On October 23, 2077, 82 students from Early Dawn Elementary went on a field trip to Lamplight Caverns with a couple of teachers (including the fourth grade teacher, Carrie Delaney) and a few parent chaperones. There the group spent many hours touring the deep caverns. Just as they were packing up to leave, the caverns began to shake. The kids began to scream as the lights went out, and one man from the group went out to see what was going on. Upon his return he informed those within that the entire Washington, D.C. area was covered in mushroom clouds.
The adults slowly died off or left, some leaving the cavern, others being injured in accidents within. Eventually Carrie Delaney, the last of the adult survivors, decided to go scavenging and never returned, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. One of the older kids, Jason Grant, assumed power after no one else would step forward. Within the next month of exploring the caves the children came upon Vault 87, where they would pound on the door for hours pleading for assistance.
Finally, one of the adults inside Vault 87 told the children to go away (saying that they were "already dead"). This was likely Peter Stevens, a vault technician stationed near the door to Little Lamplight, who thought that the children were hallucinations of his dead son. As a result, the kids turned against all "Mungos" kicking out residents once they turned 16. Most, if not of all of these adults then head to the settlement of Big Town, after being told that a good life awaits them there.
Out of the remaining kids, Joseph teaches the kids classes. According to him, a few scavengers brought back holotapes for basic schooling, such as reading, basic math, and encyclopedias.
Trying to talk to them results in them stopping to run and giving the player some time to talk to them. However, they won't say more than the quotes listed below. When not being talked to anymore for a few seconds they will start running again.
If the Lone Wanderer has the Child At Heart perk, they may play an impromptu game of Tag with some of the unnamed Little Lamplighters. When you talk to them they'll say, "try to catch me, new kid" and run off. When you catch them and select/talk to them again, they'll say things like, "that didn't count" or, "man, now I'm it." You will also have an easier time gaining entrance to the caverns.
One of the Little Lamplighters can be heard interacting with Princess, saying: "Sorry, Princess. Don't hurt me!"