10 Things That Don’t Get Old to Kids

Posted by Amy Henry on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 @ 09:47 AM

Roller SkatingWe sometimes find ourselves compelled to think about the new experiences that define kids’ lives…What is something they’ve never before seen or that’s new to their world (and ours). But we often forget that some of the simplest pleasures of childhood are hardly novel. In the everyday lives of kids, there are many, many “old” experiences that feel new to the latest generation of youth. So in case you’re looking for some inspiration in unexpected places, here are a few youth experiences and products worth revisiting:

  1. Roller skating. Roller blades might look cooler, but there’s nothing quite so fun than stumbling around the rink on eight wheels! Skating rinks of the suburban sort (Cherry Hill Skate Rink) still fit the bill. Maybe it’s the mini arcades, the kid-friendly food or the lifting of the usual kid noise restrictions! But we think it’s also about the fun of learning the ropes with the help, and the hands, of your friends.
  2. Bowling. Along the same lines, bowling might seem staid to moms and dads, but it’s new again for youth! Bowling alleys of the retro sort can bring in youth, but many might be getting their first taste of the lanes alongside their parents in hipster takes on the timeless activity. With newer lanes offering the option of bumpers that rise when kids come up to bowl and fall to level the game with parents, bowling might be the newest old way to enjoy family fun!
  3. Apple picking. Tis the season for apple picking in much of the country, and this old-fashioned pleasure continues to delight kids and their parents. This pastime appeals to romantic notions of childhood, along with the new notions of local and sustainable nature.
  4. Movie night. Screens may have changed and the popcorn might come in unconventional flavors, but movie night still matters to youth. They might be able to download the movie of their choice any time, but a night with friends or family focused on a flick continues to feel special to today’s youth.
  5. Sleepover parties. Whether it’s a backyard campout with mom and dad by their side, or the first brave night away from home, sleepover parties are still a milestone for minors.
  6. Reading with a flashlight.  Okay, so today’s kids and tweens might have books that light up all by themselves, but the mischievous pleasure of staying up late and reading under the covers with a flashlight can still make kids feel daring! And parents can feign outrage while secretly endorsing their child’s sneaky reading!
  7. Friendship bracelets. Loom bracelets might be all the rage right now, but they are just the most recent rendition of a classic kid creation. Whether it’s crafting the look of your arm candy with the perfect collection of charms, or weaving a wristlet of your own design, girls AND boys continue to love the friendship bracelet look. And while the making of these bracelets matters, the sharing is where the timeless fun really comes to fruition.
  8. Swimming. This “sport” continues to be the favorite active pastime of our youth (kids, tweens and teens)…Despite all the opportunities youth have for elite and unique activities for fitness, this no-pressure, everyone’s invited sport persists as a symbol of childhood at its best for good reason.
  9. Bike-riding. Bikes have certainly changed, with little kids learning on balance bikes and scooter/bike hybrids making mainstream tracks. But the sense of accomplishment associated with learning to ride a bike, and the freedom of getting to go around the corner on your own leg-power remains the same.
  10. Scoring a goal…or hitting a homerun or even that hole in one! Carrying the team for just a moment is still the standard in kids’ epic tales of achievement and triumph. Maybe everyone gets a trophy in today’s little leagues and soccer clubs, but making that precious point is still the stuff of kid fantasies.

What do these timeless pleasures tell us? Some of them involve a bit of rebellion. Many involve a break from the everyday routine (like bedtime in your own bed!). Many show the importance of mastery in the lives of youth. And most involve a taste of freedom – even when you’re right alongside your family! When seeking ways to delight today’s youth, don’t forget to consider these classic kid experiences as inspiration.

Tags: toys, movie, Sports, outside, free time, kids tweens teens, culture

Great Kid, Tween and Teen Experiences: Lessons from a Summer Vacation

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 01:40 PM

Last week, I took a family vacation with my husband and two sons. I managed to abandon my email and phone for seven surreal days, but couldn’t keep my YouthBeat hat completely off! This family-focused resort revealed more than a few lessons on how to create great family experiences that cater to kids, tweens, teens and parents alike.   Family Travel

