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5 Classic Backyard Games to Play at Night

Grab your flashlights and play one of these outdoor games together as a family.

Nothing feels quite like being a kid out past dusk, running around and soaking up every bit of freedom baked into summer days. These classic night games are playful, active, and simple ways to get the rascally energy out of children before bedtime.

Ghost in the Graveyard

Need: three or more players

How To Play: One player is the ghost, and hides while the others stand at a base to count the hours of the day. Once they hit midnight, they go search for the ghost. If someone sees the ghost, they yell, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and all go running back to base. If one player (or more) is tagged, they become a ghost as well. Play until all are ghosts.

Flashlight Fugitive

Need: four or more players, one flashlight

How To Play: One person with the flashlight stands at the end of the cul-de-sac, lawn, or field. The other players (fugitives) begin at the other end. The person with the flashlight turns around and counts to 10, while the fugitives run toward a safe point near the counter. After 10, the counter turns around and tries to catch a fugitive in the flashlight beams. If the counter can identify the name of a fugitive and where that person is hiding, that fugitive is out. The last fugitive caught or the first to the safe point gets the flashlight for the next round.

Fallen Star Hunt

Need: mini glow sticks, plastic Easter eggs or other translucent containers

How To Play: Fill plastic Easter eggs with mini glow sticks (and bonus treats if you like) and scatter them around the yard. Send your kid on a hunt for the luminous treasures.

Firefly Hide and Seek

Need: small pocket flashlights

How To Play: One person is a firefly and hides while the others seek. The firefly shines the light quickly on and off again every minute, while changing hiding places. When someone catches the firefly, they become one, too, and do the same until everyone is a firefly.


Need: glow sticks and bracelets, ball, bucket or laundry basket for goals

How To Play: Place “goals” lit with glow sticks at either end of the play area. Players are divided into two teams, each with their own color of glow bracelets. Following netball rules, players pass the ball between teammates to reach the end of the “court” and try to shoot it into the goal. No running, only pivoting, with the ball in hand. Players only have three seconds to hold the ball before a pass. No hand-offs. No contact, but opposing players can block shots and passes, and retrieve loose balls.

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