Night games come in handy to add that extra tinge of excitement to your camping trips, sleepover, and family reunions. During summertime, the days get really hot. Late evening and night games can help kids get the outdoor time they need and love.
Choose from the fun games below for fun and enjoyment. Games for all age groups and locations are listed below. Play the night away!
Outdoor Night Games
Spent too much time inside cause the summer afternoon was too hot to handle? Don’t worry. Below are some fun games you can play outside to release pent-up energy and rejuvenate yourself by playing outside. Grabs your shoes and let’s go!
Hide and seek
This classic game is the perfect game to play at night. Choose one player to be ‘it’. As they count to ten, other players must hide from ‘it’. Players must try to touch base without being seen to prevent being ‘it’ in the next round.
As fun as this game is, tiny variations can help elevate the game and enhance the experience. Try these following variations of the classic hide and seek to keep you on your toes:
Flashlight hide and seek
This variation is similar to the original version of hide and seek. However, it is played in the dark and with the help of flashlights. The seeker is given a flashlight to find the hiding players. Set a standard time for all seekers to find the other. Keep track of how many players each seeker finds in the stipulated amount of time. The seeker who finds the most number of people wins the game.
Firefly hide and seek
A small flashlight or a pocket flashlight will be ideal for use in this game. In this variation, one person hides while all others are seekers. The person hiding is given the pocket flashlight and known as the ‘firefly’. Seekers must count to fifty as the firefly hides. When the seekers begin their search, the firefly must switch on and switch off the pocket flashlight.
The firefly can change hiding spots as per their convenience but they must keep flashing their flashlight at intervals. The seeker who catches the firefly hides in the next round.
Tapping sticks hide and seek
This variation is best suited for older kids and teenagers. Each hiding player is handed two sticks. Divide the group into two teams – hiders and seekers. The seekers count to fifty and then begin their search. When they begin to search, hiders must tap their sticks together every sixty seconds.
Seekers must follow the sound to the hiders and catch them. When all the hiders are caught, reverse the roles of the teams for the next round.
Sardines hide and seek
Younger children will enjoy this variation of hide and seek. Pair up all the players. One pair goes to hide while all the rest count to fifty. When a pair of seekers find the hiding pair, they must hide in the same place with them. This goes on till all the seekers reach the hiding place of the first pair.
The fun begins when the seekers who find people hiding need to squeeze in the space to prevent being caught. The seeker pair who found the hiding pair first hide in the next round.
One person from the group is chosen to be ‘It’. The other players pair up and hook their elbows together. A game of tag follows. However, there is a twist. ‘It’ must try to hook their elbow onto a player. The player on the other side must let go and become the new ‘It’. The game is fast-paced and exciting.
Ghost in the graveyard
Ghost in the graveyard is another classic game that all kids enjoy. The fun is amplified when played in the dark.
Younger kids can pair up and play the game while older kids can play the game individually. Before starting the game, ensure to mark the perimeter of the space. Pick and identifiable space as the ‘base’. Some players will play the part of ghosts. While the other players count, the ghosts must hide. The players who count must start from ‘one o clock’ and count till ‘midnight’.
After this, they must go in search of the ghost. When they spot a ghost, they yell, ‘Ghost in the graveyard! Run, run, run!’ All players run back to base. The ghosts must try to tag the players before they reach the base. The players that get tagged become ghosts in the next round.
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One player is chosen to be ‘It’. While ‘It’ counts to fifty, the other players go to hide. ‘It’ must try to seek out the players from their hiding places. Other players can move across the playing space to sneak away. If a player is caught by ‘It’, they must follow ‘It’ wherever they go. If another player waves at the found player, they can sneak away and hide again. If a player is found three times, the round ends. This player is the new ‘It’ and must start a new round.
The game of tag can be played in so many scenarios and will always promise a fun time. Flashlight tag is a variation of tag that is perfect to play at night. ‘It’ counts to ten as all other player-run away. In this version, ‘It’ is given a flashlight. Players must not only being physically caught but also evade the light of the flashlight. If caught, they are out. The last person standing wins the game and becomes ‘It’ for the next round of the game.
Nighttime reflector hunt
Before beginning the game, purchase some reflectors and stick them on index cards. You could punch holes in them and add strings so it is easy to hand on trees and bushes. Hide the cards with reflectors around the space where the game is going to be played. When the kids gather, instruct them to find as many reflector cards as they can.