  1. Make them work! Okay, this might not sound like part of the formula for a great vacation, but it’s an element of the family experience that is often overlooked. Many of the most fun moments parents and kids spend together involve a little bit of risk and a few tough challenges – that great white water rafting trip, the time your family dressed up in funny costumes and won a prize, or a ride on a zipline or a swing on a trapeze. Great family experiences are often centered around constructive competition, fearless feats and valiant victories. When families push themselves together, they grow together. Do your products or experiences promote productive fun?
  2. Give each their own. Each family has their own unique equation that constitutes the correct mix of “parent only” time and “all together” time. Great family resorts offer options. Kids, tweens or teens can check in at the “kid club” but also engage in family game night. A movie under the stars can be the perfect time for bonding or a chance for parents to leave their little ones with their friends in their PJs. Parents can take pilates while tweens take part in beach Olympics. This sense of choosing when to be together, with breaks for personal passions make family vacations (and experiences) feel fulfilling for all involved. And keep in mind that a great family moment sometimes involves other families! Most often, great family vacations involve meeting kids, tweens or teens from somewhere new. They can involve socializing for parents, too.  So don’t think that families only want to focus on each other when they’ve opted in for an all-together event. Do your all-family spaces encourage mingling? Would your customers expect to find like-minded moms and dads in their midsts?
  3. Stay silly! Let’s face it – families are funny! And when it comes to all-age vacations, it’s pretty tough to capture “cool” in a way that feels right for kids, tweens and teens. But even while humor differs with age and gender, creating an environment where youth and families feel free to be silly is a surefire way to keep the mood light and to bridge the generation gap. The same holds for family brands. Families are much more likely to understand that getting together can be goofy. And it’s a relief to release parents and youth from their need to look like they have their act together – especially when they’re on an escape from the everyday. Do your all family experiences or products act as outlets for silliness?
  4. Celebrate youth realities, not fantasies. Of course, family vacations can and should be the stuff of dreams – pristine beaches, characters come to life, etc. But the best family experiences are ones that meet kids, tweens and teens where they are. In other words, they don’t try to convert them or counter their natural tendencies. Making the teen club a lounge off the beaten path makes more sense than insisting that adolescents acclimate to adult spaces. Giving kids breaks versus wondering why they can’t keep up. And eliminating waiting and lines whenever possible keeps kids coming back for more. Are there ways to make your space feel more understanding of youth? Are you hiring people who embrace the quirks and foibles of real kids, tweens and teens, or simply hope they are someone that they’re not?
  5. Make it healthy – with a dose of sprinkles! The old model of family fun had parents and youth indulging with reckless abandon – eating without inhibition, lounging versus lunging. But today’s fit families (featured in our June/July/August issue of the YouthBeat TrendSpotter) are most satisfied when they can feel good about their good times. That might mean getting a workout while they get moving with their families. Or finding food that makes them happy and healthy at the same time. And finally, it can mean giving back while getting to enjoy a new place. Even the most indulgent experiences can leave kids and families feeling better at the end. Are there ways to build your fun family experiences on the foundation of mental, physical or spiritual fitness?

Wherever your family spends the summer, enjoy! And tell us what lessons you’ve learned from quality time away with the kids!

Tags: Education, play, outside, free time, kids tweens teens, culture, parenting

Five Ways to Make Earth Day Fun

Posted by Amy Henry on Mon, Apr 22, 2013 @ 03:50 PM

Celebrate Earth DayHappy Earth Day to all our YouthBeat friends! Youth’s involvement in the environmental movement is, in some ways, both a timely and a timeless topic. Children and nature have been indelibly bonded in literature, social history and even psychology (with well-being often linked to children’s ability to connect with nature in positive ways). This cohort of youth certainly sees the environment as important, although in the past few years our YouthBeat data has shown kids’, tweens’ and teens’ concerns related to global warming to be waning.  We know that this group is inundated by messages related to sustainable living, and that might be part of the problem. The normalization of green discourse means that environmental action might lack a sense of urgency surrounding it.  So how can you make your messages matter to kids? Take a cue from these companies and organizations who are seizing this Earth Day as an opportunity for fun.

