The weather is sometimes frightful – whether it’s a snowstorm, tornado, hurricane, or even an earthquake. No matter the crisis, the power usually goes out. It’s bad enough not to have lights, but without the use of electronics, our families freeze. What do we do with a generation that is in “need" of material objects for entertainment?
Time to Prepare
I live in Florida, so I’m in preparation mode starting June 1st – our hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30th. For me, I have the time to stow away survival kits in advance for power outage activities. For many, disasters pop up suddenly without warning. Seriously, it may be wise to pack an entertainment box away in the closet now. Along with some important needs, tuck away flashlights, batteries, snacks, and more. What do we do as parents, when we have kids underfoot that have no idea what life was like before iPads, Smart Phones, and DVDs? It’s time to look back to simpler times and easy entertainment. Here are a few ideas to brainstorm to keep the kiddos busy.
Why not dust off the old board games and keep them in a handy bin? These may be new items to your children since electronics came into their world, but remember how much fun we all had. Think about games that get the entire family involved, like Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzee, chess, checkers, dominoes, and jigsaw puzzles, just to name a few favorites. It’s quite fun to huddle around a lantern and play a good board game. Don’t forget about decks of cards along with a game rules book as a resource to avoid arguments.
Find a place in your home where the kids can “shake their sillies out." You may be confined to inside the home for a while. Think about rearranging the furniture and dole out the blankets to make forts and castles. There can be a lot of imaginary play with this idea. Inside your forts bring out flashlights to tell spooky stories or project shadows on the wall.
Pack some individual jump ropes and hula-hoops so the kids can exercise out their anxiety and frustrations. Paper plates make good and safe Frisbees. A roll of masking tape is useful to create a grid for a simple game of hopscotch too!
Do you have a craft bin? Supply it with plenty of papers, paints, crayons, markers, glue, buttons, string or yarn, paper plates, glitter, and your creative thoughts. Pack some clean and dry recycled items too. These materials are perfect for quiet and creative art time. Why not make puppets from paper sacks? These cute creatures along with props can engage the kids in a show production to entertain the rest of the family.
After the Storm
So, the stormy weather is over and even if the power hasn’t been restored, you can usually go outdoors. Get the kids involved in outdoor games, including sidewalk chalk for artistic drawing, and even collect some nature finds to make a collage at a later time.
There are many valuable lessons learned during days without power. Okay, maybe we don’t like the hassle, but as a family, view life with “what you have and not what you don’t have." Renew communication skills between parents, siblings, and maybe other relatives or friends that weathered the storm under one roof. I bet your kids are finally realizing how much fun they have had in the absence of power. And last, know that you CAN live a simpler life if need be and the advantages of being prepared. You may find that having a “light’s out" night once in a while is a really good thing — families can bond and interact together without the use of media.
Personal experience as a parent and teacher