Why ‘Adult Recess’ Is Becoming a Trend

Adults may be replacing the joys of marriage and parenthood with a return to childhood pleasures

You’ve heard of adulting school. It’s where those who grew up in body, but not necessarily in responsibility, go to learn the ropes of changing tires, cooking, and doing laundry.

But there’s a flip side to this phenomenon. Apparently, many adults have a craving to be a kid again.

Enter “adult recess.”

“Adults are reliving their playground memories—the good ones and the bad ones—at what’s become known as ‘adult recess,’” or so says the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Adult recess is not a one-off event. It resides in trendy cities like Seattle and in the midwestern towns of Indiana. It attracts large crowds and return attendees. Paying attendees. The journal recounts the popularity of one event in its article.

“In Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park, about 1,000 men and women turned out for an adult recess one Saturday earlier this month that included kickball, hopscotch and tetherball, along with chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches,” reads the article

“I thought back to the last time when I really had fun, and it was these games when I was a kid,” Clay Lundquist, managing director of Center Stage Entertainment Marketing, which produced the recess, told the Journal.

But outdoor games aren’t the only thing on the agenda for adult recess. Some recesses offer indoor playtime with toys like Lincoln Logs, Silly Putty, and Play Doh.

Let’s step back and assess this trend for a moment.

On the one hand, I get it. Life is stressful. It’s easy to daydream about a simpler time in life, when one could get outside, move around, throw one’s cares to the wind, and have fun with friends. We all have fond memories of childhood and it’s nice to indulge in these occasionally.

On the other hand, there’s the issue of moving on and accepting adult responsibilities. Do we keep ourselves stuck in the past, unable to grow up and become the responsible leaders of the next generation because we crave an outlet for our inner child?

Fortunately, there is a solution to the dilemma of accepting responsibility but still allowing the inner child out occasionally.

Have kids.

Once upon a time, the twenty-something adults–who today enjoy adult recess–were busy starting careers, getting married, and having children. These milestones made young people embrace responsibility, but having children of their own also gave them an outlet for fun and play.

Which of us has not seen a young mother swinging on the playground with her child?

Which of us has not seen a young father throwing a football to his son, or building Lincoln Log dollhouses with his daughter?

Parents have tremendous responsibility. But they also have an automatic excuse and opportunity to have fun and enjoy the pleasures of childhood.

Today’s single, childless adults don’t have that. And so perhaps this is why we see them seeking to fill the void of marriage and family with the substitute of “adult recess.”

Perhaps it is time our society grew up?

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. In her role, she assists with website content production and social media messaging.  Annie holds a bachelor’s in Biblical studies from the University of Northwestern–St. Paul. In her research and writing, she also brings to the table 20 plus years of experience as a music educator and a volunteer teacher—particularly with inner-city children. This article was originally published on IntellectualTakeout.org


Related Topics
Annie Holmquist is a cultural commentator hailing from America's heartland who loves classic books, architecture, music, and values. Her writings can be found at Annie's Attic on Substack.
You May Also Like