Fall is here, and with it come shorter days and longer nights. Seeing as you probably spend most of the daylight hours rushing around -- getting the kids to school and back, getting to work and making dinner -- it's likely already dark by the time you get a chance to take a breath. Why not consider some fun outdoor nighttime activities you can do at home that can bring your whole family together?
Of course you have good old-fashioned games, such as hide-and-seek and tag, which in the dark of night can turn into an exciting game of flashlight tag. Flashlight tag has many variations of how it can be played, one of which is explained by FamilyCorner.com: "'It' is chosen. 'It' will count to 50 while the other players run and hide. 'It' uses a flashlight to find other players. A player that can sneak past 'It' and get to base will be safe. Play continues until all players are found or are safe. The first player caught with the flashlight is the new it."
Then there's stargazing with binoculars or a telescope -- or having a water balloon fight on a hot night. If you have (or set up) hard-wired, solar or motion detector lights, your family can play a fun game of soccer or football, get a basketball hoop and play basketball, or play a game of catch. For something a little different, you can turn off the lights and try your hand at throwing a glow-in-the-dark plastic disc, which you can find at http://www.BlackJaxSports.com. And you always could put on an outdoor concert, play or dance party.
To kick it up a notch, you could try some more elaborate nighttime activities that are sure to be a hit with the family.
At http://www.FamiliesWithPurpose.com, Steve Capp, a father of two, suggests having a backyard campout. "Backyard campouts are a great way to get the camping experience without the hassle of packing," Capp says. "Pitch your tent in the backyard and roast your marshmallows over the coals of an inexpensive charcoal grill. You can tell ghost stories, catch lightning bugs in a glass jar, and look for some of the great constellations in the sky."
Shane Cooper, writing for EzineArticles.com, recommends having an outdoor movie night and offers up three options on how to turn your backyard into your own private movie house.
First, you can simply take an extra TV and move it to the backyard in a suitable location for sitting or lying on a blanket. You also will need to bring a Blu-ray player, a DVD player or an old VCR outside to connect to the TV. Cooper writes that if you have a set of speakers to go along with the TV, that will make the experience even better.
Option No. 2 is setting up a computer that plays Blu-ray Discs or DVDs on a table or stand outside. If you own a laptop, take it -- along with a decent viewable screen, such as a flat-screen or standard TV -- to the desired place in the backyard, as most modern laptops offer several options to put their screens on TVs.
And for the final and "ultimate" option, Cooper proposes renting or buying an overhead projector. The projector will need to be connected to a laptop or portable Blu-ray or DVD player, and you will need to prepare a surface for projecting the image. Cooper says the best and quickest way to get the movie projected is to either shoot it onto the side of the house or strategically place a large white sheet in an appropriate place.
So whether your family plays a friendly game of night soccer or curls up under the stars and watches a movie, take advantage of all that the longer fall nights can offer. Darkness doesn't have to equal time indoors, so get everyone outside and enjoy.