With the start of “storm season” here in the Pacific Northwest, we often lose power due to high winds. I thought I would make a handy-dandy printable list before it happened, to help when it inevitably does.
20 things to do with school-aged kids in a blackout
First, please make sure all your basic needs are met, and you are in a safe place. Food, water, and warmth are essential in a autumn/winter storm. This list is all about having things to do, unplugged. Once all the batteries have drained from the electronics, then what do you do with your kids/ teens?
- Read Books: Remember those? You can each read individually, or take this opportunity to read together aloud as a family. When was the last time you read to your teenager? Give it a try! You may be surprised.
- Tell Stories: We have a woodstove that we light when the power goes off. We gather around the warmth, and tell each other stories. Make them up, make up prompts, make it a game. Start a story, then have someone else finish it. Tell stories from your childhood. Tell stories from their childhood. See who can make up the most outrageous story. Really your imagination is the limit.
- Board Games/ Card Games: Break out those old board games and play them as a family. We are so busy running around daily, that we rarely get the chance to play. Blackouts are a perfect time to sit down with a warm drink, and get to having some fun. This is one of our favorites.
- Shadow Puppets : Take those flashlights and put them to good use! Get a sheet out or a blank wall, and have someone put on a shadow show. You can get creative with paper puppets, or just use your hands.
- Draw: Grab a pencil and paper, and create. You can even draw while someone reads a story aloud, or while you are telling stories.
- Beading: Cathartic and easy while keeping those hands busy. You can even get started on making Holiday gifts.
- Knitting/ Crochetting: Got needles or hooks and some yarn? If you know how to, this is a great activity to do while sitting together. And it is the perfect opportunity to teach someone how.
- Play Music: Anyone play an instrument? Or sing? As Pa Ingalls used to, play them a song. There is nothing like music to soothe the savage
- Handsewing: Get out a needle and thread. You can hem clothes that have been sitting in your mending pile, or start a new project. We recently went to see the Indigo art exhibit, where the art of Japanese Sashiko sewing was displayed. Even my husband is hooked!
- Paint: Assuming you have water available (we usually are limited because we are on a well), this is a great option. Last blackout we had, I got out the paints and some large rocks we collected, and we painted rocks! Thankfully, with older kids, this isn’t as messy as it is with littles.
- Paint your nails: We get out our piggy paint, and dress up our piggies. Let your kids paint your nails. Mine love it.
- Get your do did: Braiding, styling, and just brushing. This is a lot of fun for our tween who likes to brush my hair. Try out new things. It’s dark, so no one will see how *ahem* unconventional your hair looks, anyway.
- Snuggle up and sit in silence: Embrace the quiet! Get a large blanket and just sit together. When do we ever get to do just that?
- Charades: This is one of those games that requires so little. Just you and your imagination. It has the potential to get very silly.
- Write: A letter, A story, A song. Just write. See where it takes you.
- Practice Tying knots: I know you must be thinking “what the heck?” with this one, but seriously. There are books about tying all sorts of knots (like this one), and it is a great (and practical) way to keep those hands moving.
- Look through Old Photos: Assuming you have printed photos, this can be a lot of fun to do with your kids. Go through old albums, and take a visual walk down memory lane with them.
- Coloring: Even adults like to color! All you need are crayons or colored pencils. Print out some coloring sheets ahead of time (or buy a book), and keep with your emergency supplies. You will be thankful you did.
- Origami: The art of folding paper is a perfect activity for when the lights go out. Create a whole menagerie or maybe 1000 cranes for good luck.
- (ironically)20 Questions: You can even make them themed. We often play “20 Questions Animals” or “20 Questions Cities”.
Grab your FREE PDF printable list here.
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What do YOU do with your kids when the power is out?