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Outdoor Night Games with kids


When given the opportunity, kids love to be outside, especially at night!  Kids want to be active, and nighttime brings activity to a whole new exciting level.


My husband is great about taking the kids and their friends out at night to supervise, and the kids love it.  So, what kind of night games do we play?

  • Kick the Can  Like Hide and seek, and running mixed.  Person that’s IT counts, everyone else hides.  As the IT person looks for hiders, hiders can come out and run back to the can before they get spotted.  If they are spotted and tagged, they are out.  If they can get to the can before the finder tags them, they are safe.
  • Ghost in the graveyard  Everyone counts while.  one person hides (the ghost).  Then the group starts looking for the ghost.  When someone finds the Ghost, that person will yell, “Ghost in the graveyard“, while everyone tries to run home before they are tagged by the ghost.  If someone gets tagged before they get home, they are it.
  • Flashlight sardines  Everyone counts- one person hides.  When you find the hider, you hide with them. The last person to find the group hiding, becomes ‘it’ next time
  • Flashlight hide and go seek.  Regular hide and seek.  My sister in law brought the kids glow bracelets and glow necklaces to wear during our night games.
  • Capture the Flag-  Have two teams.  Each team tries to steal the other teams planted flag before getting tagged.  A BIG field is helpful in this one.  The “flag” could be anything- but something visible like a glow stick might be helpful.

Some interesting things I learned at my son’s 5th grade Star gazing night.  It takes 30 minutes to get 2/3 of your vision at night.  Meaning, when you first step outside, it’s hard to make out images, stars, shapes, etc.  But after 30 minutes, you can literally see most things, and even tell who people are.  It is really true!

What night games do you remember growing up, or that your kids play today?

Flashlight tag: Everyone has a partner.  Each partnership decides on a flashlight signal.  At once, all partnerships separate to opposite sides of field.  The first team to be reunited (by following your planned signal) wins.


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I love this post and night games! Sometimes I wish my kids didn’t go to bed at 7 pm. It would be nice to have some fun with them outside after it cools down, but they are super cranky if I keep them up much later.

So fun! I remember doing all of those as a kid. But, my son hasn’t really done any yet, as he’s an early to bed kind of kid. Might be worth a late night or two, though.

I remember playing night games when I was younger. Particularly Ghosts in the Graveyard. I also remember the police coming by and telling us all to go home. 🙂 Fun times. 🙂

You know, Studio 5 did a segment on this a little while ago. It was more on what she called a “Glow Light Party Night” where you play games using glow sticks and things like that. It looked fun. Here’s the link: http://studio5.ksl.com/?sid=11570050&nid=54

Oh, this post brought back memories from my childhood. We lived on an Air Force Base so there wasn’t much traffic. We played night games with the kids in the neighborhood (and my parents!) almost every night in the warm weather. We played all the ones you listed–our favorite being Kick the Can. So fun!!

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I grew up with the tug of rope and tag and I recently bought one for my kids from https://mindful-engineering.com/collections/shop
they really have great kid friendly games if anyone is interested.
I love the glowstick idea! My kids played the Ghost in the Graveyard during one of their slumber parties and had a blast. Time to have another one to try out the rest of the games!

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That was a really interesting post and I agree, night time is one of the best time to play creative games like these. Thanks for sharing the list with us, enjoyed reading it a lot!

All The games mentioned are pretty interesting. Ghost in The Graveyard is little scary but fun level is at the next level. Definitely it is important to play games at least on Holidays to keep yourself fit. Thanks for sharing!!!

Loved the explanation of each game. So adorable. Very true that the kids wish to be adventurous at night and the games mentioned here play a great role in it. Thank you for the post.

Wow! Such a great ideas! I’m sure you all have so much fun together. I love your post and I enjoyed reading it. I wish I could try playing at night with my kids.

Keep up the good posting.

We play a game called “crud I lost my keys” for lack of a better name. This game is usually played in the dark. To play we have an object (the darker, the harder) the size of a fist, and a person that is not playing hides it somewhere in the yard while the players aren’t looking. Then the players try to find the object, and when someone does find it, they have to hold it above their head and scream while running to a “base” that can be any distinct place (we use the door or the fence). If they get there without being tagged, they win. If not, they must throw the object in any direction so it can be found by another player. It’s a fun game to play with smaller groups.