5 Best Night Hike Activities for Any Age
The goal of a night hike is to build courage, help girls feel safe in natural surroundings, and share information about nocturnal animals, the senses they use at night, and how we can better develop our own senses and awareness of the dark.
Experiencing nature at night can be fun and exciting. At night, the world is full of sounds and smells much different than the daytime. Explain that in order to fully develop our night vision, girls will not be allowed to use flashlights. A red filter on your flashlight will allow you to search your bag or look at your notes while retaining your night vision. Begin the hike by encouraging girls to keep quiet and listen for night sounds so as not to scare away any animals.
A few tips for exploring nature at night with kids:
- Keep it short and simple. Since our kids are usually low on energy at the end of the day, we try to keep our nighttime exploring shorter than daytime activities.
- Dress for the weather. Even though daytime temperatures may be high, nights get cool fast, so be prepared with jackets and hats if needed.
- Be safe! Reflective clothing, glow sticks and/or flashlights are also important to help make sure others can see you out there!
Now the activities...
- Trust Hike - Girls test their group trust and individual courage by taking a blindfolded walk for a section of this hike, trusting the group leader and the person in front of them.
- Sound Hunt - Sound is important at night. Wildlife depend heavily on their hearing to find food or to stay away from predators. We can enhance our hearing as well, and "search" for sounds in the night.
- Cones & Colors - Eyes have cells called rods and cones. Cones help us see color (cones and color both begin with “C”), and rods help us see well in the dark. We have lots of cones in our eyes because we are active in the day and night. Nocturnal animals have mostly rods; therefore they are usually color blind, but can see well in the dark. You actually need light to be able to see colors, so seeing in color is not important when you’re a nocturnal animal.
- Animal Ears - Ask the group to think about the ears of animals like coyotes, bears, mountain lions, etc. What shape are they? Many animals have very large ears that they can position in different directions. These large ears help funnel sound into the inside of their ears so they can hear better.
- Moon Rocks - This activity is ALL FUN, and a little bit of science. It’s definitely a fan favorite. The spark given off by biting down on a wintergreen lifesaver is a safe and natural chemical reaction, giving off a small burst of energy that is visible to our eyes.
Get the full instructions for all 5 activities in this downloadable packet. This PDF instruction packet gives you step-by-step for each activity, plus discussion questions to ask the girls. Click here to get your free instructions!
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