Some kids can't get enough of that big yellow sun, while others might only dig out of the couch cushions every now and then to grab a sandwich. But when the heat of the day subsides and the sun sinks below the peachy horizon, nothing beats a couple of hours of twilight play. Jammies on and bedtime deferred...just a little...just a few more minutes for kids to run and tumble and squeal at the novelty of playing outside in the dark.
Every kid loves the freedom of summer nights—adults, too. Meals done. Work deferred. A circle of lawn chairs for the grown ups while kids race around nearby—that's family time at its simplest and best. For summer gold, relax with jokes and storytelling, and some simple games and activities for excited little ones. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
By June, chasing fireflies, or catching lightning bugs, is a party all by itself, and all it takes is a jar and a lid punched with a few air holes. Besides being fun, that last burst of physical play gets the wigglies out, so to speak, so that kids can really relax and sleep when bedtime finally rolls around.
Did you know? Firefly numbers are dwindling. Have fun catching them, but be sure and set them free afterwards!
Keep the game going indoors and all year long with a battery—operated version of Chasing Fireflies.
Inexpensive glow-in-the-dark toys add another dimension to favorite daytime games:
• Glow-in-the-dark chalk for moonlight hopscotch
(need instructions? Find hopscotch and other classic hardtop games here)
• Hide a handful of glow sticks for a nighttime scavenger hunt
• Put flashlights to use for rounds of flashlight tag
(bonus: flashlight and shadow tag are non-touch games)
• Color-changing, light-up wands make for great hid 'n seek — and dance parties, too!
And Don't Forget the Snacks
Call it a campfire treat or call it dessert—there's something about nighttime fun and games that calls for snacks. We all know that summer evenings "scream" for ice cream. With a little advance planning, sorbet made of absolutely nothing but canned fruit is sure to hit the spot. Just freeze a can of any fruit for 12 hours, open the can on both ends and carefully discard the lids. Slide the frozen tube of fruit into a blender and whiz just long enough for the desired consistency.
• Limiting sugar is always preferable, but fruit canned in heavy syrup has the perfect sugar-to-fruit ratio for
• Adding a cup of flavored yogurt to the blender turns your sorbet into frozen yogurt
• Return the slush to the freezer for an hour or less for a scoop-able consistency
• Love it? Keep a few cans of fruit in the freezer all summer for sorbet on command!
"Keepin' it Cool" for the summer is easiest when you break the
day into opportunities to cool off —mornings indoors, in the backyard, or at a shady park
• lunch inside or under an umbrella
• active afternoon play broken up with naps or downtime in play spaces
• a light dinner, and the day concluded with letting off steam as the relentless summer sun is replaced by a cool night sky lit by the moon and stars.
And very best thing about nighttime play for kids? That's easy: a well-deserved good night's sleep for everyone
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