Nighttime during the summer takes on a whole new feel. The insects buzz a symphony of noises, energy from the just-set sun lingers in the warm air and, even though it’s getting late, you just want to stay outside a little bit longer. (Come on Mom, five more minutes.)
Enjoying the summer doesn’t only mean taking daytime excursions to the lake or picnicking at lunch. Summer evenings can be just as, if not more, fun. Reconnect with your 8-year-old self with these four (completely free!) activities that were made for summer evenings. They’re guaranteed to make you a little giddy.
1. Chase lightning bugs
Bring out the kid in you by going hunting for lightning bugs (or fireflies, depending on what part of the country you hail from). Those elusive little rascals with their glowing rear ends just beg to be chased. Bask in the momentary glory of catching one between your palms, and then release it to move on to the next one. After half an hour in pursuit of the tiny critters, you might even have exercised more than you would on your daily date with the treadmill, and probably had much more fun doing it.
2. Listen to the quiet… or the cicadas
Like the soft silence and utter stillness after a freshly fallen winter snow, a summer evening has its own special kind of quiet… that it’s not really all that quiet. The hum of cicadas (it’s actually the males serenading their potential mates) means summer has truly arrived. Take some time to relax on your front porch and just enjoy summer’s tune.
3. Star gaze
Find a grassy area, lay down a blanket and just stare up at the stars. Watching those twinkling specks always makes me wonder what’s out there. Take a break from the stresses of everyday life and let your imagination run wild.
No good stargazer can complete the evening without finding a few constellations. If you’re new to the game, look up a few popular ones beforehand, and then try to spot them. Some good ones include Orion, the Little and Big Dippers and Taurus. Make sure to get as far away from bright lights and obstructions as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t find any of the constellations—you can always make up your own.
4. Take a walk
Ordinary houses, trees and streets take on a magical feel at night. Explore your neighborhood territory all over again with a walk at dusk. Head out as the sun begins setting to enjoy the vivid colors and finish off just after the sky turns black. Be sure to grab a few friends and your canine pals.