21 Outdoor Night Games for Kids & Teens

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Do your kids sometimes have a lot of energy left at the end of the day? If so, then try one of these fun outdoor games that they can play at night – a perfect way to spend a warm summer evening!

kids with glow sticks for outdoor night games

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Sometimes kids have more energy than there is daylight – at least mine do! That’s why I love outdoor night games! Playing outside is always fun, but there is something extra special about playing games outdoors at night.

Helpful things to have for outdoor night games

Some of these ideas and games require nothing more than an open space and your kids, while others may need a few extra things in order to do. But whatever games you decide to play, your kids are sure to have a great time! Here are a few items that will come in handy for many of these outdoor night games and activities:

By this point you may be asking, “But what games can we play outside at night?!” If so, then here is a list of fun things to do outdoors when the sun goes down!

21 fun outdoor night games (and how to play each one)

At the end of this list you can find some safety related things to keep in mind as your kids play these games at night or in the evening.

1. Grandma’s (or Grandpa’s) Footsteps

One child is the Grandma (or Grandpa) and stands at one end of the playing area or field facing away from everyone else. The rest of the kids all line up at the opposite end of the playing area. Place a “treasure” (a glow stick, a small ball, or anything else small) next to Grandma/Grandpa. The goal is to quietly sneak up on Grandma/Grandpa, take the “treasure” and run back to the other end of the field before Grandma/Grandpa “wakes up.” When they wake up they turn around and shine their flashlight on anyone they see moving. If you are caught in the flashlight beam you have to go back to the starting line.

2. Flashlight Freeze Tag

A fun nighttime twist on the classic game of freeze tag! The person who is “it” has a flashlight and “tags” the rest of the players by shining their flashlight on them. If the child who is “it” gets you with their light, then you need to stop and freeze in place. You’ll need to stay frozen until another player comes by and taps you to unfreeze you. Once you’re unfrozen you can continue to play the game, trying not to get tagged by the light from the child who is “it.”

3. Museum Night Guard

My kids love this game! They have even played inside with the lights turned off, but it’s way more fun to play outdoors!

First, explain to the kids that you are in a museum after it has closed for the night. One child is the night guard (and has a flashlight) and the rest of the kids will be statues. Start off by having all of the statues freeze in their statue poses. It can be any fun pose they want or you can pick a theme before the game starts (like farm animals, dinosaurs, zoo animals, etc).

Once all statues are in frozen in place, the night guard walks around with their flashlight, shining the light on the statues one at a time. If the statue is caught moving, they are out (or for younger kids you may just let them stay in the game). When the night guard starts walking again, the remaining statues can move around or change poses.

You can either just keep playing like this (taking turns with who is the night guard), or you can play to have winners. If the night guard gets everyone out by seeing them move, then the night guard wins. If one of the statues can sneak up on the night guard without getting caught (by having the light on them), then that statue wins and now becomes the night guard.

museum exhibit of bones

4. Glow Stick Bowling

All you need for this fun outdoor night game are 10 glow sticks, 10 plastic water bottles (filled most of the way with water), and a small ball. Simply activate the glow sticks (by breaking them) and place one glow stick in each water bottle . Then set up the water bottle bowling pins and have fun rolling the small ball (or a glow stick ball if you can find one) to see how many “pins” you can knock over.

5. Ghost in the Graveyard

This game is a cross between tag and hide and seek. You first need to pick a spot as “home base” that everyone can fit in. Then one person who is the ghost has to go and hide within the playing area while all the other players turn and close their eyes. They then count to midnight starting with 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, etc (or count using regular numbers). When they count up to midnight (or whatever number you decide on) they say, “”Midnight, midnight, I hope I don’t see a ghost!” and all the played leave “home base” to try and find the ghost who is hiding.

The ghost has two ways to win. One is to stay hidden until someone spots them, then they can chase everyone and try to tag them. The second way is to come out of their hiding spot and tag the people walking close to them. They can also try to scare the other players by jumping out and tagging them if your kids are older and won’t mind being scared. If you have younger kids (or ones who don’t like being scared) you can still have fun playing this game in the evening when it is still a little light out instead of doing it in the dark.