  1. Tree Fu Tom, featuring Sprout’s newest superhero, reminds preschoolers that nature is full of adventure. And Tree Fu Tom shows that kids don’t have to choose nature shows or adventure shows – they can get excitement alongside their environmentally friendly programming.
  2. Get creative. One way to encourage kids to recycle is to show them the bins…Another way? Remind them of all the great things you can make if you pay attention to the art tools available in your home…Check out Scrapkins’ site and the Scrapkins Collector app for inspiration.
  3. Put kids on the case. Saving energy starts at home, and kids love being put in charge of making positive change (and telling their parents and sibling what to do!). Check out the Energystar site, designed for kids, for ways to make environmental issues accessible for them.  And remember, putting kids in charge makes getting things done less of a chore and more of a welcomed challenge.
  4. Inspire youth to take action. It might not sound like fun, but sometimes kids, tweens and teens need to know that doing the right thing can sometimes be recognized. The Children’s Environmental Health Network’s Nsedu Obot Witherspoon (NOW) Youth Leadership Award acknowledges tweens and teens who have engaged in good work surrounding the issue of children’s health issues caused by environmental problems. This organization acknowledges that their future depends on tweens and teens taking an interest in this important aspect of the sustainability story while reminding youth that their participation in the cause can reflect positively on them.
  5. Finally, focus on entertainment. Jack Johnson contributes to the cause by crafting a song that kids can’t help but sing: the “3 R’s song”. Enjoy!

Tags: Education, Social Issues, play, outside, culture, news

Making Retro Refreshing: Radio Flyer Reinvented

Posted by Amy Henry on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 08:31 AM

Radio FlyerThe first brand I worked on out of college, back in my ad agency days, was an iconic teen brand (which will rename nameless) that had seen better days. If you’ve worked on one of these brands, you know they can simultaneously elicit overwhelming affection and extreme frustration from those charged with nurturing them. Their brand caretakers wrestled with retaining the brand’s charm and reenergizing it at the same time. This is particularly true for the stewards of youth brands, who may have memories of the role the brand played in their own lives, but who have to rediscover the right way for these brands to connect with today’s youth.  We’re often asked for guidelines or rules for keeping classic brands cool…Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all in this regard. But we think Radio Flyer has struck a nice balance between authentic and exciting with some of their most recent innovations. Here’s how they’ve done it:

  1. They built from, not against their brand.  While Radio Flyer could have gone “everything container,” or even everything wagon, the brand seems to have recognized early on that its style was as important as its ride. Sure, its offerings are almost all of the four-wheeled variety (with the exception of little wheelbarrows and rocking horses), but they stand out versus the competition because they’ve kept to their classic look. Many brands have made wagons – even red ones – but the shape, the style and the lollipop-delicious-look of Radio Flyer products take them from scooter to sculpture. And when they have walked away from heritage red, they kept it basic: pink for girl trikes and primary colors as accents to their steer and fold riders. The essence of Radio Flyer exists in the middle of nostalgic and modern, and the brand seems to embrace it in product type, form, and aesthetic.    
  2. They found a way to fit families (not the other way around). The little red wagon might represent the most basic mode of transportation for the kid set (and for their stuff), but today’s parents are far from simple when it comes to their strollers. This generation of parents – especially those living in urban areas where your carriage carries more cache than your car – see their prams as much more than practicalities. It might be retro, but Radio Flyer delivers on timely design. Not only are the sleek lines and nostalgic materials (wood and aluminum) hip again, but the available add-ons make the wagon the perfect transition from baby’s stroller to big kid’s transport. With padded seats, beverage carriers and sun-shading umbrellas, the new Radio Flyer wagons meet the needs of moms and dads while the cushier seats suit the bottoms of the post-Pamper set.     
  3. They gave families a reason to re-buy, not re-use. Finally, following a trend set by many entrenched brands looking to re-establish their relevance, Radio Flyer went the custom route. Sure, you might have an old red wagon in your garage. But now you can get one made to order, with your child’s name on it. You can pick your own design, making the old fashioned four-wheeler fit whatever your style is. And it doesn’t just stop with wagons.  Radio Flyer kept the technology of their scooters simple – and reminiscent of the scooters they’ve sold since the 1920s – but they give kids a chance to put their personal stamp on them. The Style N’ Ride brings the customization and collectability of charm bracelets to a much more active mode of play.

Of course, keeping a brand strong over time is easier said than done. But we think Radio Flyer shows that oldies can be goodies if they’re treated with the care and consideration they deserve.

