Night Games

Capture the Flag

  • Evening game, outdoors
  • Equipment: 2 handmade flags on staffs 2' long; 2 different coloured sets of arm or headbands made of crepe paper. Formation: teams.
  • Formation: Divide the group into two teams. Identify each by a set of arm or headbands.

Set up a jail area (3-4 square yards) and a separate hiding spot for each flag. Jails are set up at opposite ends of a 5-20 acre area.

The object of the game is to penetrate the other team's area and capture their flag. A flag is 'captured' after it has been returned to the captor's jail area.

Prisoners are taken by having their arm or headbands removed by an opponent. Prisoners are taken to the jail of their captor's; then they wait there quietly until they are released. Prisoners can only be released when a member of their team (with arm or headband intact) runs through the jail in which they are being held captive. After their release, prisoners are given free escort back to a central spot near their end of the area. Here, they are issued a new arm or headband.

The game continues until a flag is captured, or time is up.

Note: Supervision at the jails and 'new arm or headband area' is important. Encourage teams to plan elaborate strategies of defence and offence.

Variation: try playing the game with three or four teams, each with its own jail area and hiding spot for their flag.

Smugglers and Spies

  • Evening game, outdoors
  • Equipment: Tiny pieces of paper with the following smuggled items and point values written on each:
    Chocolate - 50 points. Quantity: 10
    Sugar - 75 points. Quantity: 8
    Animal pelts - 100 points. Quantity: 8
    Gunpowder - 150 points. Quantity: 6
    Designs for new secret weapon - 300 points. Quantity: 3
    Map to buried treasure - 500 points. Quantity: 1
  • Formation: teams

Divide the group into two teams. Have each team put on its armbands. One team becomes the smugglers - the other the spies. After the rules of the game are given, each team retreats to separate ends of the playing area (3-20 acres with open woods is ideal for the game.)

The smugglers each receive the tiny pieces of paper, which they are going to try to carry into enemy (spy) headquarters. The spies set up their headquarters inside a 10' by 10' square area that has its definite boundaries. The scorekeeper sits inside spy headquarters.

After each team has been given the opportunity to devise a strategy, play begins. The spies fan out away from their headquarters and try to intercept smugglers as they attempt to take their goods inside.

When a smuggler gets caught (tagged), he must stand still and permit a one minute search of his person by the spy who caught him. If the spy cannot find the piece of paper within one minute (paper has to be hidden in external clothing layers), the smuggler is free to try to advance again into the headquarters. If the spy does find the 'loot', he takes the piece of paper into spy headquarters and gives it to the scorekeeper, while the smuggler returns to his headquarters to receive another piece of paper.

If a smuggler penetrates inside the spy headquarters, he gives his goods to the scorekeeper, and is escorted back to his own headquarters by a staff person or leader supervising the game.

The game continues for a set period of time. When it ends, goods (points) are totalled, and a winner is declared.

Whistle tag

  • Evening game, outdoors
  • Equipment: one whistle for each 'hunted' leader or staff member.
  • Formation: teams.

The group is divided into teams of 6-8 players. The leaders or staff members who are to be 'hunted' are given a two-minute head start into the playing area (5 acre wooded area is ideal).

Teams have to stay together during the entire game. Each team begins to 'hunt' the staff members, who are required to blow their whistles at one minute intervals (or variations which you may want to work out). Leaders may remain mobile, or seek a hiding place.

Teams try to touch as many staff members as possible within the time limit of the game. Captured staff are immediately freed to run and whistle again. The team who tags the most wins.

Variation: as a night game, using flashlights instead of whistles. Same rules apply.

Light - No light

  • Evening game, outdoors
  • Equipment: flashlight
  • Formation: scatter

The game is best in a large open wooded area.

Players line up at one end of the playing area, while one player, holding a flashlight, stands at the other end.

The object of the game is to move from one end of the playing area to the other, past the person holding the flashlight.

The player with the flashlight stands with his back to the other players. Every five seconds, he turns around, turns on the light and scans the area for three seconds. If a moving player gets caught by the flashlight beam, he has to return to the starting end. Stationary players may remain where they are.

The first person to successfully move past the 'flasher' becomes the light for the next round.

Variation: The player with the flashlight keeps the flashlight on, and continuously scans the playing area. Stalking players dress in dark clothes. If stalking players are caught, they must return to the starting end.

Find the Bell

  • Evening game, outdoors/indoors.
  • Equipment: a little bell that rings easily.
  • Formation: circle.

Have the group sit in a circle. Choose one person to sit in the centre of the circle.