The goal for all of the other players is to look for the ghost and when the spot them they yell “Ghost in the graveyard!” and everyone runs back to “home base” while trying not to get tagged by the ghost who can come out of their hiding spot and chase after the other people. They also need to be careful that the ghost doesn’t jump out of their hiding spot and tag them.

If the ghost catches/tags someone before they make it back to the safety of “home base” then that person becomes the ghost. If no one is caught, the last person who makes it back to “home base” is the new ghost. You can play this without flashlights, or you could give all the players (except the ghost) flashlights for a different variation of the game.

6. Nighttime Reflector Hunt

This is a simple, yet fun twist on an Easter egg hunt. Instead of hiding plastic eggs, you hide plastic reflectors around the playing area. Then, once it gets dark out, give everyone a flashlight and have them walk around, shining the light in order to find the hidden reflectors.

You can play it all together just for fun, have teams and see who can find the most reflectors, or time each person (or team) to see how long it takes them to find all of the hidden reflectors. However you decide to play, your kids are sure to have fun with this one!

7. Nighttime Egg Hunt

Here is another fun version of the classic Easter egg hunt. (It may also be easier for younger children to play this game instead of the reflector hunt one). For this game you only need plastic Easter eggs and battery operated tea lights. Just place the tea lights inside the eggs and hide them around your yard (or wherever you’re playing) for your child to find.

You can also paint the eggs with glow in the dark paint instead of using the tea lights. You would just need to “charge” the painted eggs ahead of time by making sure you leave them in the light before hiding them.

8. Sardines

This is sometimes called reverse hide and seek, because one person hides and everyone else has to seek. Once your kids know where the designated playing area is, one person has to go and hide while everyone else has to close their eyes and count to 50 (or whatever number you think is best for the size area you’re playing in).

They then say “Ready or not, here we come!” and start to look for the person who is hiding. Everyone splits up and goes their own way in search of the one person who is hiding. When they find the hidden person they quietly join them in their hiding spot.

Then when another player finds the people hiding, they too quietly join them and hide. Eventually there will be multiple people all hiding in one spot – packed in like sardines! The game continues until only one person, the seeker, is left looking for people. That person then becomes the one to hide in the next game.

You can also play this game in pairs. So two kids hide together while the rest of kids get into pairs and look for them. When a pair of seekers finds the pair of hiders, they join them in their hiding spot.

boy covering his face while standing to play hide and seek

9. Glow Stick Volleyball

Each player gets four glow stick bracelets (one for each wrist and one for each ankle). Then crack another glow stick and place it inside of a beach ball. Try to keep the beach ball in the air by hitting it like a volleyball.

If you have a volleyball net, you can use that. If not, just have fun trying to hit the ball back and forth to each other, trying not to let the ball hit the ground!

10. Statues

One person is “it” while all of the other players spread out and turn into statues. The person who is “it” walks around with their flashlight and when they get to a statue, they try to make them move or laugh. They can make funny faces, tell jokes or anything else they want, but they cannot touch the statues (and no shining the flashlight in their face!). If the statue laughs or moves, they’re out. The last statue left at the end then becomes “it.”

11. Capture the Flag

This outdoor night game is played the same way as the traditional capture the flag game, but with glow sticks instead of flags. Start by setting up a large space to play with two “home base” spots in separate places of your playing area. Then split the group of kids into two teams. Each team will get a different colored large glow stick to be their “flag.” They will also each get a glow stick bracelet that matches the color of their teams glow stick “flag.”

The game from here is played like the regular version of capture the flag. The objective is to capture the other team’s “flag” and get it back to your team’s home base without being tagged and put in “jail.”

When the game starts, players decide who will stay and guard their own flag and who will attempt to get the flag from the other team. If someone is tagged, they have to go to the other team’s “jail” (a predetermined spot on each team’s side of the playing area). They can only get out of jail by being tagged by another member of their own team.

When a child makes it to the other teams flag, they need to grab it and run back to their playing area without getting tagged. If they get tagged, they’re sent to jail and the flag gets returned back to the other team. A team wins when a player makes it back to their own side with other teams flag.

