Round up some friends for a night full of inexpensive, old-fashioned fun playing outdoor night games! We've got ideas for some old favorites plus new ones that will keep everyone active and having a great time.

Image of a family of four playing tag in a field. They are laughing and running. - Fun Cheap Or Free

Oh, those summer nights…there's nothing else like them! When the sun starts to set and the heat finally starts to fade, that's the time to have some fun outside. Plus, with gas prices and inflation putting the squeeze on pocketbooks, it's the perfect time to stay close to home as well.

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If you're looking for some cheap entertainment, plus a great way to strengthen bonds with neighbors, family, and friends, we've put together a list of our favorite outdoor night games that kids, teens, and even grown-ups will enjoy!


Old-School Night Games

Image of seven children in a meadow silhouetted against the setting sun. They are holding hands and jumping while playing outdoor night games. - Fun Cheap Or Free

You've likely heard your parents or grandparents talk about some of the games they played when they were kids. While these games can obviously be played during the day, something about doing it as the light fades away just makes it more fun! Try some of these games for a sense of nostalgia, and a whole lot of fun!

Blind Man's Bluff

One player is blindfolded and tries to catch one of the others. Anyone “caught” has to become the one with the blindfold. Set up parameters for players, such as the backyard or within a certain area of a park.

Kick The Can

You need an empty can of some sort and open space.

Place the can in the center of the space and decide who is “it” first. This person is to guard the can from being kicked over.

The person who is “it” closes their eyes and counts while the others hide. He or she then tries to seek out the hidden players and tag them, all while trying to continue to protect the can from being kicked.

Anyone tagged by “it” goes to “jail” and has to wait there until someone manages to kick over the can and frees all the jailbirds and the game starts over with a new person as “it”.

Ghost In The Graveyard

Determine the area of play (could be one yard, several yards, areas of a park, etc.) and a “home base”.

One person is the “ghost” and hides while the others cover their eyes and count down the hours until midnight (“One o'clock, two o' clock…) Once midnight is reached, players yell, “Midnight, midnight, I hope I see a ghost tonight!”. Players then spread out, looking for the hidden “ghost”.

Once the “ghost” is discovered, the player who found them shouts, “Ghost in the graveyard!!”. This prompts the “ghost” to jump out and try to tag someone (the person who discovers them can be declared “safe” if the group would like) before they reach home base, making that player the new “ghost”.


Games For A Younger Crowd

If you've got younger kids joining the fun, these games might be a little more up their alley:

  • Classic Hide-and-Seek – One person is “it”, closes their eyes and counts while the others hide. Then “it” seeks to find them! Last one found wins!
  • Tag – we particularly like Freeze Tag or Blob Tag. Not familiar with Blob Tag? When the person who is “it” tags someone, they have to join hands and run together. Now they are both “it”, and continue to tag others and have friends join in their human chain and run together until there is only one left standing!
  • Scavenger hunt – Create a list of items to be gathered. The person with the most in the allotted period of time (or done first) wins.
  • Red Light, Green Light – Have one person stand at the end of a large space with their back to other players, who are lined up at the other end. The person says, “Green light!” while facing away from them. The players run to try to tag the person who is “it”. But, at any moment the person can yell, “Red light!” and turn around. All players must freeze, and anyone who moves has to go back to the starting line. This continues until someone manages to tag “it” and the game starts over.

Neon Night Games

Image of a person's hands with multiple colorful glowing bracelets on on arm, plus more glow sticks in hand. - Fun Cheap Or Free

What's better than playing games outside at night with all your friends? Glow-in-the-dark night games, of course!!

Traditional outdoor games can be easily transformed into neon night games with the help of simple glow sticks. Wait until it gets mostly dark, then give those babies a crack, put them on, and get playing! Some fun ideas for this are:

  • Tag
  • Capture The Flag – be sure to get two colors of glow sticks so people can tell the teams apart.
  • Kick The Can
  • Ghost In The Graveyard

There are also yard games specifically made to be played at night. So fun! Check out some of these options to blow your kids' minds:


Did you play night games as a kid? What are some of your favorites?

We hope this has given you some ideas on easy ways to create unforgettable memories this summer!

We've got plenty of ideas that are fun, cheap, or free! Take a look at some of these posts:

Party on!