The leader gives the bell to one of the players, who begins to pass it around the circle.

The object of the game is to pass the bell quietly so that the person in the middle cannot guess who is holding the bell. Players may not silence the bell by holding the clapper - they have to try to pass it carefully enough so that it does not ring.


  • Evening game, outdoors.
  • Equipment: 3 soccer balls painted white; 6 markers with reflectors attached (to make 3 goals).
  • Formation: teams.

Divide the players into three teams. On the playing field, set up three goals in the shape of a triangle.

The game begins with a jump ball in the centre of the field. All three balls are put into circulation at once and players try to move the ball through either of their opponents goals.

The balls may be rolled, kicked or thrown to teammates. No player may hold a ball longer than five seconds.

Teams devise strategies to protect their own goal, while trying to advance to score goals.





Listening Post

Here is another Night Scouting game which you can play indoors in the autumn. Collect a good lot of dry leaves, or branches with leaves on, that have been blown off the trees; you can find them in plenty on the pavements of a town, provided the weather has been dry for a spell.

Spread them on the floor near one end of the room but with gaps among them, and put one or two sentries, blindfolded, and armed with an electric torch, behind the barricade of leaves. Then turn out the lights, having lined up the other players at the far end of the room.

These players then have to try to pass through the barrier of crackly leaves without being heard by a sentry.

If a sentry hears a leaf or twig trodden on, he shines his torch in that direction; the player on whom the torch shines (if any) retires to the starting line, and begins again, "scoring " one point against himself.

An umpire can also note down one point to his sentry's credit, if there are two or more sentries. This game is really excellent practice for Night Scouting out-of-doors, when you may have to creep through a wood full of fallen leaves and bits of dead wood to capture a flag or get up to an animal.

It can also be played outdoors as a game, for practice. Litter a stretch of ground with obstacles, twigs, dixies, etc., and practice walking among them in the dark silently.




Creeping Up

A good stalking game will help you to get used to seeing in the dark, and also to moving quietly at night. Let one fellow stand in the center of a field, on a hillock, or where there is a natural skyline if possible. Send the rest off a hundred yards away, in any direction they like, away from the solitary spotter on the hillock. The umpire blows his whistle for the game to start, and squats down at the spotter's feet, out of his way.

The stalkers then start creeping as near the spotter as they can. When he sees what he thinks is a stalker, he points in that direction, and the umpire walks out in a straight line to the spot indicated. If a stalker is there, he must come in and squat down; or he may forfeit a "life" and go back and start again, which is the best way to get plenty of practice.

If no one is at the spot indicated to the umpire by the spotter, the spotter loses a point. The umpire should count his paces each time, and points can afterwards be given to the stalkers who crept up nearest to the spotter before being spotted.

As an addition to the game, when most of the stalkers have been spotted and hauled out of the game, or have lost three " lives " and cannot start stalking again, the umpire may order the spotter to shut his eyes while all the surviving stalkers move forward two yards. Then they lie low, and the spotter tries again to spot them.

Snatching the Lamps

Place the lamps in a straight line, and post a sentry five yards behind each lamp. The rest go off to an agreed distance, and on the umpire's whistle signal for the game to begin, they start to creep up towards the lamps. Their object is to crawl up and grab a lamp, and get fifteen yards away with it, without being named out loud by the sentry behind that lamp.

No stalker may go behind the line of lamps, but he may go anywhere he likes in front of that line, naturally avoiding the direct beams of the lamps as much as he can. There should be at least five yards between the lamps. The stalkers must not mask or cover their faces, though they may bend their heads down, turn up their overcoat collars, or walk backwards towards the lamps. The umpire returns each captured lamp to its place immediately. You will find that this game is not as easy for the sentries as you might think.

Spotting Your Foes

Going back to the subject of spotting enemies at night, here are a few hints which you will find useful. First, when looking out for an " enemy," try to face away from the moon. It is much easier to see anyone if you have the moon behind you.

Secondly, always remember the skyline. Anything may form a skyline : the brow of a hill, a wall, the line of tree-tops of a wood. Human or animal figures always show up against a skyline, unless the night is really dark; even then the moonlight or the stars make a skyline against which a figure may be discerned.

If it is absolutely necessary that you cross a skyline, lie down and crawl over very slowly. If you are watching a skyline in the hope or expectation of seeing an " enemy " cross it, select a place to watch where movements are most likely to show-against a distant light or row of lights (such as a railway station shows), or against a light patch in the sky, towards the moon, or the sky-glow of a town.

