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Growing 'kidult' trend takes toy industry by storm
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Kris Kringle and his minions might be working overtime, as adults who are considered young at heart – aptly nicknamed "kidults" – are taking the toy industry by storm.
Every leading dictionary defines "kidults" – also playfully known as "adultescents" – as young or middle-aged adults who adopt childlike interests. But because, unlike most children, adults have money, they're contributing a whopping $9 billion to the toy industry this year, despite inflation.
And what, some experts suggest, is at the heart of their costly cheer? Nostalgia.
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Several academics have dedicated their studies to the exploration of a phenomenon called "reminiscence bumps," a period of time during which certain age groups have the scientific tendency to become more nostalgic for their pasts. According to group consensus, young adults who reach the age of 25 years old may be most prone to experiencing a reminiscence bump, while those in their late 30s – the age at which more women are now having children – are also trending toward nostalgia.
Young adults who have children may be especially influenced by the trappings of a reminiscence bump.
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"I have an 11-year-old who likes to tell me that she's into vintage," nationally recognized parenting and lifestyle expert Amanda Mushro told Fox News Digital Tuesday. "In fact, the ‘vintage’ is the stuff that I liked at her age."
"I think when we have kids of a certain age, and they are discovering these toys for the very first time… something that you had as a child and you're like, ‘oh, my gosh, I look, I loved that when I was a kid,’ right?… It's something that you might want to get for them, but really it's for you."
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But age isn't the only factor. Mushro cited the height of the ongoing global pandemic as bringing not just parents and children closer together, but also aligning their interests.
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"During COVID, we were playing so much more with our kids, and we're searching for toys, games and puzzles and more activities to keep our kids entertained," Mushro explained. "And so I think for a lot of us, we were searching for all these different items. And then there'll be times when your kids would get up and walk away, and you're still building the LEGOs, or you're still doing the coloring book…"
"So I think maybe we're more aware of what's the on the market now because we were looking for all of these extra activities for our kids, and then we started seeing things that we were interested in," Musho continued, adding that certain toys can serve as more productive outlets for adults over social media and other controversial trends.
"Now, I'm not just scrolling on TikTok for hours, but maybe I'll put together this LEGO set as opposed to just, you know, scrolling,"
“Maybe we’re trying to be more real… striving to be more mindful.” – Parenting and Lifestyle Expert Amanda Mushro
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"Maybe we're trying to be more real. We're striving to be more mindful. We're not trying to scroll on our phones or our tablets as much. Maybe we're trying to be more health conscious that we're not just overindulging," Mushro added, crediting the "feeling of accomplishment" that many toys like LEGO, puzzles and more can bring as an impetus behind the rise in sales.
But manufacturers like LEGO, the largest toy company in the world, aren't just appealing to adults – they're targeting them.