Daylight Savings is coming to an end and the months of darker, longer nights are upon us.
If you’re a parent, you may be in a panic about your kids’ sleeping patterns and outside play opportunities. Not only does the time change mess with your children’s sleep schedules, but they don’t seem to get enough outside activity to really wear them out. After all, by the time your kids get home from school, have a snack and do their homework, it’s already dark outside.
If you plan ahead for these two things, you can easily transition your child schedules to include healthy sleep as well as healthy outdoor activities.
Depending on your child’s age, start to slowly adjust his or her sleep schedule a few days or weeks before the DST shift. Even older kids and teens will need some encouragement to start adjusting their bedtimes by ten to fifteen minutes every few days before the time change. This can also be a good time to focus on better bedtime habits, like less screen time before bed to help their sleep quality. Since it will be lighter in the morning, make sure their windows have shades or curtains that you can pull to block the morning light for that extra hour of sleep if needed.
It’s also a good idea to plan ahead to find exciting outside activities to play in the dark months ahead. Start by gathering a few fun games and basic supplies for the late fall and winter moths. Glow in the dark games, flashlights, glow sticks, neon duct tape, even head lamps are a great incentive for kids to get out and play no matter when the sun sets. Ensuring that your kids and teens get plenty of outside activity not only helps their physical and mental well-being, but it also helps them sleep better.
Try some of these novel ideas to fuel your outdoor night play:
All is takes to play this game is a pocket flashlight that can easily be flicked off and on. It works best with a small flashlight with a beam that is not too bright and easy to spot. Select one person to be “it” and then have them run and hide in the dark. This person is the “firefly” and can move from hiding place to hiding place flashing their light every minute or so. The other players race around to find the firefly. When they catch them, the game is over. The first person to spot the firefly is “it” for the next round.
This Bocce set was made to play after the sun goes down so it’s perfect for your backyard once Daylight Savings ends. The balls are made from a durable plastic that is translucent so the LED light shines through making them glow-in-the-dark. Once you throw them, you can still easily see them from 100 feet away. The set includes eight glowing bocce balls – two green, two blue, two red, two yellow, as well as one glowing jack and a nylon carrying case with handles. It also includes batteries, instructions and, most importantly, a tape measure so there are no feuds over who won the game.
When you need an activity to get some energy out of your kids, Glow Battle is a great go-to. It is perfect for dark nights, easy to set up, and way more fun than staring at a screen. Players use harmless, glowing swords to team up and attack down their opponents, and send them running back to their base to “recharge” before they get hit again. If your child loves lightsaber toys, he/she will love our glowing Glow Battle swords. Teams are distinguished with light-up bracelets and bases are marked with LED lights. This game incorporates teamwork with strategy, and futuristic lights to make it a fun choice, either outdoors or indoors where you have some open space. Available here.
You can make just about any outdoor game more fun with a package of glow sticks. Volleyball is the perfect example. Give all of the players four glow sticks – one for each wrist and ankle. Then, activate a few more glow sticks and insert them into a blown up beach ball. You can play with a net like a real volleyball game or just in your yard where you have space. Watch their excitement as the kids pass the glowing ball back and forth to each other while trying not to let it touch the ground.
Kids will be so excited when it starts getting dark earlier if they have their own headlamps to wear. You can find them at major retailers like Walmart or Amazon and you can purchase them individually or in multi-packs. You can use them to play any variation of tag such as freeze tag where players divide into teams and try to freeze as many players as they can on the other team until there’s only one team left standing. Regardless of how you play, headlamps are a great way to have fun at night and a great incentive for kids to get out and get moving.
Some classic games really are more fun in the dark, and this is one of them. It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Players split into teams and then work together to break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rulebook. As an extra bonus, each kit includes 12 game variation cards that offer even more ways to play Capture the Flag, as well as other games. Available here.
The perfect outdoor game for older kids and teens, Jazzminton is the ultimate paddle ball game. And, you can purchase extra LED birdies that you can use to play it in the dark. The kit includes two fluorescent wooden racquets, two yellow birdies and two red birdies. It allows you to play a slow and easy game with the yellow birdies or a fun and faster game with the red ones. Look for the game and the birdies here.
Don’t panic about the end of Daylight Savings Time. If you plan ahead and are ready for the longer nights, you just might find some really fun new activities for your whole family. Once you move back those clocks, be ready with a supply of glow games, activities and a little creativity. Just about everything is more fun when it glows. Glow sticks and music are great for a glow in the dark dance off, neon duct tape or glow in the dark paint are an easy way to make a game of neon hopscotch or tic tac toe. Before you know it, their sleeping schedules will be back to normal.
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