’t Over! How Kidulting Benefits Mental Health 

Some Adults Are Kidulting

A contemporary phenomenon has emerged, captivating an increasing number of adults who are now indulging in activities customarily reserved for children. Termed “kidulting,” this cultural trend has gained momentum worldwide. Psychologists reveal that the psychology of nostalgia and the healing aspects of reconnecting with one’s inner child can profoundly uplift one’s mood and foster improved mental health.

This fusion of nostalgia and carefree play not only evokes positive sentiments but also acts as a creative outlet for adults. Paradoxically, despite its novelty, kidulting for mental health revives elements of the past, much like the resurgence of vintage fashion that transforms outdated styles into retro-chic trends.

Clinical psychologist and ‘Joy From Fear’ author, Carla Marie Manly, PhD, affirms that kidulting for mental health essentially constitutes a natural and uncomplicated return to cherished childhood pastimes.

It provides a familiar backdrop that facilitates relaxation and unwinding, offering a retreat from the complexities of adulthood. This trend’s popularity surged notably during the early months of the pandemic and has since captivated a considerable adult audience.

A survey conducted in 2021, involving approximately 2,000 US parents who purchased toys, yielded intriguing results about how kidulting affects mental health. Astonishingly, 58 percent of respondents confessed to procuring toys for personal enjoyment, indicating the pervasive appeal and mental health benefits of kidulting activities.

Notably, renowned global brands have seized this opportunity by launching innovative products tailored to cater to kidult consumers. For instance, McDonald’s introduced limited-edition adult Happy Meals complete with collectible toys, while TikTok influencers showcased throwback fashion trends from the early 2000s. Adult kickball leagues also emerged, tapping into the spirit of playful competition.

Beyond mere products, spaces specifically designed for adults to relive their childhood experiences have surfaced. One such example is Dopamine Land in London, where grown-ups immerse themselves in childlike amusements.

Similarly, Amsterdam’s Wondr invites patrons to bask in the joy of “diving into a sea of pink marshmallows” and leaving their mark on the walls, reminiscent of uninhibited childhood exploration. The Museum of Ice Cream has expanded its multi-storey wonderland of pools brimming with faux sundae toppings from New York to various American cities and even Singapore.

Nevertheless, as modern-day technology pervades our lives, the authenticity of these spaces can sometimes be overshadowed. Smartphones, in particular, have transformed these nostalgic environments into mere backdrops for selfies, with some attendees failing to fully engage due to stress and negative emotions.

Evidently, negative emotional states like stress, sadness, and anger have reached unprecedented levels, as reported by a Gallup poll. In this tumultuous backdrop, the allure of distraction becomes all the more enticing.

This resurgence of kidulting for mental health is underpinned by its capacity to provide respite from the relentless influx of information and the pursuit of goals. The absence of rigid rules and the freedom from achievement-oriented endeavors render these activities profoundly enjoyable and stress-free.

In a world besieged by pressures and responsibilities, the concept of kidulting for mental health benefits offers a sanctuary where playfulness reigns supreme, enabling adults to momentarily escape the burdens of adulthood.

In essence, kidulting’s rising popularity underscores a universal yearning for the lightheartedness of childhood and the mental respite it provides. By embracing this trend, individuals are not only immersing themselves in nostalgic indulgence but also tapping into an avenue for bolstered mental well-being.

As the allure of kidulting  for mental health persists, its proponents find solace and rejuvenation, reveling in the uncomplicated joys of yesteryear while navigating the complexities of the present.

Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  • Playtime Isn't Over! How Kidulting Benefits Mental Health