Academic comments on the rise of kids activities being marketed to adults

Dr Jane Pilcher from our School of Media, Communication and Sociology has been featured in an article for The Guardian discussing why kids’ activities – such as bouncy castles and ballpits - are now being marketed to grown men and women.

In the article, Dr Pilcher suggests that this trend for ‘arrested development’ activities is down to economic shifts around adulthood.

She says: “For millennials it’s so hard to achieve what we’ve come to expect as the traditional markers of adulthood – full-time stable employment, buying somewhere to live with your sexual partner, getting a mortgage, forming an independent household.

“Young people are being captured in an extended period of dependency – they’re not quite children but they’re not quite adults as we would understand them traditionally to be because they’re not achieving the adult milestones.

“Adulthood itself is becoming a much more contested and fluid identity.”

The article also suggests that millennials are spearheading this trend as they have idyllic childhoods to resurrect, with the kinds of play provisions being revisited being a relatively recent invention.

She added: “These days we have this notion that childhood is the best time of a person’s life and it should be defined by play and innocence, and parents spend a lot of time trying to create that idyllic set of activities for their children.”

The result, the article suggests, could be that we are more reluctant to consign our childhoods to the past.