With the kids out of school and the days so much longer, I’ve been trying to make summer extra fun for them, which means extending bedtimes way past their normal time and heading out for nighttime adventures. Seriously, there are so many fun things to do with kids when it’s dark (even though admittedly, I find them sleeping soundly in their beds very fun. Ha).
As a glasses wearer, this has all been made so much easier for me thanks to our newest sponsor, ZEISS DriveSafe, which can actually give you better vision at night. I’m not sure if it’s my age (cough 40 cough) or what, but driving at night time, or even in low light conditions, especially if there’s any sort weather involved, has become a little bit of a challenge for me.
But over the last few weeks since I’ve been wearing these glasses, I have to say, I see much more clearly, which makes everyone much safer when they’re in the car with me, and makes me much more excited to keep everyone up for some late night frolicking. Plus, they’re cute (if I do say so myself).
Here, 10 fun nighttime activities for kids (and the whole family, really) that let you be the fun parent, and honestly, might just bring back those awesome summer moments you had as a kid too.
1. Take in a drive-in movie
Surprise! There are still lots of drive-in movie theaters around the country, over 300 or so to be exact, and it can be so much fun to pull up in front of a big screen and chow down on popcorn in the comfort of your own car (don’t forget the car vac, though). If you don’t have a drive-in movie theater near you, there’s always the option of going to a later night movie in a theater, which for my kids who tend to get taken to matinees is a real treat.
2. Go see fireworks. Real ones.
Sure, you can always catch fireworks displays on television, but there’s something super special about seeing them in person. We are rarely up that late, so for my kids, it’s a big deal to get to go see fireworks (just don’t forget the bug spray).
Even though the 4th of July has already passed, you can still find lots of local municipalities offering them on a weekly basis, as well as beach towns, amusement parks and more. Plus, Labor Day is right around the corner and there are plenty of celebrations planning fireworks. And hey, if you bring the camera, here’s how to take great photos of them so you can remember them long after the few minutes are over.
[image: johnny silvercloud/flickr]
3. Take a stargazing walk
The summer time is the best time of year to see the stars, so now’s the perfect time to head out to a local park or an open field near you to take a look up in the sky. While a a few years old, this stargazing resource for kids still has super helpful information on what to look for and what you’ll need, or print out this star map, which allows you to search for which constellations will be most easily seen on the month and year you’re going.
Also, we love the free SkyView app (above) which gives you all the constellations (as well as educational information about them), right on your smart phone or tablet.
4. Head to the zoo
With a bunch of animal lovers in my house, spending the evening at our local zoo would be the best surprise ever. Many zoos across the country, including the San Diego Zoo, the Birmingham Zoo, and our own Philadelphia Zoo (above), offer cool late night programs for guests and members that can give you a whole different experience than you might get during the day.
Guests can enjoy guided hikes through the zoo, fun concerts or learning activities, and yes, even stay overnight.
5. Take them out to the ball game
Sports fan or not, there’s something so fun sitting in the middle of a huge baseball stadium cheering for your local team. These days, there are not shortage of kid-friendly activities at baseball parks, from carousels and playgrounds, to special kid nights where they get to run the bases or get free goodies.
A great tip is to check out your local minor league or double A team like our local Trenton Thunder (above) where tickets are a lot cheaper and events are often very family friendly.
From our sponsor
From clear vision during the day, to better vision in low light conditions or at night, ZEISS DriveSafe can help you feel safer while you’re driving. In fog, rain, and at dusk, these lenses reduce glare from oncoming cars or street lights, and give you easy refocusing between the road, your dashboard, and mirrors. And there’s no separate pair of glasses needed just for driving. ZEISS DriveSafe can be worn all day and at night with comfort, so you can focus on what’s most important: Keeping your family safe on the road.
To learn more about ZEISS DriveSafe and find an eye doctor near you, head over to their website.
6. Hit a local carnival
There are no shortage of small local carnivals near me all summer long, whether it’s a church or school or heck, even in the mall parking lot. With safety issues in mind, of course, my kids love playing the games and riding the not-so-scary rides. And I love eating the funnel cake.
Sure, you’ll drop some change on the tickets, but often, it’s supporting a good cause and the memories of them almost puking after riding the Scrambler are priceless.
7. Attend an outdoor concert
Our community has an outdoor concert series all summer long, like this one at the Heritage Conservancy near me, and while the music might not exactly be my cup of tea every single time, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get outside and support local musicians, which I was, back before I had kids. Plus, it’s a great way to expose your kids to all different kinds of music.
You can search your local listings for dates, times, and performers, most of which I find are extremely family friendly. Pack some drinks, snacks, and chairs, and if it’s anything like I’ve experienced, your dancing shoes.
8. Drive to a local park for flashlight tag
One of my own favorite childhood memories is my parents letting me stay up late to play flashlight tag with my friends, so how cool to be able to pass that down to my kids. You’ll want to check the closing time of your local park, then gather up a bunch of flashlights, and maybe a couple of friends and neighbors to play too.
If you’re not familiar with flashlight tag, it’s actually a combination of tag and hide and seek, which means you might want to keep yourselves in a smaller area, especially if you’ve got younger kids in the mix. And don’t forget about other fun nighttime summer games, like capture the flag and ghosts in the graveyard.
[image: emily stanchfield/flickr]
9. Take a nighttime hike (and catch fireflies!)
My kids love catching fireflies (and releasing them, of course), and a nighttime hike is the perfect way to search for them and explore your local surroundings. Whether it’s just a walk around your neighborhood or taking a drive to an actual hiking trail (like these hikes in Los Angeles), this activity is the perfect combination of fun and educational, plus getting a little exercise in the mix too.
The Pioneer Settler (image above) has great tips for catching fireflies. Just make sure you’ve got a jar with holes in the lid, plus a wet paper towel inside, and know that you can really only keep them for a day or two at most before you need to let them go.
10. Go to the ice cream shop. In pajamas.
Sometimes it’s that one night you let them hop in the car in their pajamas and get an ice cream cone (maybe the waffle cone this time?) that they’ll talk about over and over and over again. Do it. You’ll be glad you did.
Thanks so much to our sponsor ZEISS Better Vision and their DriveSafe lenses for helping parents (and anyone who wears glasses, really) feel safer in the car. To find an eye doctor near you, visit their website, plus get more information on how they work.