10 Nighttime Activities for Kids in the Great Outdoors

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Unplug those gadgets, turn off the cell phones, and spend some quality time together tonight. Try some nighttime activities for kids in the great outdoors. Bonus: The adults will enjoy these nighttime activities too.

  • 01 of 10



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    Big and little kids are fascinated with the night sky, which makes stargazing one of the top nighttime activities for kids. Teach them about space and astronomy when you plan a night of stargazing for your family. Pick any night when the sky is clear or check the calendar to find specific dates for expected meteor showers, new moon phases, full moons, and more.

  • 02 of 10

    Camp Out

    Camping outdoors

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    Grab the sleeping bags and camp out under the stars with your family. Head to a campground or other designated campsite with your tent or stick closer to home with a backyard campout. You can also join thousands of campers in the annual Great American Backyard Campout, which encourages families to reconnect to the natural world.

  • 03 of 10

    Go on a Night Walk

    Father, son, and daughter taking a nighttime stroll
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    That simple walk around the block you take every afternoon with your kids is a completely new experience for all of you at night. The streets are quieter. The sounds are different. You may even notice insects and wildlife you don't usually see during the day, which exposes your kids to brand new nature activities. Prepare ahead of time so your family is wearing the right gear for a night walk. From headlamps to reflective vests, everyone will be able to see and be seen and the kids will love gearing up for their big walk.​

  • 04 of 10

    Watch an Outdoor Movie

    Father looking at daughter watching movie outdoors
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    We all love sitting outside and watching movies. Use a projector or take a TV outside so you can have a family movie night that will make the neighbors envious. You only need blankets, pillows, and the movie of your choice. Don't forget the popcorn!

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  • 05 of 10

    Build a Fire

    Grandparents and grandchildren drinking hot cocoa at campfire

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    Several nighttime activities for kids are rolled into one here. If you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, safely build a fire for your family. Roast marshmallows or make s'mores.

  • 06 of 10

    Tell Stories

    Father telling horror story for little girl sitting under cozy plaid
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    If your kids are older and ready to hear some new tales, sit in the backyard and tell ghost stories. For younger kids, grab a flashlight and explore books about astronomy and space that are more age-appropriate. Regardless of your children's ages, there's an art to being a master storyteller, so practice your skills to engage your audience under the stars.

  • 07 of 10

    Play Flashlight Tag

    boy playing with flashlight

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    Just looking for a quick nighttime activity for the kids before they go to bed? Play flashlight tag for lots of giggles and energy-burning running around in the yard. Flashlight tag's premise is simple. It's like tag and hide-and-seek but at night and with flashlights to guide you. For younger children who don't quite grasp the concept of the game, give them flashlights and encourage them to run around. They'll be just as happy shining the light and chasing it in the great outdoors.

  • 08 of 10

    Make Shadow Puppets

    Family with young children playing with shadow puppets
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    Any list of nighttime activities for kids wouldn't be complete without mentioning shadow puppets. Grab a flashlight or other low light source and light up a wall in your backyard. You've probably got a great rabbit shadow puppet but can you do a swan or dog? Learn how to make great shadow puppets so you can teach your kids. Your family's in for the ultimate puppet show.

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  • 09 of 10

    Catch Fireflies

    Girl holding jar of illuminated fireflies
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    Catching fireflies is one of those nighttime activities for kids that doesn't just give your children something fun to do, it will give them some of their favorite childhood memories. On a warm, summer night when you spot fireflies, grab a jar or use your hands to carefully catch the fireflies lighting up your backyard. While you're having fun, teach your kids some cool facts about fireflies. You'll learn something new about these fascinating beetles yourself too. And when it's time to go inside for the night, be kind. Release the fireflies so they can keep dazzling us with their beautiful lights.

  • 10 of 10

    Learn About the Environment

    Boy writing in notebook under light of solar lantern
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    How can you use daytime as a lesson for nighttime? Solar-powered lights or solar-powered lanterns are great tools to teach your children about the environment and how to save energy. Show your kids the lights or lanterns and explain that they get their energy from the sun. At night, watch them magically turn on, fueled by the sunlight they received during the day. Teaching your kids the pros and cons of solar power is a wonderful introduction to going green with your family.