Let’s get one thing straight––play isn’t just for kids. It’s a vital part of our sense of joy, creativity, and freedom. Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to kick off those adult shoes, return to our childhoods (if we’re not still there), and learn the best games to play outside at night to have fun, and why it’s still important when you’re a grown-up.

Why play matters


For children play performs numerous functions; it helps them to understand the world, discover new things, have fun, and relax. But did you know, play is equally as important for adults? Here’s why.


Improves brain function and learning

Just like learning a new language, reading a book, or even engaging in a game of chess, play keeps our brains ticking and learning new information. And, in fact, this makes us less likely to have Alzheimer's disease. Non-formal education methods, which use play, have been proven to be effective in promoting adult learning.

Keeps us young and gives us energy

No one likes to feel old before their time; play is one way to stay young, active, and fun. So, give yourself a little vitality and get gaming.

Boosts creativity

When we get stuck in a rut, no matter whether it’s at work or school, our creativity gets stifled. Progression in a society is built on creativeness, and this is a characteristic that play charges.

Reduces stress

Now that you’re relaxing and having fun, your brain is releasing endorphins, and that makes you feel even better. These feel-good chemicals have a stress-reducing effect on your mind and body that continues even after you stop playing.

Helps us to connect with others

As we play we lower our inhibitions and become more socially open, this helps us to better connect and build bonds with others. Laughter and working together help us develop empathy and trust, which is why play makes a tremendous connection-building activity.

Our top 5 fun games to play at night outside

Now that you know why you should play, here how. These are the best games to play outside in the dark with your friend, colleagues, and children.

1. Hide and Seek

hiding place

Grab that flashlight and let’s get going. Nighttime hide and seek works almost exactly the same as the daytime version. There is one seeker, and many hiders who run and find a good spot to conceal themselves. After the count of ten, the seeker should use their flashlight to ‘catch’ the hider by shining a light on them.

2. Treasure hunt


Create treasures by adding small LED lights to the bag, so they are visible in the dark but hide them well enough, so they cannot be openly seen. When the group is searching for the clues, players use flashlights to be able to read them and find the next piece of the puzzle.

3. Glow in the dark bowling

bowling in the dark

All you need are some bowling pins, a ball, a flat surface such as concrete or tarmac and a little glow in the dark paint; and you’re ready to create your own psychedelic bowling alley. This is one of those fun games to play outside in the dark that brings people together with a little competition and fun.

4. Spotlight charades


Like inside charades, one person receives a card with a movie, book, tv, song, or famous person on it. Standing in the ‘spotlight,’ the glow of the flashlight, the other players guess what is on the card as the star of the stage acts it out.

5. Campfire stories

campfire stories

The history of storytelling goes way back; it’s a classic for a good reason. Terrifying tales help us bond, and we can even learn more about our culture from these horrifying legends, which is why this is one of the best scary games to play at night outside on a dark, dark night. But remember, if little ones are involved, don’t make those stories too frightening.

Safety tips for fun games to play outside in the dark

Playing outside at night sure is fun, but safety is also important too, ensure yours by following these steps:

  1. Know your playing field––save your nighttime games for an area you know well so that you can minimize unnecessary hazards.
  2. Don’t stray too far––limit the playing field, so everyone stays safe.
  3. Create a buddy system––make sure no-one gets lost by pairing them up with a buddy; look out for one another.
Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
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