5 Awesome Nighttime Activities for Geeky Families

astronomyScrambling for things to do at home during the wintertime, when the sun sets so dang early?

Well, here’s a list of my top 5 nighttime activities for every geek in the family to enjoy!

The days are only now starting to get longer, and hanging out with the family after work when it’s dark outside can seem a bit restrictive. Most of us tend to happily fall back on that good ol’ geek pastime of settling in on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and binge-watching Dr. Who.

I’m not saying that’s a bad idea (in fact, that sounds like a plan for tonight!), but why not spread your horizons with something new to do? Even though it may seem like your options are horribly limited by the absence of sunlight, there’s a huge number of awesome activities to engage the whole family in. Here’s a look at six of the most fun!

Top 6 Nocturnal Activities for the Whole Geeky Clan

6. Telling Ghost Stories Around the Fire

scary storiesIf you’ve got a backyard, and it’s not too cold (or if you’ve got some snuggly-warm wardrobe items for everyone), go build a fire.

Here are a couple of articles on how to build a serious fire pit on your property:

Alternatively, you can use a camping stove or even build a small blaze in your indoor fireplace (if it’s too cold, or you don’t have enough room or desire to dig a good-sized pit).

Once you’ve got the fire to a comforting roar, it’s time to break out the ghost stories. The best stories are the ones you know from memory or make up on the spot (any aspiring writers out there???), but you can have just as bone-chilling and heart-warming an evening by reading stories from your favorite book.

Need a place to start? Here are some of my favorite ghost story collections:

And if you or your little geeks aren’t big on scary stories, take this opportunity to read anything. And always try to get your little guy or gal to read something to you at some point!

5. Seeing the Full Moon at White Sands

white sandsThis one’s a little difficult if you don’t live pretty close to the area, but even if you don’t, it’s worth thinking about taking a family vacation to this naturally magical place.

White Sands National Monument is located in south-central New Mexico and features a desert of sand that’s white as the proverbial driven snow.

Why is it white? Well, it’s kind of a long explanation, but in short: the sand is actually crystals of gypsum that would very quickly dissolve in the rain of another climate, but in New Mexico, it stays eternally looking like the set of some science fiction flick set on a distant and alien planet.

The best part is that on full moon nights, entry to the park is FREE. And really, there’s no better time to catch a glimpse of White Sands at night than by the full light of la luna.

Definitely worth the trip and definitely one of the coolest nighttime activities for geeky families interested in the wonder of natural science! Check out the White Sands official website here.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

3. Catching Fireflies

firefliesDo you live in an area where fireflies and lightning bugs dot the night sky with their natural luminescence? You do? Well, heck, get on out there with the family and see if you can’t catch a few!

Catching fireflies has long been a favorite family activity for so many of my friends. Sadly, there were no lightning bugs where I grew up (just mosquitoes…), but I’ve always wanted to do this!

Get a jar or plastic box with lots of holes in the top, hand them out to your kids and see who can collect the most! It’s a lot of fun and also teaches your kiddos about patience and gives them an appreciation for the natural wonders of Mother Nature. If you do decide to keep the bright bugs instead of letting them go, though, be sure to release them in the morning, or else they’ll die.

And then you’d be forced to have what may prove to be a very uncomfortable conversation with your little geek…

(Photo courtesy Judd Patterson via io9)

2. Back Porch Stargazing

stargazingWhether you use a telescope, a pair of binoculars or even your own two eyes, stargazing is an amazing way to pass the long evening hours.

One of my wife’s favorite memories of her grandfather was when he used to take her outside and show her the constellations. So why not make some memories of your own with your little geeks?

It doesn’t matter if you know squat about astronomy, either. You can take this opportunity to learn yourself! Here are a couple of awesome books that will help you and your kids learn more about the stars in our night sky:

And if you do want to pick up a telescope to get an even closer view, check out these affordable models that are perfect for the whole family:

The night sky remains a mystery to so many of us, so take this opportunity to unravel its secrets with a little help from your fam! (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

1. Outdoor Movie-Viewing

Outdoor movieOkay, so all these things sound really great to you, but you’d still rather watch Dr. Who, huh? Well, okay, but how about you do it in your backyard!

If you live in an environment that won’t freeze the snot in your nostrils when you step outside, set up your own sit-in movie theater on your back lawn. All you need is a white sheet that can be hung up and pulled taut and a projector. Here are our favorites on the market right now:

(Photo courtesy TBarM)

There you go!

No need to let the absence of the sun send you and your geeky family into a downward spiral of Vitamin-D-less depression. Take a cue from this list and have a grand old time with a new activity or two!

What’s you favorite nighttime family activity? Anything you do that’s not on the list? Please, share with the class!

Oh! And how could I forget this most famous of lunar activities???


Shame on me.

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About Peter Diseth

Geek-tician and Sci-Fi-nancier, Peter has been honing his research for Geeks Raising Geeks for better than three decades. He makes a living creating web content for individuals and businesses, both local and international. He's also a veteran actor of stage and screen, and doing this makes "making a living" worthwhile. Peter is also the sole creator of NewsAttire.com (a satirical news blog in the vein of The Onion) and a once-contributor to WhatCulture.

Peter lives in New Mexico with the three loves of his life: his wife Kate, his kitty Kitty, and his vast library of well-loved and well-worn genre fiction.

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