In strange country you may see the skyline of a dark mass of something or other, and want to know what it is. The skyline of a hill is generally smooth and regular; that of a wood is jagged, and also the shadows vary in intensity.

Hollows or bushes on a hillside will be darker than the rest of the surface of the hill. A level, straight skyline will be a railway embankment, probably with signal lights somewhere along it; or a canal embankment, with no signal lights.

Tell-tale Glimpses

Use your eyes to spot tell-tale things like railway signals, motor headlights on a road, a lighthouse on the coast, moonlight reflected from ripples in water caused by a silently passing boat, the blur of an "enemy" slipping over a skyline, the flash of moonlight reflected from a field-glass, the luminous dial of a wrist-watch, or the unnatural bulge of an enemy hiding up a tree, seen against the stars.

Use your ears for the sound of trains shunting in goods yards or thundering over a bridge, motor-cars slowing down to turn at a cross-roads, the clink of a boot heel on a loose stone, the alarm call of birds disturbed by a passer-by, the lowing of beasts in a farm building, the bleeting of sheep in a field, frightened by an intruder, or the barking of a dog when a stranger approaches.

In conclusion, here are a few more tips about using your ears when Scouting at night. Remember that sound travels upwards best, so that you will hear better at the top of a hill than at the bottom; or near the top of a wall than the bottom, if you are listening to what is going on on the other side of it.

Sound also travels well along water; if you lie on the bank of a stream or river with your ear as close as possible to the surface, you will be able to hear noises made quite a long way up-stream, the sounds being carried down to you by the flow of the water.

You can hear a human voice talking ordinarily, or the hoof-beats of a horse, about 150 yards away, on a fair night ; a group of people talking, or walking along a hard road, about 600 yards away. Sound travels at the rate of about 380 yards a second or about 250 yards for every beat of your pulse if normal.

You can check distances by sound if you can see anything that becomes visible at the same moment as the sound is made, such as (on a moonlight night) the puff of steam from a locomotive's whistle and the sound of the whistle, or the flash of a rocket bursting in the air and the sound of the bang

Blind Kim's Game

Those of you who think you are really hot stuff at Kim's Game may like to try this variation of it. You are all blindfolded, and then a number of articles are passed round to you as you sit in a circle. Your job is to discover by feeling or smelling it what each article is, and then to remember all the articles you have handled.

The umpire will fix a time limit for each boy to handle each article ; when he gives the word, the article you hold must at once be passed on to the next fellow on your left, while you take a new one from the player on your right.

When all the articles have been handled by all of you, they are put out of sight, and you take off your bandage from your eyes. You then have three minutes in which to write down the names of all the articles. Extra points will be given if you put them down in the order in which they came to you. It is not too easy!

Fog Walk

Here are a few more jolly games that you can play, indoors or outdoors, by way of practice for night scouting. In the game called " Fog Walk " one Scout is blindfolded, the others are not. They stand close round him in a ring, facing outwards, and at a signal from the umpire (Scouter or PL) they all walk straight ahead. Everyone must walk straight, and must count how many paces he walks, counting silently of course.

Each one may walk as many Paces as he chooses, but must keep count. The blindfolded fellow stays still. When all are again standing still, the umpire points at any player, who then holds up his hand or hands, and shows with his fingers how many paces he has walked. Then the umpire calls out his name and the number of paces, such as " Jim Smith, six."

The blindfolded Scout then has to guess in which direction Jim is standing, and take six paces in that direction, though he need not walk in a straight line. If he can then touch Jim, they change places and start the game again. If, however, he has failed, the umpire leads him back to his original place in the middle, and points to another fellow, who likewise signals the number of paces he has stepped, and the blindfolded bloke has another try. After three failures, all return to the middle and start again.

To make the game a little easier, if this is thought necessary, the player pointed at by the umpire may call out the number of paces himself, his voice guiding the hunter. Paces should always be of normal length.


The players all sit down in a circle, with one blindfolded fellow in the middle. He holds a wooden spoon in each hand. After he has been blindfolded and the word to begin has been given, he stands up, turns round three times, and then walks in any direction, feeling his way with his feet, until he meets with the feet of one of the seated players.

Then he feels the face and form of the seated player, but " feels " with the spoons only, and tries to guess who the player is. He must not touch him with his hands or fingers, or with anything except the backs of the wooden spoons. He is allowed three attempts to discover the fellow's name, and if he fails he must turn round and walk across the circle, and try again to identify another of the seated players.

When he guesses correctly, he changes jobs with the one that he has identified.

