Get the family outside to enjoy some of these games to play at night. It’s a great way to get kids moving and enjoying nice weather.
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Summertime means longer days. When the sun sets later, there’s more time for fun outdoors in the daytime. And kids and teens will love being active after dark, especially if they’re used to an earlier bedtime during the school year.
With a little adult supervision, your children can enjoy playing these outdoor games at the next party or family game night. Playing outdoors at sunset or in the dark can help kids become more comfortable in the dark as well as practicing night vision and spatial awareness.
Most of these games and kids’ activities don’t require any prep. And you can play them with a small group of just your family, or invite friends over and play with a bigger group.
You may want to incorporate a few of these items into your nighttime games:
- mini flashlights
- glow-in-the-dark necklaces or bracelets
- tee-shirts decorated with glow-in-the-dark fabric paint
- outdoor solar lights
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Hide and seek
Lots of regular daytime kids’ games are even more fun in the dark! Play classic hide-and-seek outdoors and discover even more places to hide when it’s dark. One person is “it” and covers their eyes and counts to 30. Everyone else hides and when “it” gets to 30 they yell: ready or not, here I come! It searches for each person. The last person found is “it” for the next round.
Ghosts in the graveyard
Ghosts in the graveyard is sort of the opposite of hide and seek. One person is a ghost and hides. Everyone else searches for the ghost and when one person finds them, they yell “ghosts in the graveyard.” Everyone runs to a home base and the last person there is the next ghost.
Divide into 2 teams and give each team a flashlight. Take turns shining the spotlight on each team member for their turn. Like traditional charades, each person on a team takes a turn acting out a book, movie, or song without saying a word while their team guesses what it is.
Red light green light
Red light green light can be played with a flashlight, but it’s even better if you have 2 different colors. You can make your own colored flashlights by securing colored plastic wrap over a regular flashlight using a rubber band.
Choose one person to be “it” and have them stand with the lights. Everyone else lines up and tries to sneak up to the person. When the light is green, everyone goes. When it turns red, everyone stops. Anyone caught moving at a red light is out.
Tic tac toe
Make your own glow-in-the-dark sidewalk chalk with this recipe from Coffee Cups and Crayons. Then play tic tac toe by drawing on the sidewalk or driveway. Sidewalk chalk is also great for hopscotch and other sidewalk chalk games.
You can also use glowsticks to make your own glow bowling game, via Crafts by Amanda. Make a full set of 9 pins to play by the official rules, or keep it simple and make up your own rules to fit the ages of your kids.
All you need to make this simple glow-in-the-dark ring toss game at Passion for Savings is a set of plastic glow-in-the-dark necklaces and some household items.
Night at the Museum
Just like in the movie, everything comes to life after dark when you play Night at the Museum. Choose one person as the museum curator and give them a flashlight. Everyone else is a statue.
Have the curator stand away from the group and count down to zero. The rest of the kids should move around until the curator gets to zero, then freeze. Then the curator walks through the museum, inspecting the statues with the flashlight and trying to make them move or laugh. The last statue standing still wins.
Murder in the dark
Murder in the dark is a bit like a live-action version of the game Clue. One person is the murderer and everyone else must try to guess who it is. This is best played in the dark with an adult turning on and off a flashlight. Learn how to play Murder from WikiHow.
Any scavenger hunt game can be turned into an after-dark activity if you add a flashlight or play when the moon is big and bright. You may want to shorten the list or make sure all the items are in a smaller area so that kids can find them in the dark.
What’s more fun than telling stories around a campfire? Turn it into a game with the addition of a flashlight. Have everyone sit in a circle and give one person a flashlight. They start the story by saying, “once upon a time there was a …” and making up the rest of the sentence. Pass the flashlight around the circle with each person adding only one sentence to the story.
Follow this simple tutorial from A Few Shortcuts to make a set of glow-in-the-dark Wiffle balls. You can use them to play a regular Wiffle ball game or other games, like catch or cornhole.
Our favorite games to play at night are a fun way to change up family game night. These outdoor games are also perfect for a summer party, a neon birthday celebration, or to add some after-dark fun to a backyard camping adventure.
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