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Many people just assume that simply because The Hobbit is a lighter story than LOTR and the Silmarillion, it's a children's story, but I don't believe Tolkien himself ever said it was made for children.

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TL;DR: Yes.

In fact, it wasn't just written for children in general - it was written for Tolkien's own children.


Tolkien's own words:

The generally different tone and style of The Hobbit is due, in point of genesis, to it being taken by me as a matter from the great cycle susceptible of treatment as a ‘fairy-story’, for children.
- The Letters of JRR Tolkien, Letter #131

And:

The Hobbit was originally quite unconnected [to his Middle-earth legendarium], though it inevitably got drawn in to the circumference of the greater construction; and in the event modified it. It was unhappily really meant, as far as I was conscious, as a ‘children’s story’, and as I had not learned sense then, and my children were not quite old enough to correct me, it has some of the sillinesses of manner caught unthinkingly from the kind of stuff I had had served to me, as Chaucer may catch a minstrel tag. I deeply regret them. So do intelligent children.
- The Letters of JRR Tolkien, Letter #163

And:

When I published The Hobbit – hurriedly and without due consideration – I was still influenced by the convention that ‘fairy-stories’ are naturally directed to children (with or without the silly added waggery ‘from seven to seventy’). And I had children of my own.
- The Letters of JRR Tolkien, Letter #215


The Tolkien Society's words:

The Hobbit was originally a story Tolkien told to his children. In this form it was composed sometime between 1929 and 1936.

It was published in 1937.

It is described as a fantasy novel, a story of heroic quest, and a children's story.
- Tolkien Society's The Hobbit: An Introduction

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    Having read the Hobbit both as a child and as an adult with children, it definitely seems like it could have been a story told at bedtime. – corsiKa Apr 11 '16 at 16:19
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    "I deeply regret them. So do intelligent children." Sigh. People don't talk that way anymore. – isanae Apr 11 '16 at 16:37
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    "I deeply regret them. So do intelligent children." MY STORY ABOUT YOUNG MEN GOING ON A MAGICAL JOURNEY IS GROWN UP DAMMIT. – deworde Apr 12 '16 at 9:11
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    @deworde The story isn't about Men, but about dwarves, a wizard, a dragon, and a hobbit. At one remove in folds in Men, Elves, and Goblins. – KorvinStarmast Apr 12 '16 at 12:06
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    @KorvinStarmast The Hobbit is about a "Little Englander" from pastoral England going on an adventure. The Lord of the Rings is about 4 of them going to war. Just because he gave them hairy feet and halved their height, doesn't make the analogy not obvious. – deworde Apr 12 '16 at 12:18

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