Tags: research, play, parents, Sports, outside, family, kids tweens teens

Summer Camp for the Connected Cohort

Posted by Amy Henry on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 @ 02:05 PM

It may not be time just yet for summer camp, but it is that time of year when parents begin planning, or putting down deposits. And for today’s parents, summer camp is no longer just about giving kids, tweens and teens a taste of the great outdoors…First, for many working parents, camp is a necessity, not a luxury. It fills in the summer gap for working parents who head to the office, even when the weather warms up. In a highly competitive educational context, in which youth and their moms and dads begin to express concern over college admissions before they’ve even hit high school, many see summer as a way to catch up and to get a step ahead. At the same time, schools have been hit with federal, and in almost every case, state budget cuts that have taken a toll on the extracurricular programs that give kids, tweens and teens a chance to find their passion. So it’s no surprise that summer camps cater to a broader group of youth – who are attending for different reasons – than ever before. And summer camp creators offer no shortage of options when it comes to summer camp.thrill logo

Take note: some of these camps involve very little interaction with the outdoors, but if a kid finds their “flow” at comic book camp versus canoeing, is that such a bad thing? At the same time, are we missing something by keeping kids, tweens and teens in school-like environments all year-round?

Regardless of where you stand on the indoor/outdoor debate, we think the following camps give us some indication of the signs of these times...They might be “no bug juice allowed!” and “email your parents here!”

  1. ThrillCoasterTours: Test your bravery by riding roller-coasters across the company (parents can catch that priceless pic on camp-photograph site, “bunk1.” And no cabins here – accommodations provided by Marriott.
  2. Surf Diva “Boarding” Camp: This all-girls camp takes to the waves, combining slumber party vibe with the kinetic curricula of a sports camp.
  3. Plantation Farm Camp: Want to inspire sustainability? Ship your kids to this California farm where they learn where their food really comes from…
  4. New York Film Academy: Because this generation doesn’t take pictures like tourists…this camp shows them how to become a professional cinematographer in just one simple summer.
  5. Digital Media Camp: Think summer camp is for getting your teen away from texting? Not so…this camp teaches them to develop their own apps!
  6. Camp Kennedy Space Center: The space program might be in limbo, but your kid can still lighten up in the no-gravity chamber.
  7. Engineering Camp: If building a robot gets your kid, tween and teen ticking, than these national engineering camps might be for them.
  8. Fashion Design Camp: For your budding fashionista or Project Runway devotee.
  9. Day Jams: Becoming a rock star might look as easy as posting a YouTube video, but this camp shows kids how to really get rockin’.
  10.  Bold Earth Adventures: More like a good-old-fashion survival of the fittest, these camps put youth out of their outdoor comfort zone, and promise to teach them about themselves along the way.

Tags: kids, girls, play, Sports, outside, Youth, fashion, kids tweens teens, culture, parenting

What makes amusement parks so compelling to kids, tweens, teens?

Posted by Amy Henry on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 11:32 AM

We admit it: this question might not require tons of data and a few highly educated youth experts to answer!

But we’re speaking at Kid Power next week at the Grand Floridian in Disney World, and we have amusement park on our minds! (By the way, there’s still time to register!) Our pending trip to the most magical kingdom got us thinking: what can other brands and organizations learn from the way children of all ages long for a visit to these super-playgrounds?Disney World

