The Best Neighborhood Night Games

Remember playing night games with the neighborhood kids? It’s one of the great enduring memories of childhood. With summer officially under way this week, it’s time to bring night games back into play. Teach these games to your kids, play as a family, and ask the neighbors to join you!

Kick the Can – You’ll need a group of at least three kids and a can. One player is chosen to be “it,” and the can is placed in an open space. “It” counts to a designated number while the other players hide. Once “it” is finished counting, he or she tries to find and tag the other players. Once players are tagged, they go to “jail,” a designated area usually in sight of the can. Any player who has not been caught can kick the can, and if this is done without the person being caught, the “jailed” players are freed, and the game begins again. If “it” catches every player, the game is over, and “it” wins. Win by kicking the can without being tagged, or finding all players when you are “it.”

Capture the Flag – Divide into two teams and determine territories for the two teams. Streets, driveways, trails or fence lines all make good border markers. Choose two brightly colored flags for each team (a bandana or t-shirt works great). Retreat by team into your territory to hide the flag. The flag should be hung at head height and be visible from 20 yards away on at least one side. Split into attacker and defender groups within your team. Each team assigns some attackers and some defenders. Attackers sneak across the borders to find and capture the opposing team’s flag without being caught. If a team captures an opposing team’s attacker, via tag, that player is in “jail,” a determined area. Teammates can rescue their jailed friends by sneaking into the jail and tagging them “free.” Win the game by sneaking all the way into the opposing team’s camp, capturing their flag, and making it back into your own camp.

Sardines – This game is basically hide-and-seek in reverse. The “it” person hides, while the rest of the players count with eyes closed to 100. After counting, players seek out the hider. Upon finding the “it” person, players hide with him or her, packing in like sardines. The last player to join the sardine can is the next “it.”

Flashlight Tag – A fun variation of regular tag, this game is perfect at night. The “it” person has a flashlight and counts to 50 while other players scatter and hide. “It” runs around trying to find others with the light off, flashing the light on for only a second when they think they’ve found someone. Once a a player is tagged with the light, they become the new “it” and take over the flashlight.

Manhunt – Determine the boundaries of the playing field. You can begin with one hunter or up to three for a large group. Hunters count to 100 while other players scatter and hide. If a player is tagged by a hunter, that player becomes a hunter. Play until all but one player is found. The last player to be tagged is the winner.

Do you have any other night games you loved to play? Share them in the comments section. And remember to review safety rules and measures to keep everybody safe in the dark.

{Image via Tyler Place.}

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