Playing Outside at Night with Your Kids

night play We tend to think of playing outside as something that is really only a daytime thing, but it’s NOT! Playing outside is fun at night too. Being outside at night has a magical quality, it makes everything seem even more special. Things look different when the light is different. There are different animals and different sounds. For some kids, this can be a bit scary, but by going out with them and spending some quality family time, you’ll allay many of those fears and help them to feel confident. Conquering a fear is a big deal for any of us, by most especially for kids who will learn to define themselves by their courage rather than by their weaknesses.

Another important point is that many kids miss out on family time with the deluge of activities and homework that they face. By participating in some outdoor fun at night, kids are able to get that family time and that exercise in even after they’ve finished their homework.

Night Safety

First off, a few safety tips. It’s important that kids wear good shoes that cover their feet so that they don’t get poked by unseen branches or rocks. One stubbed toe can ruin the fun. Also, make sure that kids are wearing plenty of layers if it’s chilly and beware of playing these games in inclement weather like snow or ice, or even on a wet night. The darkness will hide slick spots and again, one bad tumble can turn a night of fun into a disaster.

You might also consider getting everyone a headlamp to wear so that they can always see where they’re going. Check out this safety gear ideas and be sure to get something that works for your family!

NameImage
 Pack of 4, BYBlight Super Bright 9 LED Mini Aluminum Flashlight with Lanyard 
Yalumi LED Headlamp

 

 
 Energizer Girl’s Disney Princess LED Headlight 
 Coghlan’s 237 Bug-Eye Headlight for Kids 

Night Games

Classic nighttime outdoor activities like hunting for fireflies and watching the stars are fun, but there are so many other great ways to get kids (and parents) up and moving under the night sky. Here are some ideas.

1.  Flashlight tag

This is exactly what it sounds like. One child has a flashlight and tags the others by shining the light beam on them. If you get tagged with the beam, you’re out! The last child (or adult) left gets to hold the flashlight next.

NameImage
 Dorcy 190-Lumen High Flux LED Cyber Light Flashlight 

2. Pirate’s Footsteps

One player is the “pirate” and then each other player sneaks quietly up to that player to steal a piece of “treasure” next to them. The idea is that if the “pirate” hears footsteps, then he or she shines a light to catch the thief. Whoever gets a piece of “treasure” and then makes it back to base, which is determined before the game. “Treasure” can be literally anything that can be easily picked up, from baseballs to measuring cups to scarves or a mixture.

3.  The Hunt for Blinky

This one is so simple but so much fun! Put mini, battery operated lights into plastic eggs and hide them all around the yard. Kids will love to go on a “blinky” hunt! Bonus: drop them into a jacket or hoodie and it’s double the fun as kids are blinking themselves!

NameImage
 Plastic Jumbo Pastel Eggs – 12 Pack 
 HOSL 40 Pack Multicolor LED Submersible Waterproof Mini Blinking Lights 

4.  Shadow Puppets

So much more fun outside! Try making puppets against all kinds of backdrops and with all kinds of objects. Rakes and shovels can take on new life. Use the side of the house or a sheet pinned onto the clothesline.

NameImage
 Moulin Roty Les Petittes Merveilles Nighttime Shadows Castle 
 Mudpuppy Dinosaur Planet! Shadow Puppets 
 The Art of Making Shadows: Create 100 Creatures 

5.  Paint the Night

This is exactly what it sounds like. One child has a flashlight and tags the others by shining the light beam on them. If you get tagged with the beam, you’re out! The last child (or adult) left gets to hold the flashlight next.

NameImage
 Astro Glow Non-Toxic Glow in the Dark Paint 
 Glow in the Dark Paint – Premium – Aqua Blue 
 DecoArt DS50-3 Glow-in-the-Dark Paint 

Kids get excited when it’s time to go outside and play in the dark! You’ll find that your children are ready to go and that everyone has a great time. Remember that you don’t have to commit to hours of outdoor play, you can keep it to just ten or fifteen minutes and still get all the benefits. Or of course, you can make a whole night of it and enjoy tons of “bonus” family time.