Kids love to go hunting for things, especially if there is a reward waiting at the end. The kid who collects the most amount of reflector cards wins the game.
Blog tag is a variation of the classic game ‘Tag’. Players run away from ‘It’. When a person is tagged by ‘It’, they must hold hands and run after the other players. In this way, the people who get tagged must keep building the chain and run after the other players to tag them. The last person who hasn’t been tagged is the winner of the game.
Indoor Night Games
Who said night games are only enjoyed in the outdoors. Make your indoor space dark and spooky and have fun playing the games listed below.
Set up a chair with the back to the players. One player is chosen to be the ‘Grandma’. They must sit on the chair with their back to all the players. The goal of the players is to sneak up on Grandma and steal something that is placed close to her.
As the players sneak up on her, if Grandma hears footsteps she can shine a flashlight towards the sound. If a player is caught in the flashlight, they must return to the start line and begin on their mission to steal again.
The player who manages to successfully steal an item near Grandma is the winner of the round. Switch up who gets to be Grandma in the rounds. Get sneaking!
This game can come in handy when the kids are too tired to play an active game. Give the flashlight, a lantern, or a lamp so they can entertain themselves with this fun game. Kids must make shapes in front of the light with their hands and fingers. Their shadow on the nearest wall will make unique images. Encourage them to make different animals and unique images.
This improv game is sure to light up your night. Two people start going up on stage. They are the actors. The other players call out a situation like ‘cycling’, ‘going shopping’, etc. The actors must act out the situation.
The audience can call out new scenarios at any point. If any audience member yells, ‘Freeze!’ The actors must freeze. The player who yelled comes up to the stage, taps one of the actors, and takes their spot. Keep actors on their toes by yelling out bizarre scenarios.
Rotate the actors often to make the improv more exciting and give it many new flavors.
A thief in the dark
Arrange twenty or so items on a table. Allow all the players to analyze the objects kept on the table.
Set a timer of two minutes. The time is given to analyze the object can differ depending on the age group of the players. Send all players out and remove two to three objects from the table. When they are called back in, let them know that the thief has stolen a few items.
The players must identify the stolen items. Play the game in rounds. Each correctly identified stolen item is one point. The player who has the most amount of points at the end of all the rounds wins the game.
Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie game comes in handy when you are too tired to play a physical game but want to be entertained. All players sit in a circle. Each player takes a turn making three statements. One statement must be a lie, the other two must be true. Other players must try to guess which statement is the lie. Players can explain the stories behind their statements as well.
Murder in the dark
Make slips of paper enough for all players. One slip must have ‘Detective’, one must have ‘Murderer’, the rest will have ‘Victim’. Allow the players to pick up slips. Make the room dark. The Detective leaves the room for a period of time. In this time, the Murderer must tap the shoulders of the Victims to kill them. The Victims that are tapped must let out a scream and drop on the floor.
After the set period of time, the Detective re-enters the room. They must ask questions to the people who are still in the game to find out who the Murderer is. The Detective can ask questions like –
- Where were you when you heard Victim number 2 scream?
- Do you know the order of the killings?
- Did you hear anything unusual around you?
If the Detective guesses who the Murderer is correct, they win the round. If not, the Murderer wins the round.
Who am I?
Make slips of all the players’ names. Put the slips into a bowl. Have players stick a piece of double-sided tape on their forehead. Players must take a slip from the bowl and put it on each other’s foreheads. A player cannot have their own name on their forehead. Players must not know whose name is on their forehead. They must ask each other yes or no questions and try to guess whose name is on them.
The wink of death
You will need a deck of cards to play this game. Pull enough cards for each player. One of the cards must be a joker.
Shuffle the chosen cards and have one player take one card. Players must peek at their card without showing it to anyone. The player that has pulled the joker is the ‘murderer’. Their aim is to kill as many people in the circle as possible.
When the murderer winks at a person, they must wait for five seconds and then drop to the floor. All players must try to catch the murderer. All players are allowed to guess at any point in the game. If a player guesses incorrectly, they are eliminated from the game.
If a player guesses correctly, they win the round. If no one is able to catch the murderer while they are alive, the murderer wins the round.
Choose two people from the group to play the ‘tourist’ and the ‘tour guide’. All other players will play statutes. The tourist and the tour guide leave the room. The light is switched off and players take up positions of statues. The tourist and tour guide comes back into the room with a flashlight.