Animal Buff

All the patrol or troop stand in a fairly big circle, just holding hands at full arms' length. One in the middle is blindfolded, and holds a Scout Staff, or other long stick, in his hand. The circle of players move round a bit to confuse him, and then he points the staff in any direction.

The boy at whom it points must take hold of the end nearest him, and then the blindfolded one orders him to make some animal's or bird's particular noise, cow or pig or owl or cuckoo, or his own patrol call. When he has heard the sound, the blindfolded boy must say the name of the player who has made it. If he guesses right they change places ; if not, he tries again.

Listening Kim's Game

The S.M. or PL who is running this game should prepare beforehand a number of match-boxes, each of which contains some article or articles ; the boxes should be sealed up, and numbered. Such contents might include a halfpenny, a couple of matches, a few dried peas (not boiled! ), a lead bullet, a spoonful of flour, a spoonful of tea or sugar, two lumps of sugar, a button, a stump of lead pencil, a bit of chalk, a piece of bread, and so on. The boxes are passed round the circle of players, or set out on a table. Everyone may

shake them, try to guess the contents, and memorize them and the box number. When told, they go off and write down as many as possible. If this is too difficult to begin with, they may write them down at the time, instead of memorizing the numbers and articles; but it should be possible to add the memorizing after a bit of practice.

Listening Weight-Lifting

Prepare a number of parcels of various sizes, containing such things as a brick, a pound of butter, a pair of shoes, a lump of lead pipe, a packet of pins in a large cardboard box, and so on. Competitors are blindfolded, and the parcels are then handed to them, one by one; each player tells the umpire, who notes it down, his estimate of the weight of each numbered parcel.

Know Your Neighbour

This game helps the players learn each other's names and at the same time have some fun. It's a good 'ice-breaker' for the first night at camp.

One player is designated to be IT. He takes her place in the centre of the players, sitting in a circle in the dark.

IT suddenly flashes her flashlight on one of the players and asks "Who are your next door neighbours?" And then he flashes the light on the nearby neighbours.

If the player who was asked the question, can't name both neighbours correctly, he becomes IT.

If he does name them correctly, IT asks him "How is So and So?", naming either of the players.

If the reply is "OK", the players remain seated, but if the answer is "Not so good", all players must change seats.

While everyone is shifting IT tries to get a seat. If he succeeds, then the scout without a spot becomes IT


Until everyone is sure of the names, IT must give them time to learn the names of their neighbours before they shift.

Martians Invade Rocket Base

Barb Garber
44th Sparks/Guides
Guide Zone Co-editor
South District, Webster Division,Trillium Area
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Outdoor night game


Stones for bombs. Flashlight for laser beam.
Guides are sent out beyond a certain boundary, knowing the starting signal, and armed with a bomb for each Guide. At the signal they approach the Rocket Base with the intention of placing their bombs in the Rocket Base. Note: the bombs will explode if dropped or thrown. Leader is near the base and shines her laser beam. Anyone caught moving in the beam must relinquish her bomb, as it becomes useless, and return to the boundary for another. The game ends when ten bombs have been placed in the base.

Night Eyes

Jane Maddin
1st Orleans Pathfinders
Orleans, Ontario Canada


You need black cardboard, or construction paper, with the eyes of various animals cut out of reflective tape, glued on to the cardboard. The eyes need to be of the correct shape and size for the specific animal, and you need to mark on the cardboard the approximate height off the ground that the animal's eyes would be. (I would maptack, or laminate my cards, for reuse!) Each participant in the game is given a photocopied sheet with details about the various animals that she will spot, a picture of the eyes, and the height off the ground that they will be found.

Each girl will need a flashlight! Or at least each group of girls will need a couple.

Advance Prep:

The eyes need to be hung, or placed in the grass, or bushes, at the appropriate height before the stalking game begins so that the participants don't see you setting them up. Try to set things up so that the cardboard will not move in the wind and twirl around so that the reflective part of the cardboard is not facing the trail.


Guides and Up.


I would divide the girls into groups of 5 or 6. You need to do this when it is quite dark, otherwise the eyes do not reflect back.

The girls are to go out in groups and find the 10 or 12 eyes that are on their list. The eyes should be along a trail, so that they can be found fairly easily and so that the girls do not get lost. The end of the trail, or turning point if it is not a loop, should be well marked.


Night Lines

Jane Maddin
1st Orleans Pathfinders
Orleans, Ontario Canada

This game must be played outdoors at night. It must be dark!

Equipment needed:

Each team must have a flashlight

The person leading the game must have made up before hand, 8 cards per team, with a design on the card in light reflecting tape. The designs could be three lines, 2 triangles, 4 rectangles, one circle, etc.

