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 by accidents inside. Eventually, Carrie Delaney, being 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 mayor after no one else would step forward. Within the next month of exploring the caves the children came upon Vault 87, where they pounded 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 from vaults.
Trying to talk to the kids will result in them stopping momentarily giving the Lone Wanderer some time to talk to them. However, they won't say any more than the quotes listed below before they 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 talk to them again, they'll say things like, "That didn't count!" or, "Man. Now I'm it."
One of the Little Lamplighters can be heard interacting with Princess, saying: "Sorry, Princess. Don't hurt me!".