Be ready. Plan ahead. Be prepared. No matter where you live, at some point, the power will go out. Power outages can last an hour a two. But when tropical storms or ice storms hit, power outages can last for days. Be sure to plan ahead with indoor kid activities to entertain your family for hours.
Preparing for power outages keeps a family calm. Knowing what indoor kid activities are ready and accessible for your children prevents worry and fear. When the adults know the plan, it is easy to make the power outage feel like it is not so bad. But if the adults in the family are stressing because they do not even know which drawer holds a flashlight, let alone what the family will eat without being able to use the microwave, then the children will stress and become scared, too.
Who Turned Out the Lights?
Today is the day to begin planning for a power outage. Avid campers and hikers have their flashlights organized and at the ready, so when the power goes out, they will not be left in the dark. But for everyone else, do you know where your flashlight is located and what size batteries it takes? Do you have the batteries?
The easiest plan is to have a small bin/box with a flashlight for everyone in your house. Keep the box in the garage or a storage closet where it is not in the regular routine of play. Be sure to check the batteries to make sure your lights work. If you change the batteries in your smoke alarms with the time change, that would be a good time to make sure your emergency light kit has all of its needed batteries, too.
Strap-on headlamps for each family member are great. The hands-free lights provide lots of illumination. The tilt feature keeps it from blinding each other as you walk around the house or play games. Battery-powered lanterns now come in a variety of sizes. You can go with one large one to provide light at your dining room table or living room coffee table so you can play a board game or cards. Playing eye spy with the headlamps can be a favorite indoor kid activity as they swing their heads shining the beam of light from their brow around the room.
It is a comfort for each family member to have his or her own light. You can even put a pack of glow sticks in your emergency light kit box. You have the lights, now what? Indoor kid activities in the dark can be fun and with a bit of planning, you look like a superstar parent. You can have an impromptu dance party dancing with glow sticks to music previously downloaded on your phone.
Of course, depending on the age of the children in your family, you can take turns using only one flashlight. Shine the flashlight on your chin and share funny or scary campfire type stories. You can play flashlight limbo with a small flashlight with a bright, tiny beam of light as the limbo stick.
The best indoor kid activity for a nighttime power outage is a flashlight scavenger hunt. Make the list for the scavenger hunt when you put together your emergency light kit box. Put the list in an envelope marked, “Do Not Open Until A Power Outage.” Your scavenger hunt list can be anything you choose but if you plan on camping out together in one room include a stuffed animal, pillow, blanket, and pair of socks so that needed supplies are gathered.
Read More: The Importance Of Planning For An Emergency
What Indoor Kid Activities Can We Do In The Dark?
Of course, board games come to mind when planning indoor kid activities. But, if your game cabinet/closet is not already organized, do so now. Only keep the games you love to play with your children. When the power is out, you do not want to add the stress of digging for a game in a messy closet. During a power outage be sure to play your family’s favorite games: Uno, dominos, Catan, Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, rummy, etc…Steer clear of new complicated games. A favorite will bring comfort and calm.
Arts and Crafts
Sometimes, the power can be out for days and the weather may not even allow your kiddos to play outside during the daytime. Playdough and air-dry clay are great for all ages to create personalized works of art. Most importantly, they are fun but not too messy.
A power outage can be a great time to start a family scrapbook/journal if you have not already. Encourage each family member to write a journal entry or do a drawing about their experience with the power outage. Then the next time you have a holiday or event, you can have each member write or draw a picture about that day to add to the scrapbook, too. A family scrapbook/journal becomes a time capsule of memories as the years go by.
What Can We Eat?
If your home boasts a gas stove for cooking, you are in luck. Typically, you can still use the stove if the power goes out. Be sure to cook your perishables first. But for families with electric stoves, cooking becomes a challenge. With no power, there are no microwave meals and no oven-baked frozen pizzas, let alone homemade spaghetti.
This is where planning ahead must be done. Most canned food can be eaten without being warmed up. But don’t buy food your family will not eat. If your family does not normally eat corned beef hash and you have picky eaters, just stick to the peanut butter. Have a large Rubbermaid stored in a cool dark place or a shelf in your pantry dedicated for emergencies.
Try to have three days of food for your family members including your pets. Foods could include peanut butter, soups, canned meats like tuna/chicken, canned vegetables, granola bars, cereal, etc…Be sure to check the expiration dates at least twice a year and rotate the food into your regular weekly meal plan so it does not get wasted.
Working together to prepare simple meals can be a great indoor kid activity that way you ensure that each child gets a bit of comfort food while the power is out.
Propane stoves and grills are great to use when the power goes out, but be sure to use them only outside. Never use them inside your home, because they emit carbon monoxide.
Read More: The Ultimate Family-Friendly Camping Gear
Stay Warm / Keep Cool
When you lose power during an ice or snowstorm, be sure to dress in layers. If you get too warm, you can peel off the outer layers. Be sure to wear socks and even a knit cap inside. Heat can escape from your extremities. Sleep with the kiddos in a pillow and blanket fort. Besides turning the power outage into “the best night ever,” you all can sleep snuggly trapping your body heat in the fort. It’s also fun to read your favorite books by flashlight under a blanket or in the fort.
Keeping cool if you lose power during a tropical storm or hurricane may require a bit more planning. But thankfully weather forecasters provide information in advance about these storms giving you time to prepare. Put a battery-powered fan in your emergency light kit. Have a cooler or two with extra bags of ice. Fill clean, empty juice and milk bottles with water before the impending storm. You can even freeze some of them. You can fill gallon-size freezer bags with water and freeze them, too. Staying hydrated is important, especially in hot weather.
Being prepared for power outages with a plan for indoor kid activities can keep everyone from the youngest to the oldest calm. A plan can make an uncomfortable situation seem like an adventure rather than stressful chaos. You can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website for additional tips for planning for emergencies and disasters.
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