23 Things Meant For Kids That Adults Have Taken Over and “Ruined”

Kids’ stuff and adult stuff are usually different, but it seems that the grown-ups have gotten it all mixed up and taken over the joys that were meant for pure, innocent kids.


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Yes, animated TV shows have already grown up, but cartoons themselves have seen their own shift. What were once straightforward and entertaining animations have now evolved to incorporate sophisticated layers of satire and cultural commentary, often aimed at an adult audience. 

Take The Ren & Stimpy Show for example. Though it aired on Nickelodeon—a network geared towards children—the show featured content that was violent, disturbing, and vulgar, clearly indicating it was not just for kids. 

Ice Cream Trucks

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The music of an ice cream truck once brought kids running, coins in hand, ready for a frosty treat. Now, gourmet ice cream trucks cater to adult eaters with artisanal flavors and premium prices. 

Sure, salted caramel bourbon ice cream is delicious, but what happened to good old chocolate and vanilla?

Children’s Books


Even children’s literature isn’t immune. The market is seeing an influx of adult-themed parodies of classic kids’ books. 

While humorous for adults, these versions are definitely not bedtime story material, creating a niche that strays far from the original, innocent audience.

Video Games


Originally conceived as light entertainment for children, video games have significantly evolved, now predominantly appealing to adult players. Today’s games often incorporate realistic graphics, mature themes, and elements such as violence and gore. 

What’s more, the gaming world has adopted microtransactions and competitive esports, which add a layer of seriousness and potential stress that starkly contrasts with the simple joys younger audiences once found in these games.

Breakfast Cereals


Breakfast cereals have undergone a significant transformation—from being the sugary staple of a child’s morning to catering to adult cravings for a morning boost and a dash of nostalgia. 

It’s now common to see a muscular man enjoying Tootie Fruities Cereal with milk for breakfast, and even debating whether to add the cereal or milk first! 

Comic Books

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Comic books, a staple of youthful imagination, have seen a notable transformation as adults have come to dominate this space. The vibrant tales of superheroes and fantastical journeys have matured into graphic novels filled with complex narratives and darker themes—so not kid-friendly!

While many adults appreciate this evolution, others yearn for the straightforward, kid-friendly comics of the past.

Theme Parks

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Theme parks, once the epitome of childhood enchantment, have seen a surge in adult participation. With the introduction of “adult nights” featuring alcoholic beverages and special activities, these venues now cater as much to adults as they do to kids. 

This trend has occasionally led to exuberant adult behavior that clashes with the wholesome, family-oriented vibe these parks originally promoted.

Halloween Costumes


Halloween—once a festival of innocent trick-or-treating and homemade costumes—has seen a shift toward intricate, sometimes overly mature costume designs aimed at adults. 

The spooky season now showcases elaborate get-ups and themed parties that often overshadow the simple joys of dressing up for kids. While fun for grown-ups, it’s tough competition for a child’s ghost costume made from a white sheet!



Pajamas have shifted from simple sleepwear for kids into a trendy fashion statement for adults. The onesie—a cozy staple for toddlers—has found its way into adult wardrobes, appearing in everything from casual home gatherings to themed parties. 

While they’re fun and comfy, is it normal now to see grown-ups dressed as giant pandas at the supermarket?

Snack Foods

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Remember when snacks were just a quick bite between playtimes? Now, gourmet versions of childhood snacks have emerged and are catering to adult tastes and wallets. 

Chips and candies now come in exotic flavors like truffle or wasabi, often priced beyond a child’s modest allowance. While these snacks might satisfy sophisticated consumers, they stray far from the simple pleasures of a plain, probably cheap milk chocolate bar…



Stickers were once a beloved reward in classrooms and a fun way to decorate. Now, they’ve become a collector’s item and a form of artistic expression among adults. 

High-end stickers are traded and sold like art pieces, often featuring intricate designs and limited releases. Kids might still love them, but the stakes (and prices) are definitely higher now.



Toys are no longer just child’s play. 

The growing popularity of adult collectors has transformed action figures and dolls from playthings into high-value collectibles. This shift has made some toys so pricey and scarce that they’re out of reach for many children.



From vinyl figures to limited edition memorabilia, the world of collectibles has exploded with items targeting nostalgic adults. 

These items often command high prices and are snapped up by enthusiasts rather than played with by children.

Coloring Books


Remember the days of crayons and simple coloring books? Now, there’s a whole genre of “adult coloring books” featuring complex designs and mandalas aimed at reducing stress. 

While it’s therapeutic, it kind of hijacked the crayon box that was once solely for the kids.



LEGO sets have undergone a sophisticated makeover, with kits like the Star Wars Millennium Falcon or the Hogwarts Castle appealing more to adult hobbyists than to the children for whom they were originally intended. 

These complex sets might come with a hefty price tag and also require a level of patience and skill that is way beyond what many children possess.



Those wild jungle gyms and swings weren’t only designed for kids to burn off some energy before bedtime. These days, you might find adults taking over, engaging in calisthenics and parkour in these spaces. 

This “trend” adds a fitness twist to traditional playgrounds, but it can sometimes limit the space available for its original users—children just looking to enjoy a slide and have some fun.

Bubble Gum


Bubble gum is not just for blowing bubbles anymore… 

Now, it’s infused with everything from caffeine to nicotine, made to cater to adults looking for a chew with a kick. The bubble gum of the past—vibrant and sweet—now shares shelf space with options that pack not-so-kid-friendly flavors. 

Saturday Morning Cartoons


What used to be a ritual of waking up early to watch cartoons has been repurposed as nostalgia-fueled programming that caters to adult reminiscences more than children’s entertainment. 

The networks might love the broader appeal, but kids have lost their exclusive claim to Saturday mornings.



Backpacks have gone from schoolyard staples to high-fashion items. Designer brands have reimagined this practical carryall into something you might see on a runway rather than just the school bus. 

Prices of backpacks have soared, and their designs have evolved to cater more to adults than kids, featuring mature and edgy aesthetics. Perhaps backpacks are no longer for carrying books but for making a fashion statement. 

Amusement Park Rides


Amusement park rides were the thrill of childhood summers. Now, they’re engineered for extreme experiences, targeting thrill-seeking adults with names like “The Giga Coaster” or “Sky Scream.” 

While intense amusement park rides offer a thrill to adrenaline seekers, they can overshadow the simpler pleasures of a merry-go-round or a slow-moving train ride through a fairy tale landscape.

Board Games


Board games were the go-to for family game night, right? Now, there’s a growing market of games designed with complex rules and themes geared toward adult game nights. 

While some might enjoy the strategic depth, others miss the days of simple fun with games like “Candy Land.”

Fairy Tales


Fairy tales, those bedtime staples that guaranteed sweet dreams with their magical endings, have taken a dark turn. 

Adapted into movies and TV shows, these tales are now steeped in complex, often grim themes that cater more to adult audiences than the wide-eyed children they were meant to enchant. 

School Supplies


School supplies like notebooks and pens were once basic necessities with splashes of fun cartoon characters. 

Today, they’ve become trendy accessories emblazoned with luxury brand logos and eco-friendly claims, often priced well beyond a child’s (or parent’s) budget. It seems even the humble pencil case isn’t immune to a grown-up makeover!

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