It’s really fun finding things to do outside with the kids and grandkids during the day, especially as the weather warms up in the Spring or the weather cools down in the fall. And while daytime activities are plentiful, sometimes it’s not as easy to come up with things to do during twilight or evening hours so I created a list of possibilities.
Here’s a quick run down of the activities. If you need more instructions…keep reading! Plus don’t miss two fun bonus ideas at the end!
1. Flashlight tag: this one is simple enough. One child gets to be “it”… the others run around like crazy trying to avoid getting “hit” by the light. Whoever is “hit” by the light is out, (unless, of course, they make it to “base”.) This continues until every kid is out. Last one out is “it” and game play starts all over.
2. Flashlight Limbo: This one works best with a smaller flashlight with a more streamlined beam. Just like regular limbo, the goal is to go under the Limbo light without touching it. Touch the light and you’re out! Play the song “Limbo Rock” in the background for even more fun!
3. Catch & Chase the Light: This is the reverse of Flashlight tag. In this version of the game the person who is “it” tried to avoid the other players who are trying to “catch the light”. No rules here they can jump in front of it or catch it with their head, hands feet etc. you may want to have a referee handy to make sure they kids are playing safely and there’s no cheating.
4. Chase & Catch each other’s Shadows: Every player will need a flashlight for this one. Players create shadows of other players and do their best to “catch” them. Again, just like Catch the Light it doesn’t matter how they “catch” them so long as some part of their body is touching a shadow. This would also make a great game for teams. Teams can strategize the best way to capture their opponent’s shadows.
5. Shadow Puppets: I remember being a kid and my mom or dad would make shadow animals on the wall. I found it so fascinating. Fast forward many years later and children everywhere are still fascinated by these fun and simple to do hand puppets. A simple search online for “shadow puppets” will reveal websites and videos to help you.
6. “Spooky Faces”: Using a flashlight, make spooky faces around a campfire while telling scary stories. Just hold the flashlight under your chin and let the shadows dance on your face.
7. “Shadow Theater”: Use a white sheet strung from two opposite sides and place a lamp or large flashlight behind it. Anyone standing behind the sheet and in front of the lamp will create a shadow against the sheet. Let the kids experiment getting closer the lamp (which makes them appear bigger) and getting closer to the sheet(which makes them appear smaller). They can also create flat paper puppets and other shapes that will also appear
8. Glow Stick Hide and Seek: This one is a favorite of my grandkids and can keep them occupied for a very long time! Get a glow stick, the larger ones are best, and hide it somewhere in the yard and let them find it.
9. Glow Stick Dance Party: Have your own clean version of a “rave party”. This will be so much fun with different colored glow sticks as bracelets and necklaces worn stacked high. As a pre-party activity let the kids make their own t-shirts using glow in the dark fabric paint. add even more fun to the party with non-toxic glow-in-the-dark powders they can toss at each other while dancing around. Hook up the music and watch the magic happen!
10. “Hot Peas and Butter”: Before the game begins, ask the children to pick an area that will act as Homebase. Then, just like Glow Stick Hide and Seek, this game requires that the stick is hidden by the person who is “it” while the other children look away. Once the stick is well hidden the person who is “it” yells- “Hot peas and butter come and get your supper!” The other kids come running and try to find the hidden glow stick. The person who is “it” lets them know how close they are by saying: “You’re cold” if they’re not even close or “You’re warm” if they’re getting closer. If a player is really close they say “You’re hot!”. This continues until a player finds the glow stick, now they’re “it”. The player then tries to tag another person to be “it” before everyone else gets to back to HomeBase.
11. Catch fireflies (then let them go): This one is relatively easy. I recommend clear plastic jars for the children’s safety and an adult can put some holes in the cap for air flow. Just make sure to let them go afterward since fireflies will not last in captivity.
12. Outdoor Movie Night: If you have a projector and a sheet, this one can be great fun for the whole neighborhood! If not, an inexpensive portable DVD player, a tablet, laptop or even a smartphone will do- as long as the family is together and cuddled up!
