Outdoor Night Games

Kick-the-can, Flashlight Tag, Ghost in the Graveyard, Capture the Flag…all the most fun Outdoor Night Games for your family, friends, and neighborhood!

There is just something about playing games outside at night.  I remember as a child and teenager being outside in our street or in our yard, running around, playing, and laughing until our sides hurt. I have loved night games ever since, into both my college and now adult years.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do with my kids—to pass along these games that perhaps in this digital world we live in have become a bit old-fashioned. We love to put away all the electronics and enjoy being together outside. Summer isn’t summer without night games!

Outdoor Night Games Family Fun

We started playing flashlight tag with our kids even when they were very small, and it is a family favorite.  We have Family Night one night a week, and this is one of the most requested activities ever!  If it’s summer, we play outside, but during the long winters we can play it inside as well.

Oh my goodness, the laughter!!  We team everyone up (the smallest with mom and dad), round up enough flashlights for everyone, and then start to play.  Negotiations to stay up later and play a little longer always start coming when we give them the five-minute warning, and we usually give in, because my husband and I love it too!

There are some other really fun night games on my list too—some of them are best played with older children and teenagers, but most of them can be adapted so that the whole family can play together, even the youngest ones!

It’s so fun to have friends and other families over to join you—it’s a great way to establish new friendships and deepen others.  Play games, eat treats, and enjoy the night!  What about your neighbors?  Meet in the street and play—it can be a neighborhood tradition!

Flashlight Tag

It’s basically a combination of hide-and-seek and tag.  Separate into teams, and then pass out flashlights for each team.  One of the teams is “it”, and counts to a specified number while all the other teams go and hide.  When the “it” team finishes counting, they try to find the other teams. You’re “caught” when the beam of the light flashes on your faces!  Repeat until all teams are caught, then start again!


This is a classic night game, and there are several variations that have appeared over the years, but basically you need at least 3-4 people (and even more make it more fun!), a can, a place for a “jail” within sight of the can, and plenty of space to run around.  One person is deemed “it”, and they put one foot on the can while they count to a specified number, while everyone else goes and hides.  When they finish counting, they start looking for everyone else, while keeping on eye on the can.  The players that were hiding try to get past the person that’s it and kick the can.  If they’re tagged before they can, then they go to jail.  The person that’s it wins if he/she can tag all the players and send them to jail. If they can is kicked, all players are released from jail. 

Capture the Flag

This game is even more fun played at night!  You need two teams—at least a total of six players, but the more the better.  Divide a large playing field/area in half—as equally as you can, and clearly mark the boundaries.  Each team has a side, and they hide a “flag” somewhere where at least a portion of it is visible.  Once the game starts, the teams each try to capture the other’s flag, and make it back to their own side without being caught. If a player is tagged on the other team’s side, they go to their jail.  They can be released from jail if one of their fellow players makes it over and tags them without being caught—then they both get to walk back across to their own side safely.  The first team to capture the other team’s flag wins!! G

Ghost in the Graveyard

To start, designate one person as the “ghost”, and a base that’s “safe”.  You’ll also want to establish the hiding boundaries.  The ghost then goes and hides, while all the other players count to a specified number.  Then they go and look for the ghost.  The player that finds the ghost yells “GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD” to warn all the other players.  That player is also safe, but all the other players have to make it back to the designated base before the ghost tags them.  The first person is tagged becomes the ghost for the next game. 

More summer ideas you might like…

Share and save for later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.