Week 7: Venture into the Night
“Life begins at night” ― Charlaine Harris
As the days get longer and warmer its the perfect time to do something different by spending time engaging with the night and the all the adventures it provides.
Take A Night Walk
Taking a walk at night is so different than walking in daylight. It awakens the senses for a totally different adventure. For some, being out at night is an exciting adventure and for others the experience of being outside at night is a scary one. Taking night walks can help overcome fear of the night. This time of year provides a great opportunity to engage with nature.
Night Walking/Hiking Safety Checklist
Before venturing out on your night walk review this safety check list to make sure you have everything you need for a safe walk.
- Make sure to check the weather to be certain there is not a chance of a pop-up thunderstorm.
- Select a safe path that you know well.
- Dress in light-colored clothes or your favorite light colored PJs.
- Wear safe, comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
- Grab a flashlight or battery-operated lantern (make sure to check the batteries first).
- Do not venture out without a walking buddy!
Learn more about hiking with kids.
Take the Moon for A Walk
Take a walk in the moonlight. This is an especially fun walk to experience on a night when the moon is in the full moon phase but can be taken any night that the moon is visible.
- Read a Story. Before you head out on your moonlight walk, enjoy the book I Took The Moon For A Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Allison Jay.
- Bring a Guide. Print off this mini moon phases booklet to carry along with you on you moon walk.
- Walk and Observe. While walking, focus on the moon and discuss changes and talk about observations of how the moon changes during the year.
- Dance. Try “Dancing in the Moonlight” while on your walk with this classic hit.
- Make a Moon Snack. Finish off the moon walk adventure with some marvelous moon snacks:
Different as Night and Day?
What’s the difference between night and day? A lot!
- Read a Story. Before you head out on your day and night adventure, read the book Owl
Babies by Martin Waddell and talk about why some of us find nighttime scary.
- Take a Day and a Night Walk. Take the same walk during the day and at night.
- Take a walk during the day and create a map of the route identifying different points of interest along the way.
- During the walk use your senses to observe things like a bird’s nest, bird song, a busy anthill, a special tree or pollinators visiting flowers. Take note of the special things that make the spot unique.
- Then go back over the same route at night visiting the landmarks on your map and use your senses to detect what is different at night. Make a note.
- Make. A sun and moon craft. (via: Krokotak.com)
Creatures of the Night
Nocturnal animals are creatures that are active at night. How many native nocturnal animals can you name off the top of your head? Raccoons, foxes, owls, cats, bats...can you think of any more? These activities celebrate the sometimes misunderstood nocturnal animals that share our world while we are asleep.
- Read a Story. Read the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.
- Do Some Research. Learn about the owls of Delaware and the sounds they make.
- Take Another Night Walk. This time focus your senses on the animal sounds and activities.
- Embark on the night walk listening and looking for creatures of the night - owls, crickets, birds, dogs, fireflies and other creatures.
- Put on a Show. Perform a shadow puppet show featuring your favorite nocturnal animals.
- Learn how to make shadow puppets!
- Puppets can be cast on a wall inside or out, or you can use a tent! You just need a flashlight or lantern (or other safe light source).
- You can even add some night sounds to your production.
- Make an Owl-y Snack. WWhhhooo wants to create some owl snacks?
Let the Night Games Begin
Playing outside after dark can be enlightening. These games provide opportunities to experience the night in a fun way.
Firefly Hide and Seek
Use a small pocket flashlight for this fun version of hide and seek. One person is the firefly and hides in the dark while the other players count to 50. The firefly moves around from hiding spot to hiding spot turning the flashlight on and then off again every minute or so. When someone catches the firefly, they take a turn hiding with the light.
Cricket Hide and Seek
An entertaining game for players of all ages. Each hiding player needs two sticks to tap together. Have a few people hide themselves while the others count to 50. The hidden players must tap their two sticks together every 60 seconds. The seekers attempt to find them by listening for the tapping. The hiders can move around if they wish. The game ends when all the tappers are discovered.
Nighttime Reflector Hunt
Kids love the excitement of finding hidden items. Although this nighttime game takes a bit of advanced planning, the fun makes it well worth the effort. Before you get started, place glow sticks, reflectors or other glow-in-the-dark items in the yard or along a walking path. Seekers use flashlights to search for reflecting objects.
Bats and Moths
This game demonstrates how bats and moths use echolocation to locate things in the night. Watch this video to learn more about echolocation.
Stand in a circle and choose one person to be the bat, two are chosen to be moths and all other players are trees. Blindfold the bat and the moths and have them stand in the circle.
Rules of the game:
- The bat tries to catch the moths.
- The bat flies around the circle trying to catch the moths.
- The moth must try to evade the bat.
- Once the bat touches the moth the round is over and new participants are chosen for the game.
- When the bat calls out “bat" or claps once, the moth must answer “moth” or clap twice.
- If the bat gets close to the edge of the circle and bumps into the trees the trees can say "trees."
- The trees keep the bat and moth contained by holding their arms out to prevent escape from the circle.