12. Glow in the Dark Frisbee

For this outdoor night game you can either buy light up frisbees (or glow in the dark flying rings), or make your own by painting regular frisbees with glow in the dark paint. Just remember to “charge” them first by leaving them in the light before you play!

Once you have frisbees or flying rings that light up or glow, find an open space and have fun playing a good old game of frisbee! My kids prefer the flying rings, but your kids might like frisbees better. Either way, they’re bound to have a great time!

a boy playing frisbee outside

13. Firefly

One person is picked to be the firefly. They take a small flashlight and find a hiding place within your playing area. The rest of the players close their eyes and count to 30 (or whatever number you’d like) while the firefly goes and hides.

The firefly can move around whenever they’d like while the other people try and find them. However, every 60 seconds or so the firefly must turn their flashlight on and off. They continue to do this every minute until someone finds them. That person then becomes the new firefly (or you can pick whoever you’d like to be the firefly).

14. Glow Stick Tag

This is like the classic game of tag, but with glow sticks so that it can be played in the dark! Each player gets two glow stick bracelets (if you have a lot of kids playing you can also do one bracelet per person). The person who is “it” puts the two glow sticks together to form one big circle. The rest of the players put the glow sticks into a regular sized bracelet and puts one bracelet on each wrist.

From here you play like a regular game of tag, where the person who is it tries to tag the other players. If you get tagged, you need to give the person who is “it” one of your bracelets. They then add that bracelet to their large glow stick circle.

Once you give the “it” person your bracelet you can run off again. When you lose both bracelets you are out of the game. The game is over when the person who is “it” has collected all of the glow stick bracelets.

15. Wave

This outdoor night game works better when it is still a little light out and not totally dark yet. The person who is “it” closes their eyes and counts to 30 (or whatever number you pick) while the rest of players run and hide. The person who is “it” then goes out to try and find everyone else.

The rest of the players can move around however they’d like, trying to sneak away from the person who’s “it.” If “it” finds a person, they need to say that players name out loud. That person must then come out of their hiding spot and follow “it” while they look for other hiders.

If the person who is following “it” sees another player wave to them, they can quietly sneak away from “it” and return to hiding again. If someone’s is found three times, then they become the new “it” person.

16. Kick the Can

Again this game might be a little easier if it’s not completely dark yet, but it can be played at night as well. You’ll need to place an object that can be kicked a distance (like an empty can, etc.) near the area you decide will be your “jail.”

The person picked to be “it” needs to kick the can (or whatever object you picked) while the other players all run and hide. “It” can start looking for people once they retrieve the can and place it in its original spot near the “jail.”

To capture a player, “it” needs to shout out that person’s name and hiding spot while touching the can. If they are correct, that player goes to jail. If they’re wrong the hider doesn’t have to go to jail and can find a new hiding spot if they’d like. Once “it” gets everyone in jail, a new “it” person is picked and the game starts over.

However, players can be freed from jail if another person gets to the can and kicks it before “it” gets there to kick it first.

17. Glow Stick Ring Toss

With just a few simple items, you can make your own glow stick ring toss game – perfect for nighttime fun! First you’ll need to poke a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup (big enough for a large glow stick to fit in). Tape the glow stick in place and set the cup in the space you’ll be playing.

Using glow stick necklaces as rings, you can toss them onto your large glow stick post and see who can get the most rings on.

18. Tapping Sticks Hide and Seek

This nighttime game is similar to firefly, but instead of the firefly flashing their light every 60 seconds, players need to tap sticks together. Each hider gets two sticks that they will tap together every 60 seconds or so. Then they all go and hide while the person who is “it” counts.

After counting, whoever is “it” (or you can have pairs of kids be “it” together) has to find the other players by listening to them tapping their two sticks together. The hiders can move around however they’d like, but every minute they need to tap their sticks together. The game ends when “it” finds everyone who was hiding.

19. Smugglers

You will need to divide your kids into two groups – the smugglers and the police. A “jewel” (some small item that will easily fit in one hand) is secretly given to one smuggler while everyone has their eyes closed. That person then needs to hold it in one hand so that no one else can see it.

