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Outdoor Night Game Ideas for Kids and Teens

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Kids love to be outside in the summer when the weather is nice. Night games are perfect for kids to be active outdoors out of the heat of the day. Keep reading for some great ideas for teens and older kids to bring activity to a whole new exciting level with these night games!

kids playing night games outdoors

Best Night Games for Kids and Teens

These games are best played in the dark. Did you know that it takes 30 minutes to get 2/3 of your vision at night.  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. 

  • Kick the Can. This game is kind of like hide and seek, and running mixed.  The. person that is it counts, and 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 and 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. Divide into 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.
  • 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.
  • Glow Stick Volleyball. Give each player 4 glow sticks, one for each wrist and one for each ankle. Crack some extra glow sticks to make them glow and insert them into the hole of a beach ball, then blow the ball up to capacity. Players then play volleyball like normal.
  • Firefly. This game should be played with a small flashlight so that the light 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.
  • Fugitive. This game is best for older kids. The point of the game is to get from point A to point B without being captured by the ‘cops’. 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. You will have to decide if you are 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.
  • Fish and Minnows. Identify who will be the shark(s), either a player or the leader. Everyone else will be minnows. The shark stands in the middle of the play area and says,”Fishy, fishy, come out and play.” The minnows slowly walk towards the sharks. At any time, the shark can yell, “Shark attack!” At which point, the minnows must run to the opposite boundary line without being tagged. If a minnow is tagged, s/he also becomes a shark. When there is only one or two minnows left, they become the sharks in the next round.

Have fun and remember to be safe!

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

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21 Comments

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.

Thanks for the article you posted on outdoor night games with kids. We loved it and are excited to try out some of the games!