You don’t have to pile the kids in the car and drive across town (or spend a fortune) in order to enjoy some quality family time together. Some of our favorite family memories happen when we’re at home. Now that my daughters are getting older and staying up a little bit later, our backyard has gotten more use in the evenings than ever before. Consider one of these ideas when you’re planning your next backyard family night.
Skip the national park this summer, and instead, pitch your tent in the backyard! Set up your backyard campsite in the late afternoon so you can spend the evening relaxing around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, singing songs, and telling ghost stories. When it’s time for lights out, everyone can crawl into their sleeping bags and doze off until morning, or mom and dad can head inside and the older kids and have their own campout!
Outdoor Game Night
Kick the can, flashlight tag, dodge ball, kickball…the possibilities are endless when you teach them the games you may have played with the neighborhood kids when you were young. Better yet? Play them together. Invite the neighbors over and play a game of kickball during sunset! Teach your youngest kids how to play “Red Rover” or “Mother May I?” Use flashlights and flood lights as necessary, and keep safety in mind when planning and playing!
Spend the afternoon at the local library and research constellations and stars you’ll be able to see in the night sky. Then bring the comforter outside, lay on your backs, and see what you can see! Do you have a telescope? That’s even better (though not necessary). Start early and see who can spot the first star. Any shooting stars or out of the ordinary finds? Make a game of it and create a checklist with constellations for older kids to find.
Family Movie Night
Put a twist on the traditional family movie night by heading outside and watching a family favorite under the stars. You can project the film from your laptop computer onto the side of the house or fence, if you have a projector, or simply set up the laptop on one side of the picnic blanket and huddle together to watch. Bring out the popcorn and the kids’ favorite drinks.
Don’t hide out in the air conditioning on hot summer nights! Instead, get out the flashlights, fill water balloons, and have a backyard water balloon fight with the kids. Use a sprinkler and let the kids run through again and again. Turn on the flood lights and set up the Slip ‘N-Slide®. Burn off some energy before everyone hits the sheets.
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Content by Kelly Herdrich