Now that my kids are back in school, I feel a bit wistful of our carefree summer days. We went to the beach, chased butterflies in the backyard, and visited to every park in a 5-mile radius to our house.
My kids, on the other hand, love the fall. They like the shorter days and earlier sunsets (I, of course, beg to differ) because they love the idea of being up at night. It doesn’t matter how much I explain that 7 p.m. is the same time whether it’s full daylight or pitch black outside. They just think they’re up past their bedtime.
So while the days get darker earlier and colder (I know I shouldn’t complain, but I am from Hawaii), we like to find new ways to have fun indoors.
Here are a few of our family-fun night activities:
1. Kid/Parent Date Night
My kids love one-on-one time with mom and dad, and changing it up to a “date night” out just makes it even more special. We’ve done everything from miniature golf to laser tag to watching the latest movie at a theater. We try to keep it focused on spending quality time together rather than shopping or buying goods – and I’m often using coupons or discounts I find online to keep costs down.
I admit we’re not big on outdoor camping, but my kids love camping indoors – especially in my room. They’ve grown so big that they can’t fit in my bed anymore. So we set up a tent with sleeping bags in my room so they can camp in. We’ll stay up late eating treats, make shadow puppets, and tell ghost stories like a real camping trip, but I still get to sleep in my bed at the end of the night.
3. Nature Night Walk
This is a kid-favorite. Once the stars come out, we take the kids on a night walk around the neighborhood. They really enjoy the feeling of being outside when everyone else is indoors (again, the forbidden stay-up-too-late thing). We’ll look at constellations, observe phases of the moon, watch cars go by with their lights on, and listen to the cacophony of crickets, frogs, and other creatures. When it gets cooler, sometimes we’ll opt for a night drive instead.
This is great especially during the winter when holiday lights go up around our neighborhood. We tell our kids we’re going “exploring” and try to find new areas to explore to instill a love for adventure.
Keep reading the rest of my article at Redbook’s Mamarama blog.