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Now that the weather is getting nicer, my kids are outside a lot more. We are fortunate enough to live in an area that has a lot of kids. We live in a Townhouse and almost all of our neighbors have kids. We have a large field beside our home where all the kids gather to play. They always have a great time playing with each other. But there is something special about night games. When it’s dark outside, that’s when the really fun games begin. Here is a list of some of the games our kids play when it gets dark outside.
*Disclaimer: DO NOT let your kids play night games in an area that has a lot of traffic. Make sure they have a large field or backyard to play in that is away from roads. There should always be an adult supervising.
1. Flashlight Tag: One person is “it”. They have a flashlight. Everyone runs away from “it” while “it” counts to 10. Then “it” runs around and tries to find everyone. Once you are caught in the light of the flashlight, you are caught. The last person to be “tagged” by the light wins and the person that was tagged first is “it” next. These are our favorite flashlights because they have a wrist strap so the kids can run and won’t drop them!
2. Ghost in the Graveyard: Basically this is a game of reverse hide-and-go-seek. Select a pair of players to be ghosts. They go and hide somewhere in the playing area (they should hide together for safety reasons; however, if you have older kids, they can hide on their own). While they are hiding, the rest of the group gathers at the “home” or “safe” area, closes their eyes and counts (loudly), “One, o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock…” all the way up to “Midnight!”. Then the kids fan out through the playing area, looking for the ghosts. If a player spots one of the ghosts, she yells “Ghost in the graveyard, run, run, RUN!” This warns all the kids to race back to the safe area. At the cry of “ghosts in the graveyard”, the ghosts, too, are free to move and chase the players. Anyone they tag becomes a ghost in the next round. So in the first round of the game you only have one or two ghosts, but as the game progresses, you may have many ghosts all at the same time. Regardless of which ghost is spotted first, once a player yells “Ghost in the graveyard, run, run, RUN!”, ALL the ghosts are free to run. This is one of the elements that makes this game scary, since a player could be concentrating on a ghost she can see, only to turn around and find another ghost emerging from a hiding spot! I prefer to play it right at dusk. The changing light makes for a suitably creepy ambiance, but it’s still possible to see tripping hazards in the playing area.
3. Sardines: If you are playing with young kids, it is best for this game to make sure all the players have a buddy, especially when playing in an unfamiliar area. Send one pair of kids out to hide, while the rest count to 50. Then the pairs must hunt around to find the ones who are hiding. When a pair comes across the hidden kids, they hide right along with them. Once again, there is the possibility of ending up with ten to twenty people all hiding in the same place! When everyone has found the group start over again. The pair that found the hiding pair first gets to hide next time.
4. Shadow Puppets. When the kids are ready for a break, have them find a large flat surface, like the side of a house and have them shine a flashlight or a large work light on the wall. Then have the kids see what kind of shadows they can create with their hands and bodies and have them make up a story to go along with the shapes.
5. Firefly. This game should be played with a small pocket flashlight so that the beam is not too easy to spot. One person is selected to be the firefly and hides outside in the dark, away from the rest of the players. After counting to 20 everyone goes in search of the firefly, who is constantly moving around from hiding spot to hiding spot. Every 60 seconds, the firefly must quickly flick her flashlight on and off. When she is caught the game is over and a new firefly is appointed.
6. Glow Stick Volleyball. Everyone gets 4 glow stick bracelets. You can buy 100 for about $9 for parties. One for each wrist and one for each ankle. Using a beach ball, (I love these balls for this game)break some glow sticks and break them to make them glow. Insert the glow sticks into the blow hole of the ball. They should slide in easily. Blow up the ball and have fun keeping the ball off the ground by passing it back and forth to each other. Kids are not allowed to catch and throw the ball, it has to be hit, like they are playing volleyball. You can also play it like a real volleyball game if you have a net. I would suggest getting at least 2 or 3 balls since sometimes the kids try to kick the ball and it pops.
7. Wave. This game is better played at dusk when you can still see each other. One person is it and everyone goes off to hide. “It” counts to 50 and then goes and tries to find the hiding kids. The hiding kids can move spots as they sneak away from the person who’s “it”. If “it” finds someone he calls out their name. The person who’s name was called has to follow the person who’s “it”. While they are walking around looking for other kids, if the person who following “it” secretly gets waved to by another hiding child, they can sneak away from the person who’s “it” and go and hide again. Once someone’s name is called 3 times, they are “it” and the game continues.
8. Star Gazing. If you don’t live in a brightly lit city, the kids can star gaze. Especially during a meteor shower. Have the kids try to find constellations or make pictures out of the stars. Get out your warm blankets and lay out on the grass. This would be a fun break in between more active games. You can use this fun Star Navigator to help you locate constellations during certain times of the year. Click on the image to go to the web site. (affiliate link)
9. Outdoor movie night. Get out your projector, set up a white sheet or use a portable movie screen and play your favorite kids movie for the neighbor kids. Have everyone bring treats to share and have a fun time out in the fresh air.
10. Fugitive. This game is for older, more mature kids. Get from point A to point B without being captured by the ‘cops’. Out of all night games, Fugitive requires the most space; 2-5 miles is ideal. Before starting the game, choose two drivers to be the ‘cops’. Starting at point A, the ‘cops’ give the rest of the players (the fugitives) a minute’s head start to start their way, on foot, to a predetermined destination. The cops are equipped with flashlights and roam the streets searching for the fugitives as they run and hide their way to point B. If a fugitive is captured by the cops, they then aid in the search for the remaining fugitives. As far as boundaries, playing in teams or not, whether or not cops can leave the car or not, and if a time limit is enforced are rules decided by the players, and can make the game more interesting. The winner is the first fugitive to get to point B.
Remember, safety is the number one priority. Make sure the kids have a set boundary and they know that roads are off limits. Also, make sure smaller kids have buddies that they go and hide with.
Head out and play with your kids and have a great family night together. You will build lasting memories for your kids.
Enjoy the warm weather!