13. Make smores and share stories or songs around a campfire in the backyard: Making a backyard fire is relatively easy. If you’re not sure how to do it, a quick search will yield pages of how-to’s and you can even find some on Youtube. Be sure to check with your city’s ordinances on open fires before you begin. If you are able to make a fire, be sure to follow safety precautions – especially when dealing with children. I also suggest that before you begin to make your smores that you prepare by creating individual baggies filled with the smores ingredients (Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers) ahead of time or if you’d prefer, just fill the baggies with marshmallows to roast. The individual baggies keep arguing to a minimum (because everything is distributed equally.) Although part of the fun is finding your own stick, you may want to have roasting sticks ready to go. Remember, little ones will need adult supervision with this one. Enjoy!
14. Glow in the dark bowling, basketball, soccer, or volleyball ( be creative): These days it’s not too hard to find glow-in-the-dark sports balls, but if you can’t there’s always glow in the dark paint! you can even get packs to colored glow sticks and each team can be their own color. Go ahead, get your favorite ball and have some fun!
15. *Stargazing* or a Constellation/Planet Hunt: Laying in the grass, or on a rooftop, looking up at the stars is fun all by itself – I know – I do it often. You can add to the fun by learning about the constellations and the planets (Venus, being the brightest) then together go on a “hunt” for them! Make it fun…first one to find 5 wins a snacky prize!
16. “Capture The Flag” Game: One of my kids favorite game to play is Black Ops on the computer. One year we decided to make the game come to life “Capture the Flag” style. You’ll need two teams and a base area for each of them. Make flags for your teams ( or let them do it themselves with some glow in the dark paint). Place flags in the center of “base” for each team. The flags should be visible. The goal is each team captures the other team’s flag. Whichever team accomplishes the goal first – Wins! The way to add a Black Ops twist is to add in some key elements: Water guns, water balloons(grenades). silly string (or a net) to capture opponents and flashlights or glow sticks to act as light bombs ( to temporarily freeze opponents.) Discuss the rules before game play then Capture that Flag!
17. Do a Nature Walk: Ever notice how the neighborhood looks completely different at night? Night time is a neat way to show the kids the difference. Nighttime is also a unique time to listen for animal sounds or look for nocturnal animals because there are animals that are rarely seen or heard during the day.
18. Nighttime Hide & Seek: Just like regular Hide and Seek, except this game is best played in a closed in area where it is safe for children to wander around and hide. If your backyard or your neighbor’s backyard has a bunch of trees or places to hide – go for it!
19. Nighttime “Marco Polo” (not in the pool): This is a fun variation on the summertime pool game “Marco Polo”. Blindfold whoever is “it”. The other players all hide. The person who is “it” calls out, “Marco” and the other players call out “Polo” in an attempt to help the blindfolded person find them. The first person found and captured is now ‘it’ and gameplay restarts. Be sure to remove any debris or large items in the area to keep the child tagged as ‘it’ safe from injury.
20 Nighttime Treasure Hunt: Using glow in the dark items, (simple toys painted with glow in the dark paint or wrapped in glow sticks will work fine) hide them throughout your yard and invite the kids to come find them. You can take it a step further by creating a treasure map they can to follow to one big treasure- or- tie each item with string and wrap the string throughout the yard. Let the kids follow their string with a flashlight. This idea is great for birthday parties since at the end of the string they will find their treasure -a party favor bag, perhaps?
Bonus Idea #1: Sparklers!! Who doesn’t just love sparklers?! Whether you just let the kids hold them and dance around with them or get extra fancy with your camera and take pictures of them creating designs and words, sparklers definitely make for nighttime fun with kids!
Bonus Idea #2: Outdoor Painting! Our team learned first hand how much fun it can be to paint out side at night! Check it out here: “Moonlight Painting in the Park”©
We hope you enjoyed this! Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these ideas!