Rules of the Firefly Flashlight Game for Kids

A picture of a boy with a flashlight
Don't just capture fireflies, become one with the firefly game. Photo © Mike Harrington / Getty Images

The firefly game is one of many flashlight games kids love. It's also a great nighttime activity to entertain a few children or big groups. You need at least one flashlight, depending on how many children will be playing but have more on hand if you're playing the firefly game with a medium- to large-sized group. Here's how to play the firefly flashlight game:

Safety Rules to Follow

The firefly game should be played at night.

The point of the game is that children are trying to catch the firefly (the child with the flashlight).

Do make sure the area the children are playing in is safe. A flat area with no objects or other obstacles is best to avoid tripping or falling. If the area you're playing in is too dark, leave a low light on. The kids will still have fun but it won't be so dark that someone gets hurt.

Make sure the child with the flashlight also knows not to flash other kids in the face. Little kids are tempted but it quickly ruins the fun for everyone.

Firefly Game for Groups of 5 or Fewer

Think of the firefly game as hide and seek with a twist. The object of the game is for the child with the flashlight (the firefly) to get caught.

Designate one child as the firefly. The firefly gets the flashlight.

The child who is the firefly must flash the light from the flashlight on and off again once about every 15 to 30 seconds.

The other children try to find the firefly. The first child to "capture" the firefly gets to become the next firefly.

Firefly Game for Groups of 6 or More

With this version of the firefly game, you have two options. You can play by the game rules for groups of 5 or fewer or you can have more fireflies.

With more fireflies, you'll need more flashlights. Split the group in half. One half of the group gets flashlights and the other half gets to try and capture the fireflies.

The same rules apply for the fireflies in this version of the game as the one for small groups. Fireflies flash the lights of their flashlight once about every 15 to 30 seconds and the rest of the kids try to "capture" each firefly.

Once a firefly is caught, that child sits out the rest of the game with his flashlight off. When all fireflies are caught, they hand over the flashlights to their captors who now get to be the fireflies.

The best part about the firefly game is that everyone gets to be a firefly and everyone wins!

Variations of the Firefly Game

If your little fireflies want to change things up, give the flashlights to the kids who aren't the fireflies. The object of the game in this version is to have the kids use their flashlights to find the fireflies. Shining the flashlights toward the ground, not the eyes, kids can try to find the bugs flying around in the dark.

With so many options for this game, kids will have enough fun that they'll be fast asleep from exhaustion long before their flashlight batteries run out. The firefly game will quickly become one of those outdoor classic games your family loves to play on those warm summer nights.