They point the flashlight at the different statures. Their goal is to try to make the statue move or laugh without touching the statue. The statue that remains frozen wins the round. Choose a new tourist and tour guide for the next round.
This game puts players in the spotlight so they can showcase their talents. Have all players stand in a circle.
One person stands in the middle of the circle with a flashlight. The person must point the flashlight beam on a person. The person in the beam must perform in any way they prefer. They can sing, dance, do a small skit, etc.
If the group is new to each other, get the person in the middle to pick out chits from a bowl that dictates what the player must do.
If the group wants to try a new variation, ask them to build a story together. The first player starts the story and the rest add on to the story.
Team Games In The Dark
These games are perfect when there is a large group to be entertained. A camping trip or a holiday family reunion are perfect places to play the following games. Assign members to teams randomly or ask players to choose their own teams. Head straight into fun!
Attack and defend
Every kid has played this fun game during summer camp. Attack and defend is a perfect game to play with a larger group of kids.
Choose a space that will be the ‘castle’. One team is designated to defend the castle while the other team attacks. The attacking team must try to touch the castle. The defending team must prevent them from doing so. The teams can take turns defending and attacking the castle.
Set a time limit within which the attacking team must touch the castle. When the attacking team touches the castle, they win a point. If the defending team successfully defends the castle, they win a point.
Tally the points at the end of all the rounds and announce the winner of the game.
Gather all players and get them to stand in a circle. When the game starts, instruct players to hold the hands of people that are not standing next to them. This will result in a huge human knot.
Start the timer when the players have reached their final formation. Players must try and untangle themselves to stand back in a circle. Players who started out next to each other may have changed positions. That is not a problem.
Stop the timer when the players have completely disentangled and standing in a circle. This game is sure to bring out giggles, grunts of frustration, and loads of fun!
Stop the smuggler
Before the game starts, find a unique rock that will be designated as the ‘jewel’. The jewel must be small enough to carry in one hand.
Mark the perimeter of the play and divide the group into two teams. One team will be the Coast Guard and the other will be the Smugglers. The rock is handed to the Smugglers team. Any of them can hold the jewel and can swap the jewel as many times as they like.
The aim of the Smugglers is to go from end to the other of the playing field without being tagged by the Coast Guard. If they are tagged, they must show both hands. If the Smuggler with the jewel is caught by the Coast Guard, the round ends, and the Coast Guard team gets a point.
If the Smuggler with the jewel makes it to the other end without getting caught, the round ends, and the Smugglers get a point. The teams take turns being the Smugglers and the Coast Guard. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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The group is divided into teams of four to five players each. The players must collect sticks of equal length to build a pyramid. They must also try to knock down the pyramid of other players while defending and building their own pyramid. A team receives one point when they knock down another team’s pyramid.
Glow stick volleyball
Before starting the game, you will have to arrange many glow stick bracelets. You will need four glow sticks for each player. Keep some spare glow sticks as well. The game is best played with a beach ball. Players must put on the glow stick on both their wrists and ankles.
Put two of the spare glowsticks on the blowhole of the beach ball. Turn the lights off and start the game. Players must try to prevent the beach ball from touching the ground. They cannot catch or throw the ball. It must be hit like they do in volleyball.
To make the game more exciting, use a volleyball net and make teams.
Fugitives and cops
This game is perfect for older kids and teenagers. Find a bigger space to enjoy the game to the fullest. Mark two points – A and B. Divide the group into two teams – Fugitives and Cops. The Fugitives must try to get from point A to point B. They can hide as they move or make a run for it. The Cops must try to catch the Fugitives as they make their way towards point B. Set a time limit by which the Cops must catch the Fugitives.
If the Fugitives make it to point B, they win. If they don’t, the Cops win the round. Take turns making the teams Fugitives and Cops. The team that wins the most number of rounds, wins the game.
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These games are sure to make your night an enjoyable one. Make sure to check the perimeter of your outdoor playing space for a safe and enjoyable experience. Make simple rules that all players must follow for safety. The indoor games are just as fun. Gather your friends and family and have the night of your life!
- Outdoor Night Games
- Hide and seek
- Elbow tag
- Ghost in the graveyard
- Flashlight tag
- Nighttime reflector hunt
- Blob tag
- Indoor Night Games
Naomi is an educator with 2 decades of experience working with children of all ages. She is a keen observer of the magic and importance of Maths in our daily lives. Follow me on Linkedin