The memories made during warm summer nights are ones that generally last forever. The time spent outdoors with friends and family during starlit summer evenings is cherished by all involved and can pretty much put a smile on any face. Make the most of the warm weather by getting outside at night. A perfect way to bond as a family, get to know the neighbors, or simply just an excuse to break up a usual nightly routine of cell phones and television — these fun outdoor night time activities are great for kids (and adults) of all ages.
Relax around a fire
Who doesn’t enjoy a good S’more? A self-built or purchased fire pit is an inexpensive way to provide endless hours of entertainment. A relaxing evening accompanied by the crackling sounds and mesmerizing sights of the burning fire can include friends and family and provide a good night for all. Stories told and marshmallows roasted — a night spent around a fire is always magical.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large backyard, or live close to a park or nature reserve, a nightly walk is a great opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the Earth at night — and also makes for a good time to talk among friends or family. Grab a few flashlights, or if you have time to prepare in advance, a candlelit path around the yard could (while safely navigated) provide a perfect area for a nightly stroll. To mix it up and really experience all of the night time natural wonders, it might make the walk more interesting and worthwhile to do it silently.
A starlit play
During daylight hours, set up a small area like a patio or deck as a stage, with rows of chairs arranged around it. The neighborhood can be invited, tickets can be sold, snacks and refreshments can be distributed, and all of the little actors and actresses can present their well-rehearsed skit or play. Use candles or solar powered lights and lanterns to provide ambient lighting.
Don’t have the availability or funds for a family vacation? No need to worry because a getaway is still possible — even if it’s only in your backyard. Your own private campsite is easy to setup, requires no strenuous hikes, and kids absolutely love it! With just a tent, a few sleeping bags, snacks, and fun games and stories, the whole family can enjoy the outdoors without really leaving home.
Glow in the dark fun
From flashlight tag — a game like hide-and-seek but uses flashlights to ‘tag’ each other — to chasing lightning bugs, anything that involves a small amount of light can provide hours of fun and giggles for kids of all ages. Glow sticks are a great idea and can be placed in jars to make lanterns, or simply worn as necklaces and bracelets — perfect for a night time dance party.
If you own a projector or could borrow one from someone, setting up an outdoor movie theater is a great activity for any age. Pick a family friendly movie, set up a comfy area with hammocks, chairs, bean bags and blankets, and watch a great movie with loved ones while underneath the night sky. Be sure you don’t forget the popcorn!
One of the easiest night time activities is sadly, one of the most uncommon. How often do you simply sit or stand underneath the night sky and truly gaze in awe at what the view offers? You don’t have to be an astronomer to be able to enjoy looking up at the night sky. If you find a place that’s relatively free of light pollution and devote a bit of time to looking up, you’ll end up seeing more and more stars throughout the night.
Grab a telescope or book or even download an app to help you identify constellations. Look long enough and someone in your group of friends or family members may even see a shooting star!
Spending time outdoors is great, but summer nights spent underneath a starlit sky are even better. Whether you’re stargazing in the UK, Canada, Australia or the USA, enjoying quality time with friends, family, and neighbors is easy to do during the night time. As you can see, there are many great activities that will put a huge smile on any face!
Guest Author: Jack Bennett
Jack Bennett is the founder and editor of stargazing.me.uk. He lives in London and has started his blog about stargazing and amateur astronomy for beginners to keep track of his attempts to explore the Universe. He loves stargazing in the UK and enjoys anything space related.