While Hurricane Sandy was quite scary, especially because in our area, the worst took place during the night - in the pitch black - the days of blackout that followed were, for us (because we are quite lucky and have an intact house and car) quite boring.
We didn't last longer than 36 hours without power in our house; we moved on to my parents' warm and brightly lit house full of televisions and snacks quite quickly. However, in the brief day and a half that we did stay home, we compiled a list of fun activities that need no electricity and are not board games - for some reason, those got pretty old pretty fast.
Here, some ideas of ways to keep the kids entertained during a blackout*:
1. Set your kids up in front of a mirror with a pad of drawing paper and a pencil and have them draw a self-portrait. This is a fun and funny activity because the kids will inevitably think that their drawing looks exactly like them and you will not be able to tell which kid drew which picture.
2. Hand out a few paper plates and some crayons and tell the kids to color the plates completely. Glue a craft stick or tongue depressor onto the plate, making a handle. Blow up some balloons and play 'keep the balloon in the air'.
3. Break out a bag of beads and some string and have the kids make necklaces and bracelets. If they make enough of them, they can give them out to the kids in their class when (if) school starts again. Or just use Fruit Loops and use them for a snack later on.
4. Play hangman. And tic tac toe. Print out some word searches (before the lights go out) and store them with your blackout kit.
5. Use the balloons and paper plate and sticks from #2 above to play volleyball. String a long piece of ribbon, rope or just plain string from wall to wall and presto, a volleyball net.
6. Play charades. My kids had never played this before. It went well, plus all the running to the bathroom because they were laughing so hard made the time pass more quickly.
7. The old classic: build a fort with couches, blankets, sheets and pillows in the living room. Add a few flashlights, books and snacks and you're good to go. Maybe you'll even get lucky and everyone will fall asleep in there.
8. Grab some vinegar, liquid food coloring and a box or two of baking soda. Pour the box of baking soda into a pan - maybe a disposable 9x13 pan, but anything will work. Pour vinegar into 2 or 3 cups (or more, depending on how many cups of colored vinegar you want to make) and add a drop or two of food coloring to each cup. Using mini-droppers (the kind that come with baby tylenol - I've been saving those for years), pick up some colored vinegar and drop it onto the baking soda. Watch as the baking soda fizzles. It's very cool to see and will keep the kids entertained for a nice long while. Personally, I would make four pans of baking soda to keep the elbowing of siblings to a minimum. Count the number of kids in your house to see how many you should make.
9. Take a puzzle that does not have too many pieces - between 12-15 sounds good to me - and hide the pieces around the house. The hiding places don't have to be that good, just a puzzle piece on a pillow or dresser. The kids won't be expecting them anyway. Hand our flashlights and set the kids loose looking for the puzzle pieces. When they're done, let them put the puzzle
together. Then hand out snacks. Finding the puzzle pieces is hard work.
and 10. Play What's on my Tush? I found this game online, here. It basically involved you, the parent, lying on the floor face down, with a pillow (fun already, right?) and the kids get to take turns putting whatever (a crayon, a toy car, a ball, the sadly not working remote) on your backside. The kids give out hints and you have to guess what's sitting on your
tush. This can go on for hours. It's awesome. If you do nothing else, definitely try this one.
See, you can handle this whole blackout thing like a parent who doesn't want to just crawl back into bed with a good book, a drink and a flashlight, even, if like me, that's exactly what you want to do.
*Some of the ideas need specific items which you may or may not have in the house. Since I know that you are already putting together some essentials for the next weather-related
incident, such as the Nor'easter coming this way tomorrow, a quick stop at AC Moore might not be a bad idea.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)