Maptack or laminate the cards in advance as well so as to be able to use the game again!


I'd say Guides and up.


The cards must be hidden, in a certain area while no one else is watching.

The rules:

Each team is assigned a kind of card that they are looking for.

The boundaries of the game must be described to all the players.

Each team sends out one member at a time, with the flashlight to find, and bring back one of their cards. (At that time they may find cards of the other teams; just leave them undisturbed.)

When the first team member finds one card, they return and hand the flashlight over to the next member of their team, who hands the flashlight over to the next team member when they find one card etc.

The first team to find all their cards wins.

This was a lot of fun. The Guider who set it up for us, had put all the cards at ground level on snow, so the white background of the card did not show up. Black cards would work quite well too. The cards were about 5x7, so recipe cards could be used, and I believe that you can buy the reflective tape at Canadian Tire.

Have a good time!

Night Stalking and Daring Rescue Game

Julie Hawke
695th Toronto Girl Guides

The idea was that you had to rescue a member of your patrol (we used a stuffed scarcrow named "Hank", maybe you could get some uniform pieces from an army surplus store and call it "Corporal Hank" or something) who has been taken prisoner.

Hank is in a prisoner of war camp well behind enemy lines, which is heavily guarded by armed guards (leaders with flashlights). Each girl gets a "stick" (a popcicle stick), which is her "life". If they are caught by the flashlight beam, they must give the leader their stick and then they have to lay down and wait to get rescued by team members who have to assist her back to the "field hospital" where she can get a new "life" from the "doctor" (another leader).

Once they get to Hank, they have to get him back over enemy lines and back to the field hospital. If they get caught carrying Hank, they have to leave him where they were "shot" by the flashlight, and wait to be rescued. Depending on the age and number of your girls, you can make it more difficult, by say, adding a physical barrier at the enemy line (we had a four foot fence to climb) or giving Hank an injury, like a broken leg, which they have to perform first aid on before they can move him.

This game is a great for teaching stalking skills because they have to go undected and is good for teaching team work, because it is hard to carry Hank alone, and those "hurt" need help getting to the doctor. Remind the girls at the start of the game that a good solider never leaves a friend injured in battle, and that if they come across someone who is "hurt" they have to take them back to the hospital, they can't just keep going.


This is another Hide and Seek night game - best to wear dark clothes! One person has a flashlight (on) and is at home base. She counts out loud to 25 while the others hide. She then goes out and searches. Meanwhile the others try to reach base without being seen. If "it" sees you and calls your name you're caught!

I have seen girls 'switch' etc. to 'fool' it.

Have fun!


Two girls have flashlights (off) - they are "it". Other girls hide while "its" count to 50. "Its" then walk around in the dark to find girls. If they find someone they ZAP them (by flicking on their flashlight). Once ZAPPED the girl then takes the flashlight (now off) and she becomes "it" and continues to look for other girls. Meanwhile the girl that had been "it" has a chance to hide.




Owl Sight

Before it gets dark, have the children look through a pair of binoculars. Everything will seem a little brighter because the binoculars collect more light than human eyes can alone. Owl eyes are 100 times more sensitive to light than human eyes.

Firefly Flashers

Beforehand, create two matching sets of index cards with coded signals of dots and dashes. Each card has an exact match in the other set but no two cards within any set will be the same. Hand out a card and a flashlight to each of the children. Have the children practice making short and long flashes with their flashlight. Explain that fireflies find a mate by being attracted to a particular flashing pattern.

Soundless Walk and Fox Ears

Participants block their ears with their fingers or palms and proceed along a route for about 100 yards. After a brief discussion of participants’ reaction to walking without hearing, present fox ears, in which participants heighten their hearing by cupping their hands behind their ears. With ears cupped, the participants turn their heads toward different sounds as they walk back along the route.

Spotting Deer

Discuss that animals like whitetail deer, cottontail rabbits, and skunk have prominent displays of white fur because even on a moonless night the white will show up at a distance. Next, in the yard or in a field, the children pretend to be deer and spread out as they browse. At some point, the leader flashes a white cloth (deer tail) and the group must return to the leader as quickly as possible.

Next, give white fabric to two or three of the children. Indicate that another child is a coyote. The coyote’s job is to try to tag one of the deer. To catch the deer unaware, the coyote should count to fifty before sneaking up on the herd. The adult deer (the ones with the white cloth) must pretend to browse but they must also look for any danger. The first deer to see danger and raise their tail, should lead the group away from danger. Deer do not run off in every direction. They stay together.