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Nighttime outdoor family activities for summer

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Have fun when the sun goes down

The fun of a summer day doesn't have to end when the moon starts to rise. Spend time bonding with your family during fun night activities.

Get glowing

Glow in the dark ringtoss game | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Momma Did It

It's amazing how many fun games you can come up with using inexpensive glow sticks that you can find at nearly any hobby or dollar store. We love Alison of Momma Did It's fun glow-in-the-dark ring toss game and glow-in-the-dark hopscotch ideas. Empty water bottles with various colored glow sticks tucked inside also make great pins for some outdoor bowling.

Grab a flashlight

Boy with flashlight | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Mike Harrington/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A a few flashlights can really brighten up traditional kids' games like tag and hide-and-seek as well as a simple stroll around your neighborhood or a hike along a local nature trail. The flashlights should be bright enough to give everyone in the family a clear visual of the path ahead, and bring extra batteries just in case. To avoid the "It's my turn to hold the flashlight" debacle, buy mini ones so everyone in the family can carry their own.

Take in a flick

EatSeeHear outdoor movie events | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: EatSeeHear

There may or may not be a drive-in theater in your town, but luckily the concept of outdoor movies has not altogether died. Take EatSeeHear in Los Angeles, for example, which premieres movies, along with live entertainment and food trucks, at outdoor locations such as local high schools. Or check out the offerings at your local water park —  "dive-in movies" are a popular event at Wet'nWild in Phoenix, where guests can watch a movie while relaxing in an innertube in the giant wave pool.

Host your own backyard movie premiere party >>

Go camping... without leaving home

Spruce Point Inn stargazing | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Spruce Point Inn Resort and Spa

Pitch a tent in your backyard or simply drag some sleeping bags out of storage and sleep out under the stars. Take turns telling ghost stories and stargazing.

Stephanie Seacord of Spruce Point Inn Resort and Spa blogs about the simple joy of stargazing with your kids during summer nights, saying that "there’s still tradition at work in the way knowledge is handed down, one generation to the next." Do some research on the constellations or current meteor displays to make the most of your stargazing experience with your family.

It may be too hot for a campfire in most parts of the country, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on an essential part of camping — the s'mores. Just microwave the chocolate and marshmallow for a few seconds, then press them gently between the graham crackers, or use chocolate spread and marshmallow fluff for "unroasted" s'mores sandwiches, one of my family's favorite outdoor treats.

Help children connect with nature this summer >>

Seek out small town carnivals

Grocery store parking lot carnival | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Jennifer, Jennifer

Don't wait for the state fair; check out the smaller versions sprinkled around your town. When the sun goes down, Jennifer of Jennifer, Jennifer and her family "love to attend grocery store parking lot carnivals. They usually come? from spring to summer in the barrio of Oklahoma City. We have fun riding rides and playing carnival games. We love to win the giant,? sawdust-filled stuffed animals. It's become a tradition for our family.? We always stop at the Mexican food trucks for carne asada and a Jarrito. It?'s the best time ever.?"

More summer family fun

10 Ways to make learning fun this summer
Fun summer ice cube crafts for kids
Get your kids off the couch and outdoors this summer

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