  1. The experience begins before it begins...For parents, anticipating a family vacation often includes some anxiety. But for kids, tweens and even the most amusement park-experienced teens, wondering what it will be like (this time, if it’s not their first visit) is part of the excitement, and also part of the tale they’ll eventually tell about their “trip.” Disney’s site lets the traveler prepare and plan, but it also allows youth to rehearse their memories before they happen. This previewing doesn’t only put them in the appropriate mindset for their vacation (looking for the good, not worrying about the worst), but it also immerses them even further in the fantasy before they fly on Peter Pan’s magic boat, or take off on Space Mountain. And social media allows youth and families alike to not only find out about the vacation they’re about to take, but also to share in the excitement with others.
  2. Technology takes a backseat, it doesn’t drive. When the guys at Pixar, who undeniably make the most of technology, talk about their tools, they describe a desire to make it disappear. Don’t panic – they don’t mean to suggest that they’d like to abandon all of the techniques that make their characters look real. Instead, they suggest that technology is done well when you can’t see it – when it does such a great job of helping tell your story that it’s no longer part of the story. If you thought about innovative animation when you think Toy Story, they may not have succeeded in doing their job. Instead, you think about Woody and his loyalty to Andy and his triumphant friendship with Buzz. It’s the same thing at amusement parks – wondering how that ride works might be exciting to the budding engineer, but losing one’s self in the fantasy is much more intriguing. It’s the same with most experiences – technology shouldn’t be the story, but the means of letting the story shine.
  3. Outside voices are allowed!  For today’s children and even teens, there are few places where they can truly run free. Not that we’re advocating unleashing your little ones in an amusement park, but this is one turf on which it’s safe to say that they’re in charge. For parents, a place where children can get a little loud at the dinner table (or snack bar) and where strollers are permitted (even if, as at Disney, you need to valet park your stroller in the lot before you ride), can be just as compelling as the adult-only entertainment options that used to make for a great vacation. Okay, maybe that’s too much. But youth love a place that let’s them feel unencumbered, and sometimes the fenced in, turnstile governed spaces that are amusement parks are, ironically, what allows them to let loose! For brands and particularly organizations, do the experiences you craft for youth and families give them a taste of freedom, or just another set of rules and restrictions?
  4. The details matter. When we think about decisions for our businesses, brands and organizations, we often think about the big picture. In amusement park speak, this might translate to: good rides, available food, convenient parking. But this is hardly what makes an amusement park propel towards mythical status in the minds of youth. It’s the “specialness” and the thoughtfulness that they encounter at every step of a well-imagineered environment. It’s food that fulfills their most fantastic desires. It’s encountering a character walking down Main Street (fulfilling another fantasy: there’s a place where these guys live, and where I might be able to live someday too!). But it’s also the special touches that make an amusement park feel like it exists within its own dimension. For youth, in particular, knowing the nuances often signals that you care enough to cater to them.
  5. The better the fantasy, the more frustrating the fault. Not all lessons from amusement parks are positive ones…A long drive to a park, followed by a bathroom that, well, departs from the fantasy, to a line that requires a ticket, a timeframe for returning and a torturous walk along a path of elevated winding red ropes. With a few kids in tow. In some ways, these inconveniences feel more dramatic and more devastating because of the very fact that they disrupt our fantasies. But this lesson is one that many brands and organizations can learn from – the better your marketing, the more unsatisfying seemingly reasonable shortcomings seem.
  6. The whole family can join in. Finally, we see, over and over again, that this cohort craves time with mom and dad, and occasionally, with their brothers and sisters. They are sentimental about family time in the way that we might associate more with grandmom and grandpop than the youngest members of their tribe. And for all their fantastic elements, the things that might make amusement parks perfect for kids and tweens in particular is the chance to test a roller-coaster with mom or dad by their side, or the luxury of an uninterrupted day of laughing and playing with the people they care about most.

Tags: kids, play, parents, conference, outside, family, free time, Toy Story, kids tweens teens, tweens, Superman

Getting Away From Setting “Good-for-you” Goals for Kids, Tweens and Teens in the New Year

Posted by Amy Henry on Mon, Jan 09, 2012 @ 12:23 PM

At this time of the year, gyms are packed, diets dominate the banter or morning talk shows, and advertisements attach products and services to a collective desire to re-craft ourselves…But like so many other cultural rituals, setting New Year’s Resolutions might not be a concept that can be easily applied to kids, tweens and teens.

“Resolving” to do anything that requires long-term commitment might seem like a dealbreaker for youth. But we could find countless examples of kids, tweens and teens who set goals and achieve them. One recent example: Jordan Romero’s Christmas Eve feat of climbing to the top of the seven highest peaks in the world (ending his journey in Antarctica!). Too ambitious for your ten-year old? Fret not. There is something to learn from Jordan’s story…Jordan Romero

While psychologists and educators note the importance of teaching youth to set goals (with interventions among at-risk youth often incorporating planning and goal-setting as part of a holistic “recovery” program), and both sets of experts acknowledge that this might be a practice that requires support from adults (i.e., it’s not instinctive), Jordan’s story suggests that a healthy New Year’s Resolution might be focused more on what youth are passionate about than what youth “should” do. In the early days of any new year, blog entries abound that suggest helping kids set health-oriented New Year’s resolutions…Encourage your preschoolers to put away a toy every time they play…Challenge your tween to try a veggie at every meal…Ask your teen to research one potential college once a week. And while all of these goals might be noble, and clearly worthy of mom’s and dad’s encouragement, maybe these self-help ideas are more about parental hopes than about connecting kids with great goals. It’s not just that these “to-dos” feel more flat than fun (we know that teaching kids, tweens and teens that sometimes meeting their obligations isn’t all about entertainment), but it may be demonstrating that planning is unpleasant.

As an extreme, but telling case in point, look at Jordan’s journey…He set a difficult goal, but one that he (and his family) was personally invested in. He not only thought that fulfilling his goal would be a feat, but he described a sense of passion and fulfillment that he got from the view at the top. Climbing, for him, is a lifestyle he embraces – not a chore he’s charged with. Jordan and his family have founded the “Find Your Own Everest” movement to encourage youth to set meaningful goals, but more importantly, to find that goal that matters to them.

