The night is a magical time, especially when you’re a child. Darkness holds millions of possibilities, ranging from discovering fireflies in your backyard to navigating the world using the North Star. Through the course of raising five active children on a tight budget, I discovered that the night can be a time of fun and family bonding, as well as wonder and slightly creepy adventure.
Surprise Them and Make It Special
In order to make your activity especially memorable and entertaining, I suggest you surprise your family and “kidnap” them from their beds, adding a whole level of excitement to your children’s experience.
1. Backyard Campfire
Build a campfire in your backyard, using a fire pit or your charcoal grill. Roast marshmallows, make s’mores, sing songs and tell stories. Don’t forget to set up lawn chairs and/or blankets on the grass before the family arrives!
2. Count Shooting Stars
Take the family to an open area, away from city lights, pitch your chairs and spread your blankets to see the magical display in the heavens. Almost any month you can see something amazing in the night sky. Don’t forget to bring munchies, and remember to wear warm clothing.
3. Enjoy a Scavenger Hunt
Invite another family, assign teams, and pass out the scavenger list and flashlights – Go! If your families are young, keep the items simple, but teens love this activity, and nighttime only makes it more exciting.
4. Take a Moonlit Walk
It’s amazing how your familiar front yard and street become mysterious and just a little creepy at night. Make a game out of spotting ordinary things that, under the disguise of darkness, take on unusual appearances. Listen to the night sounds and try to identify each one.
5. Dancing in the Dark
Put on your favorite tunes and have a dance party in the driveway. Invite the neighbors over and bring out some easy snacks and drinks. What a fun way to wear the kids out and get your exercise at the same time!
6. Read Under the Stars
Get comfy with the children, perhaps around a campfire, and read favorite books, then discuss. An unusual atmosphere brings new and exciting elements to a much-loved story.
7. Swing on a Star
Pile the kids in the car and head to a local park. The only thing better than swinging in the dark is watching mom and dad slide down the slide in the moonlight.
8. Midnight Movie Madness
Who said all these activities needed to be under the stars? Pile everyone into the TV room in PJs and socks. Pop bowls of popcorn, make the family’s preferred punch, and settle in for a night marathon, watching everyone’s favorite movies. Cuddle on the couch or stretch out on the floor with blankets and pillows.
Enjoying family activities, day or night, is a wonderful way to bring your loved ones together and make lasting memories. Even 20 years later, my children love to reminisce about things we did together. Especially the times mom and dad surprised them by “kidnapping” them from their beds. Remember, it’s not the cost of an activity that survives through the years, but the fun and laughter.