One of the characteristics I admire most about the Gen Z-millennial cusp is the desire to grow. We’re always attempting to find ways to better ourselves and the spaces that exist around us. A recent self-love trend of creating or recreating experiences from our childhoods has been circulating on the FYP on TikTok. This trend includes buying that polar bear Webkinz you could never have or building the biggest blanket fort you’ve ever dreamed of. This trend is wholesome and beautiful, and I continue to love every bit of it.
Most of this generation had to grow up earlier than expected. Who says we can’t go back and create those moments we deserved as kids, but never had the chance to genuinely experience? If you’re part of those who missed such meaningful memories, here are some activities to help heal your inner child.
To begin healing your inner child, start with the easiest and least expensive experience: online gaming. It has recently come to my attention that people are unaware of the site Cool Math Games. If you are one of those few, I want you to forget about reading the rest of the article and play around on the site immediately!
Cool Math Games was the website my school considered educational but definitely wasn’t. Cool Math Games is like the gateway drug to all online games, and we couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve never seen kids finish their schoolwork so fast just for a chance to play some favorites such as B-Cubed, Bloxorz or any of Papa’s food joints. Even if you’re experiencing Cool Math Games for the first time, it still offers the nostalgic feel of other old gaming sites.
While Cool Math Games is fun, it wasn’t the only popular gaming site around. Another unique website was the world of Poptropica, widely considered a history fan’s version of Disneyland. It’s a game where you travel around the world while traversing through time with an avatar of your choice. Think of it as a more educational Club Penguin. You get to meet monumental people from the past such as Amelia Earhart and help save them from some disastrous, historical “what if” scenarios.
Now, if you’re willing to spend some money, investing in a Webkinz is an excellent way to heal your inner child. Owning one of these pets was an addiction in and of itself. Once you bought one, you bought them all. Webkinz are stuffed animals that come alive with the magic of the internet.
When computer games finally start to become too much, the next activity for healing your inner child is buying the toys you’ve always dreamed of. If you aren’t buying Kinetic Sand to play with in your early 20s, are you really living life to the fullest? The answer is no, so buy some right now.
Across the world wide web, people have purchased their favorite or most longed-for childhood toys. It’s exciting to watch people get that sparkle in their eyes as if it’s Christmas morning. To not only have your expectations met but to surpass whatever hype you’ve built up over all these years transforms into a sense of peace once you’ve connected all the pieces of the puzzle to your childhood. However, I think it would be just as fun experiencing an unexpected disappointment in this scenario.
A case in point: Squirmles. When I was younger, all my friends owned those Squirmles advertised on TV. I did get one as a kid, but long after everyone else already had one. In my head, I was getting a magical worm friend that would be able to scurry up and down my arms. On the day I received the toy, I was livid to find out it was just a cheap pompom on a string. “This is what everyone was raving about?” I asked myself. I was so angry that all my friends had kept this deep, dark secret from me. I believe if this happened today, you might be disappointed, but at least you would know that you never really missed out on much.
Other activities to help heal your inner child are visiting places we loved as children. As kids, we begged to go to places like Chuck E. Cheese. We can’t relive those same memories since it’s not socially acceptable to go to Chuck E. Cheese without having a niece or nephew to drag along; however, we can go somewhere similar. Dave and Buster’s is basically a Chuck E. Cheese but for people in their 20s. They have those familiar games that take us down memory lane while incorporating newer games that are either popular on consoles or based on apps we have on our phones.
Build-A-Bear is another place where I’ve seen people heal their inner child. If you’ve never had the opportunity to do the silly ritual of kissing the heart as you jump on one leg before your bear is created, then that’s something you need to experience whenever you have the chance. It might feel lame in the moment, but it makes you feel like a kid again. It’s such a pure and innocent moment to have. Try other things too — even if the place is as simple as mini-golf or laser tag, go do it. There are so many places my friends would go to on a weekly basis in their childhoods that I had never — to this day — experienced even once.
Our generation gets so caught up in plans for the future that we forget that there are small things we can do to show ourselves self-love in the present. There are things from our childhood that still exist today. We don’t need to feel embarrassed about wanting to experience them or for wanting to create happy memories we never got to have. Maybe things weren’t perfect when we were younger, but it’s never too late to make something positive out of it.