Whether you’re camping or hanging out in the backyard, get your kids away from technology for a few hours with these fun flashlight games! On top of the traditional flashlight puppets and ghost stories, parents have come up with some fun, creative nighttime activities that kids absolutely love.
There are several alternative options for this old game. For starters, make one or more of the children “fireflies.” Have them flash their light on and off about every 30 seconds. The other participants who aren’t fireflies have to try to capture them! When they’ve all been captured, switch up who is a firefly and who is a capturer.
Another option is to have only one person with a flashlight. The rules are simple, combining tag and hide-and-seek in the dark. The person who is “it” has to try to spot their friends using the flashlight. When they tag a friend, they hand over the flashlight and become one of the hunted.
Remember freeze tag? Turn on your favorite family-friendly tunes and have a dance party. One person holds the flashlight and points it at someone (make sure the kiddos know not to aim it at someone’s eyes). The person with the light shining on them must freeze; if they’re caught still moving in the light, the dancer is now “it.”
Change it up. Instead of using a pole for this fun game, just point the flashlight at a certain height and lower it a little each round. If the light is visible on the person as they pass under it, they’re out!
This is fun for all ages, but might be easier with older children. Place your camera on a tripod and set it to shutter priority (if you know how to manually set it, you will need a long shutter speed. Try 20 or 30 seconds). Get the whole family involved: have an adult press the shutter and then the family point their lights at the camera and make designs or words. Assign a letter to each member of the family to write words or just draw fun shapes!
Put a twist on your typical shadow puppets by making everyone take a guess at what you’re creating. Think of it as shadow puppets meets charades.
Living in the Spotlight
A great way to break the ice if you’re doing a youth activity with kids who may not know everyone or a fun game to play at home, living in the spotlight is simple but silly. Everyone stands in a circle and one person is in the center. The person in the center is the pointer and the only one with a flashlight. They get to point the light at someone and the person in the spotlight must tell a joke, sing, dance, answer a question, etc. This could be a fun truth or dare game, too! After the person in the spotlight has completed their task, they switch places with the person in the middle and the game continues.
Another way to play is to start a story. When the spotlight is on you, you add a sentence or two to the story. At the end you have a wild story!
Grab a disposable cup, plate, bowl, or napkin from the kitchen and poke some holes in the bottom (for best results use a cup or bowl). Aim your flashlight at the object and voila! You’ve made your own constellations.
Work on reading skills while entertaining the little ones. Use a wall in the house or hang up some cards around your yard and make it a word hunt. One of the parents calls out a word, and your children have to use the flashlight to find it!
Ghoul in the Graveyard
Best played with several people and an open space, Ghoul in the graveyard is another combination of tag and hide-and-seek. First step is deciding on an object or area that will be “home base.” Next, one person is selected as the ghoul and goes off to hide from everyone. Once the ghoul has had time to hide properly, participants are given a flashlight. It’s each man for themselves as they try to be the first one to find the ghoul. When they do, the person yells, “GHOUL IN THE GRAVEYARD,” and stays with the ghoul. Everyone else runs back to home base before being caught. If someone is caught by the ghoul, they become the ghoul in the next round.
A Thief in the Dark
Play a game of memory! Place a large group of different items in the center of a specific location. All but one person studies them quickly before turning out the lights. The one person who didn’t study the items is considered the “game master,” and each round they remove one item from the pile. After he or she has removed the item in complete darkness, the rest of the group turns their light back on and has to examine the pile and name the missing item.