10 Night Games to play while camping

Capture the Flag. The best place I’ve ever played this game was in a sandy wash with sorta steep sides. In this beloved game, each team hides a flag on their side of the wash, or field, or dirt road. Team members strategize to sneak over steal the other team’s flag without getting caught while also guarding their own flag against capture. More info on Capture the Flags rules here.

Hide and Go Beep. If it’s to dark to play hide and seek, this game makes fora nice post-sunset substitute. To play, simply locate one another by sound having hidden players “beep” every 30 seconds or so.

Flashlight Tag. One person is “it” and holds a flashlight, unlit. When he sees another player, he quickly turns on the flashlight and shines his light on them. The rest of the players do their best to avoid being spotted with the flashlight. If the “it” player shines his flashlight on you, you take the flashlight from him and are now “it.”

Signals. Players should pair off and create a flashlight signal (one short and one long flash, three short flashes and so on). Partners must then separate and go to opposite ends of a large, open playing area. Players are given one minute to scatter before they begin flashing their signals. Each pair tries to reunite as quickly as possible by sending flashlight signals to partners. The first pair to reunite is the winner.

Glow-in-the-dark Ring Toss. It’s sorta like horse shoes, but with glow-in-the-dark bracelets as rings. Set up a stick, stand back, and take turns trying to toss your ring onto the stick. Good game for little kids.

Glow-in-the-dark Kickball. Make a daytime favorite night friendly by using a glow in the dark ball as your kickball. Use glow in the dark frisbees for bases. Players can wear glow sticks to avoid collisions.

Firefly. Select one player to be the firefly. He or she puts colored plastic wrap around their light (or uses the red light setting if they have one) and moves away from the rest of the players while they count to 20. They then start looking for the firefly who is constantly moving around. Every minute or so, the firefly flashes his flashlight on and off a few times. When the firefly is finally caught by another player, everyone is called in. A new firefly is chosen, and the game continues.

Glow in the Dark Bowling. Get a bunch of clear water bottles (empty or full) and put a glow stick in them. Take a ball and try to knock over the pins. Great game if you’re camped by an old dirt road.

Kick the Can. One player is designated as “it.” He or she stands with one foot on the can and closes his or her eyes while counting out loud to 50 or so. This gives players time to hide anywhere they can: behind trees, tents, rocks, washes, etc. When the “it” person reaches 50, he or she opens their eyes and begins looking for the other players attempting to kick the can. If “it” tags someone before they kick the can, that person must go to “jail” and wait. If “it” catches all the players, he or she wins.

Nighttime Scavenger Hunt. There are so many cool but seldom seen or heard things that come out at night, make a scavenger hunt and tell your kids to use their flashlights, and their eyes and ears. Look and listen for things like owls or other night birds calling or frogs and crickets. Find a salamander, moth, the north star, a blooming night flower, spider, something with glowing eyes, etc.


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  1. Thanks for sharing these great ideas. So simple to set up, but so much fun. I’m definitely going to try some of these next time we go camping. I love the fact that most of them require minimal “equipment”, which is always a consideration when we’re packing for a camping trip.

  2. Awesome Post Thanks for this post!!!


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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