Our Blog

Magical Summer Nights in Your Own Backyard!
July 31, 2020
Category: Family Fun, Summer, Camp,

Summertime is slowly coming to an end, but there is still time for kids to get outdoors and soak up the warm sun. There’s no such thing as too much time outside, right? And outdoor fun does not need to end when the sun goes down.

Happily, there are plenty of nighttime games and activities that are just as fun for adults as they are for kids. So, gather the whole family, especially the kiddies, for backyard fun as dusk arrives.

Here are some great summer-night activities:

Glow-in-the-dark face paint

Set the stage for a glowing and gorgeous evening with glow-in-the-dark or black-light-reactive face paint, like this option from Midnight Glo. This is a big hit with everyone.

How to play Flashlight Tag

A game for night owls, use your flashlight to tag evasive players. It requires at least 3 people, but more people make for more fun and a flashlight! It is like the original version of tag; the only catch is that this game is played at night and being tagged means getting lit up by a flashlight. One person, named It, counts to a predetermined number while the rest of the players hide. Armed with only a flashlight, It heads into the dark in search of the hidden players. Players are tagged when the flashlight beams on them, at which point they become It, or are simply out until the rest of the players are found. While hiding in the dark, do not make a sound, and stay out of the way of the flashlight!

Are some kiddies afraid of the dark? Playing this game requires a lot of darkness, but if that is a bit too scary for the young ones, play during dusk hours.

Backyard Movies

There's nothing quite like watching a movie  outside in your own backyard. And DIY backyard movie theaters are an easy to set up yourself. You can set it all up in about 30 minutes if you have the right equipment. 

What you will need:

  • Sheet or portable screenA screen will inherently have less wrinkles in it than a sheet, which is optimal for clear movie-watching. But if you do use a sheet, make sure you pull it super taut when you secure it to either a stand or a vertical flat surface.
  • ProjectorYou just need a good, reliable projector that you can also use indoors.
  • Whether you already have an outdoor speaker system set up or you just want to wing it with a portable Bluetooth audio, make sure the speakers are loud enough to compete with the outdoor elements like wind.

Sleep under the stars without going too far from home

Backyard camping is a blast. Setting up a cozy nest takes some teamwork.

  • If you have a tent: Treat your backyard like a real campsite. Take your tent outside and find a smooth, flat surface to call home for the night. Make it cozy inside with bed rolls or multiple layers of sleeping bags and cushy comforters.
  • If you do not have a tent: You can easily create a makeshift shelter by tying a rope or clothesline between two trees and hanging a large tarp, blanket, or canvas over top. (This 10×12 tarp is perfect!) Just make sure you have a dry place to sleep by laying a waterproof tarp underneath, then make it comfy by layering lots of blankets and cushy pillows on top.
  • Make it magical: Set the scene by hanging lamps or stringing lights around the tent. These will illuminate your campsite with a soft glow and help everyone feel more comfortable spending the night outdoors in the dark.

roasting marshmallows

Do not forget to the chow!

Eating around a campfire is one of the best things about camping. If you have a fire pit, it is easy to roast hot dogs and toast marshmallows. If you do not have a fire pit, a small charcoal grill will work.  Remember, a campfire is not needed to eat like a camper. Pack sandwiches, trail mix, juice boxes and desserts in your cooler to grab at the ready.

Make a promise to stay outside. Pack up everything you will need to sleep overnight, including a tent, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, pillows, flashlights, games, books, bug spray and a cooler packed with snacks and drinks. Once you have all your essentials, make a promise that everyone should only go inside for emergencies and bathroom breaks (no sneaking in to check phones!). And, of course, all electronics stay inside. Backyard camping is fun at any age because adventure can be found right outside your door.  

T's Learning Center, the top-rated child day care in Jacksonville, hopes you and your family are doing well in these unusual times and wish a happy and playful rest of summer! This is your family time near or far . . . make the most of it!