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“Kidult” toys are the millennial shopping trend we should have seen coming

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You're not imagining anything: your childhood rears its glittering, braces-adorned head. Like an ex “just stopping by to see how you're doing,” elements of your past try to woo you again (money hairstyles! Hanging out at the mall! Grimace's triumphant return to McDonald's!). Not as much as your toys, though.

You can't scroll on your phone or walk a block without coming across this Barbie movie marketing machine — thanks to product extensions ranging from Homesick candles to Airbnb stays and clothing lines available everywhere from Hot Topic to Bloomingdale's — but the trend goes much deeper. As we researched upcoming toys for this year's Happy Kid Awards (starting this August!), one word kept coming up: kidult. And Millennials, that's a term that seems tailor-made for you.

The Rise of the Kidults

The evolution of Furby from 1998 to today. / PHOTOS: Getty Images/Hasbro

Technically, a “Kindult” is anyone over the age of 12, as children at that age tend to prefer all things electronic – at least by the standards of the NPD Group, which studies industry trends worldwide. But the one with that real Disposable income is the post-college amount. And with recent toy trends focused on re-issuing hit items from the '90s and early 2000s, the latest marketing push appears to be aimed squarely at millennials.

The tactic makes sense: According to Kidults data, Kidults bought 24 percent of all toys from June 2021 to June 2022, accounting for about two-thirds of the growth in that market Time.

While there is a strong market for people buying nostalgic toys and gifts for themselves, the focus on Millennials also makes sense because they are the ones buying things for their children. You have fond memories of curling Totally Hair Barbie's curls in the mid-90s. So why not introduce your child to the 2022 version? Or show them how fun it is to collect dozens of pocket-sized animals when Littlest Pet Shops is relaunched in 2024 (supposedly with a more '90s-esque design)?

Everything old will be restarted (again).

How widespread is this trend? Before you dig deeper, dear reader, ask yourself the real question: How many setbacks can your heart take? Sit down and practice your steady breathing to center yourself as we highlight some of the biggest millennial hits reimagined for today.

1. Furby

hasbro

Wait, wasn't this just rebooted in 2016? Yes, that was the Furby Connect, one of the few relaunched Furbies to come out since the 1998 original, but the 2023 version takes things to the next level. Its mechanics are much quieter than previous models, it comes with accessories (including a pizza necklace that kids can wear – and feed the Furby), it's easier to understand (more English, less Furbish). But the best part is that it can be turned off at any time by triple-tapping the gem on your forehead.

$94 ON AMAZON

Amazon

The Doodle Pad you know and love is back, only with an LCD screen. You can save your designs and then, with the push of a button, wipe the screen clean and start over, making the toy more travel-friendly and cleaner.

$25 on Amazon

MGA Entertainment

Parents might be happy to know that the Cozy Coupe isn't gone yet and, as of last fall, can even double as a desk (or dollhouse) accessory. MGA's Miniverse launched Little Tikes Minis, a line of surprise balls featuring micro versions of toddler favorites like the aforementioned Coupe, Turtle Sandbox, and Jump n' Slide Bouncer.

$10 ON AMAZON

Amazon

It looks and sounds just like the original from the late 90s. Imagine telling your kids how innovative these pixelated pets were back in the day.

$18 ON AMAZON

Polly Pocket

Polly has undergone a metamorphosis over the years (including eventually becoming less pocket-sized), but the concept remains the same: compact suitcases that house entire playscapes for Polly and her friends.

$11 ON AMAZON

MGA Entertainment

Get ready to feel your age: If the Bratz dolls were people, they could drink legally by now. The brand celebrated its 20th anniversaryTh Anniversary in 2021 by bringing back the original dolls, complete with a holographic poster completely aligned to the brand.

$24 ON AMAZON

American girl

Now prepare to feel ancient: The latest historical American Girls is from the 1900s… 1999 to be exact. Isabel and Nikki Hoffman are twins living at the turn of the millennium, having dial-up issues and their Having to fill out reading logs to get personal Pizza Hut pizzas and crafting the perfect AIM away message.

BUY ($115)

Amazon

The old-fashioned peg art set has a new lease of life and has been repositioned as wall art with more child-friendly designs. They don't play with children's toys; You design your own decor!

$69 ON AMAZON

Fisher Price

You can still buy the classic Chatter Phone for Kids, although we expect it to come with a ton of explanation (namely, what a landline is and how a rotary phone works). Aimed at parents, this version has Bluetooth capabilities so you can send and receive real calls. The dream.

BUY ($168)

Play Doh

Proving that you're never too old for Play-Doh, the brand sells a range of cheeky scents for adults (which they market as an alternative to adult coloring books). There's the coffee-scented Overpriced Latte, Mom Jeans (with a fresh denim aroma), and the smoked meat scent of Grill King, to name a few.

$9 ON AMAZON (FOR ALL SIX)

Mattel

Her hair isn't quite as long, but her minidress is just as psychedelic and she has rainbow pastel highlights. (And if you're not thrilled about the throwback, your inner child might enjoy the full set of Barbie the Movie dolls, also available in stores now.)

$11 ON AMAZON

Nerf

The classic water gun made a comeback in 2020, although reviews upon its release were mixed (overall it's fun, but many say it leaks more than the original). If you've been itching to teach your kids how to have a water fight, consider this your excuse to finally get it done this summer.

BUY ($20)

Care Bears have taken on a more cartoonish look in recent years and this year they've shrunk into the perfect backpack accessory. Following the mystery box trend, you don't know which figure you'll get, but you can be sure that it will be tiny, adorable, and have its own keychain-connected storage compartment for you to hang out in .

BUY ($3)

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