So if you want the youth in your life to stick to a promise this year, start by sussing out their interests, not their shortcomings, and focus on helping them find what they love, not fix what’s wrong with them. Perhaps this should be the New Year’s resolution that every parent and organization embraces for 2012.  

Tags: research, Social Issues, play, outside, Youth, Teens, tweens

Trend Series Part 2: Posh Play Spaces

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 @ 09:53 AM

Summer may be behind us, but one of the patterns that emerged from popular culture during it may speak to insight that will continue to be relevant into the next year and beyond. In the midst of an ongoing economic crisis (in fact, during the very time period when the U.S. was at risk of going into default), some Americans made the dream of home ownership a reality for their kids…They’re not the live-in-my-basement-because-that-whole-get-a-job-after-college-thing-didn’t-work-out kids. Nor are they the bearers-of-my-first-grandchild kids. The recipients of these unhumble abodes are from the preschool set, but live a jet set lifestyle in their own backyards.

The “trend”: Parents paying the price so their kids can play house in style.playhouse

Where we’ve seen it: In our recent conference presentations on play, we’ve highlighted some of the innovation we’ve seen in playground plans over the past few years. Major cities have commissioned name brand architects to add style and substance to their newest playgrounds (New York’s Union Square and Brooklyn Waterfront Park), and the loose parts movement has made slides and monkey bars seem quite juvenile. The New York Times featured an article about the over-the-top backyard bungalows that are cropping up in the most prestigious neighborhoods across the country...Dwell Magazine dedicated not one, but two issues (July/August 2011 and September 2011) to well-designed play spaces that let the modern mom and dad capture the clean, cool aesthetic that, in some cases, they may not be able to infuse to the same degree into their own home. And audience savvy HGTV created a new show, My Yard Goes Disney, to give families who can’t seem to leave the Magic Kingdom behind a chance to experience Imagineering in their own backyard. Sure, these parents aren’t funding this fantasy, but they’re more than happy to give their green spaces over to designers and to their kids.

What it means: We don’t know if the mainstream American will shell out the kind of funds required for high-end houses like the ones from a company called Posh Tots, but we think this fringe habit might have a future in the lives of more than a few families. But what will it look like? Starter homes of the same styles featured by these mini villa vendors? A cottage industry (no pun intended!) of mini designer furniture – itty bitty Eames chairs or pint-sized spas? We think it could speak to needs and desires that constitute a formula for today’s families that can be applied to more than just costly kiddie casas…

  1. The elevation of environments. Today’s parents rarely see a space that they don’t think has a consequence on their child’s well-being – be it their ability to learn, stay healthy or cultivate good taste. Parents may be willing to splurge on the artwork in their child’s room before purchasing a piece de resistance for their own parlor. Schools – especially charter schools – tout the importance of an inspiring learning environment as a legitimate expenditure.
  2. The baby budget loophole.  For cost-conscious moms and dads, the desire to indulge might be easy to deny when it comes to their own wants. But perhaps parents who have repressed their own retail inclinations might be ready for a release – in the form of spoiling their kids. This may motivate parents who can’t afford an adult-sized luxury to make their kids feel like kings of their own castle. And it might mean that a gift that makes parents feel like a hero to their tween or teen makes for a justifiable expense when the budget doesn’t really allow it.
  3. The return to home as habitat. With the real estate market (and every other market) less than predictable, homeowners, and especially families, might return to the notion of home as a place to live, not a sure-fire investment. To appeal to this nesting family, look for ways to make home feel more like a retreat…Foods that feel less like fuel-on-the-go, and more like a restaurant experience in their own dining room. Look for ways to help mom and dad model and re-model their kids’ rooms, and perhaps give them ways to teach their children an appreciation for design at the same time. And provide them with affordable ways to make their play spaces fantastic.
  4. The trickle-down effect of adult aesthetics. Instead of aging up kid culture (think Kidult), we think the pendulum has swung back in the other direction. We’ve already seen fashion find muses in the littlest stars (check out any celebrity magazine and you’re sure to see significant real estate given to Suri Cruise’s shoes or Kingston Rossdale’s hairdos). We already have sushi play sets for the littlest sous chefs. Across any category, look for high-end options to find an audience among a sub-set of parents who want to translate their aesthetic aspirations to a smaller scale.

Tags: kids, play, parents, outside, Youth, trends