Kiddie Events For Adults Are Taking Off. Here's What's Behind The Rise Of 'Kidulting'

Bought Lego for yourself? Still playing the Sims? Welcome to the world of kidulting.
Laura M via Getty Images

Hands up who remembers just how fun children’s parties used to be? Party bags, cake, ice cream and jelly – what’s not to love?

Imagine if we could all just kick off our shoes and jump on a bouncy castle again without a care in the world. Well it turns out you can.

Kidulthood events – which are basically events targeted at adults that have a fantastically childish twist – are on the rise in the UK.

And it might be as a result of us all reassessing our priorities, post-pandemic.

Research conducted by Canvas8, a strategic insights practice, suggests that a lot of adults were able to begin hobbies and find interests like board games and other play pastimes because of the time afforded to us during the Covid-19 pandemic. And this desire to stick with them has clearly never gone away.

The agency describes ‘kidults’ as “adults who are retaining a sense of youth by investing in lifestyles typically associated with young people, like games and fashion” — all the things that make us feel like the drudgery of life is worth it.

They attribute this to the fact that “play is no longer infantilised” or considered to be frivolous, adding: “Feeling the weight of the world’s problems, the rise of the ‘kidults’ has been accelerated by a string of multiple crises causing them to seek escapism from reality.”

It’s thought the societal shame associated with being childish has also diminished somewhat, making it a more socially acceptable way to shake off the weight of adulthood.

You’ll see this not just in the type of events being held for adults, but also the items adults are increasingly buying for themselves. A 2021 survey by the Toy Association found 58% of US adults had bought toys and games for themselves.

You might’ve done it yourself without realising – perhaps you invested in a massive Lego set to try this Christmas, or you purchased the Sims for a hefty hit of nostalgia?

Logan Gunasingham, the creative events director for REZtron, who runs SEGA-style gaming events for the over-18s, tells HuffPost their gaming brunch events have seen a 40% rise compared to five years ago.

Events that have incited particular interest include the bottomless brunch option with a live DJ, magic and retro games, as well as silent discos and group events — but decade-themed events are taking the top spot.

Eventbrite, a global self-service ticketing platform for live experiences, says it has also witnessed attendance for nostalgic events referencing the 80s, 90s and 00s grow by 53% between 2022 and 2023.

There has also been a 10% increase in these types of nostalgia-style events over the same period, with the cities of Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham, Belfast and Manchester found to be ‘kidulting’ more than anyone else.

Although, the truth is that regardless of where you live, people love to let loose and indulge in nostalgic activities. Plus, it’s actually good for us.

As Mind Help reported: ‘kidulting’ is great for our mental health, as it allows us to connect with our inner child and engage with nostalgic things that bring us peace of mind. A study published in 2021 also found nostalgia is a highly social emotion that can bolster our feelings of connectedness with others.

And, let’s face it, we could all do with a bit of that right now.