A study reveals the top 50 things people miss from their youth

School holidays, birthday parties, and having someone else cook your meals, are among the things adults miss most from their childhoods, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 adults revealed 67 per cent yearn for their younger years with four in 10 admitting they consider them to be the best time of their lives.

Playing with Lego, the Sega Mega Drive and sitting down with a huge toy catalogue to write birthday and Christmas wish lists are also among the things people miss the most.

what the researchers found...

Childhood Nostalgia Overlay

The differences between generations

Interestingly, researchers found some differences between the generations too, with baby boomers admitting they long for the days of Enid Blyton books, Meccano and collecting stickers. Millennials, however, miss watching SMTV Live on a Saturday morning, playing on computer games consoles and being given party bags.

It also emerged 58 per cent of adults think it was better to be a child ‘back in the day’ as they had less of a reliance on technology to have fun.

Having weeks off school during the holidays was named the thing people miss most about their childhoods followed by hot summers, playing outside until the streetlights came on and not having to work.

Spending time with parents came fifth, along with family holidays and playing on the swings.

Having someone else to cook your meals for you, buying penny sweets which really did cost 1p and weekends with no chores or errands to run completed the top 10.

Childhood Nostalgia Overlay

Liz Penney, spokesperson for Hollywood Bowl which commissioned the research said:

“For many of us, our childhood marks a time of lots of fun and little responsibility leaving us with plenty of things to miss now we are grown up and have adult lives to lead.

“And that’s the beauty of having children – being a parent gives you an opportunity not only to relive some of the things you miss from your childhood, but also to watch as your own children experience them.

“Bowling is an ideal opportunity to create memories with your children doing something you loved as a child, and has the added benefit of meaning you don’t miss it as an adult.

“Whilst bowling has been popular for many generations, we’ve totally modernised our centres and have something to keep everyone entertained, whether it be bowling, arcade games or even a meal at our American style diner.”

Going bowling is among the top 50

Other aspects adults miss include celebrating childhood birthdays or going to birthday parties, having sleepovers and playing arcade games.

TV shows also feature in the list, with many looking back fondly on programmes such as ‘Live and Kicking’, ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ and ‘Knight Rider’.

Going bowling, having inflatables in the swimming pool and ball pits are also among the top 50.

The results showed some differences between the genders though with men more likely to miss the days of playing Bulldog, arcade games and collecting stickers, with women more likely to long for the days of sleepovers, having friends around for tea and birthday parties.

49 per cent would like to be able to relive their younger year

The study, carried out via, found 49 per cent would like to be able to relive their younger years, with the age of nine considered to be the best.

Almost half even plan to encourage their children to do some of their favourite things from when they were younger so they can share it with their offspring.

Liz Penney, added: “It’s interesting to see that half of the respondents plan on sharing their favourite childhood experiences with their children.

“The good news is, at Hollywood Bowl, we pride ourselves on being a great place for the whole family to spend quality time together.”

Top 50 things people miss from their childhood:

  • 1. School holidays
  • 2. Hot summers
  • 3. Playing outside with friends until the streetlights came on
  • 4. Not having to work
  • 5. Spending time with your parents
  • 6. Family holidays
  • 7. Going on the swings
  • 8. Having someone else cook your meals
  • 9. Penny sweets
  • 10. Weekends with no errands or chores to do
  • 11. Having someone else wash your clothes
  • 12. Celebrating your birthday as child
  • 13. Having a friend around to play/for tea
  • 14. Birthday parties
  • 15. Getting money from the tooth fairy
  • 16. Pocket money
  • 17. Enid Blyton books
  • 18. Sleepovers
  • 19. Having milk delivered to your door
  • 20. Lego
  • 21. Writing a Christmas/ birthday list from a toy catalogue
  • 22. Playing football in the park for hours
  • 23. Break time
  • 24. Water fights
  • 25. Making daisy chains
  • 26. Playing Tag
  • 27. Collecting stickers
  • 28. Party bags
  • 29. Playing Bulldog
  • 30. Playing arcade games
  • 31. Playing Stick in the Mud
  • 32. Roald Dahl books
  • 33. Meccano
  • 34. Sega Mega Drive
  • 35. Nickelodeon
  • 36. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
  • 37. SMTV Live
  • 38. Space hoppers
  • 39. Live and Kicking
  • 40. Going bowling
  • 41. Inflatables in the swimming pool
  • 42. Coco Pops or Golden Nuggets for breakfast instead of muesli or porridge
  • 43. Slush puppies
  • 44. Gladiators
  • 45. Ball pools
  • 46. Nintendo 64
  • 47. Soft play
  • 48. CITV
  • 49. Knight Rider
  • 50. Macaroni cheese

Sign up for exclusive VIP offers