Next, all of the smugglers go to one end of the playing area while the police go to the opposite end. The police then chase the smugglers, trying to tag them. When a smuggler is tagged, they must open both hands to show that they either have or do not have the “jewel.” If they have it, the police win and the game is over. The police now become the smugglers and the smugglers are now the police.

However, if the person tagged does not have the jewel, they are out and need to sit off to the side. While the smugglers are running around trying not to get tagged, they can hand the jewel from one teammate to another if they’d like. If there is only one person left to tag and they’re the smuggler with the jewel, then the smugglers win the game.

A variation to this game is to time each team to see who can recover/find the person with the jewel the fastest.

20. Laser Tag

This outdoor night game is one that is super fun, but does require equipment. You can get a two person set, four person set, or even sets for more people, but you will need these kits in order to play. Once you have these though, you can set up challenges, obstacles, or just play a regular game of laser tag!

21. Flashlight Limbo

A classic game with a nighttime twist! Instead of using a limbo stick, two people stand across from each other and hold flashlights so that the light beams form a line. You can turn on some fun music and let the limbo game begin – how low can you go?!

So there you have it – 21 fun outdoor night games that your kids and teens (and maybe even your whole family!) will enjoy playing together!

Safety first!

While these games are pretty safe to play, there are some things to keep in mind since you’ll be playing in the evening or when it’s dark.

  • Have a designated playing area decided on before you start any of the games. Let the kids know where they are allowed to play and where the playing space ends.
  • Stay away from areas with traffic, open water, or dangerous objects that someone may get hurt on. Larger, open, flat areas are best if possible.
  • Have at least one adult supervise the game, especially if younger kids are playing.
  • Go over any rules of the game and safety rules before the kids start to play so that they know what to expect ahead of time.

Besides games, what can you do outside at night?

The list above of 21 outdoor night games will provide your kids with hours of fun and laughter when the sun goes down, but there are also other things that can be done at night. Here are a few nighttime activities that your kids are sure to enjoy!

  1. Stargaze – Spend some quality time together looking up at the stars. You can just use your eyes, or bring out a telescope and see what cool things you can spot!
  2. Watch a movie – Watch an outdoor movie in your own backyard, or go to a drive-in.
  3. Shadow puppets – Have fun using your hands or paper cut outs to put on a fun shadow puppet show for everyone.
  4. Make glowing volcanoes – Making volcanoes is fun no matter when you do it, but putting a nighttime twist on it makes it even more fun! This site has one way you can make your own glowing volcano.
  5. Catch fireflies – See how many fireflies you can catch (and release).
  6. Glow in the dark paint – Bring your art project outside when it gets dark and have fun being creative with glow in the dark paint.
  7. Use sparklers – If your kids are old enough, let them have fun using sparklers. For younger kids, they will have a great time using light up fiber optic wands instead.
  8. Glow stick dancing – This one can get really silly, or at least it does when my kids do it! It is also called stick figure dancing because you tape glow sticks onto your clothes to form a stick figure person. If you want to learn how to do this simply, yet entertaining activity yourself, HGTV has detailed glow stick dancing instructions.
  9. Glow in the dark chalk – Here’s another fun art activity that you can do at night. Read here for how you can make your own glow in the dark chalk.
  10. Campfire – Have a fire and roast some marshmallows. Or you can make some tasty s’mores (and maybe even try some delicious new ways to make s’mores!).

Fun light up or glow in the dark items

Games and things that you like to play with in the daytime may also have light up or glow in the dark options as well. This way the dark doesn’t have to put an end to the fun!

Here are some things that will light up or glow so that you can use them for your outdoor night games:

As you can see from the list of light up/glow in the dark items as well as the list of 21 outdoor night games, the good times don’t have to end when night comes! So grab the kids and flashlights and head outside for some nighttime fun!

And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun together as a family check out these family night ideas, outdoor spring activities, or summer bucket list ideas. With all of these awesome ideas you’re sure to find tons of fun ways to spend quality time together!

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