What to Do With Your Kids When There's No Power

9:47 PM

Nobody likes being without power.

After all, it's when the power goes out that you realize just how convenient Netflix is, just how much you love being able to look up ailments on WebMD, and just how vital your child's Nintendo DS really is to maintaining your sanity.

But sometimes the power does go out.

And if you have kids, it can be a frustrating experience.

Fortunately, you can be prepared no matter where you live. You can be ready to entertain your youngsters for hours on end (or at least a few hours) until your power returns. (And if you're the type of prepper who wants to get ready for permanent off-the-grid living, you'll want to be even more ready for facing life without electricity.)

What if my kids get bored?
First off, pick activities that your kids enjoy. Board games are great, but if you have a child who hates to play games, they're going to be useless. Just because your home is without power doesn't guarantee that your kids are going to suddenly turn into game masters. Make sure the things that you choose for kids to do are things that they'll actually enjoy and like.

Also make sure that you choose things you can use again and again. If you live in the city and have limited storage space, it's a lot more practical to have one toy or item that you can use again and again rather than trying to store up multiple single-use items. For example, consider puzzles you can reuse instead of craft supplies that can only be used one time.

Store your emergency entertainment activities in a plastic container. This is going to keep everything in one central location, but it's also going to ensure that your items have some protection from in-home flooding or debris. Make sure that your kids know where the box is. You can even let them decorate it if you want to get them excited about the activity box.

What if my kids get scared?
For many kids, losing power isn't a big deal. For others, it can be a terrifying experience. Think about having some comfort items on hand. You can put these into your emergency prep box. Things like cookies, favorite drinks, snacks, stuffed animals, or soft blankets can all offer some comfort and reassurance to little ones who might be feeling scared. Don't forget to add in mini-flashlights and plenty of batteries.

What kinds of things can I do with my kids?
So the power's out. If you're able to go outside, that's great! Sometimes, though, the power went out because there's a storm or other problem that requires you to stay indoors. After Hurricane Sandy, we experienced a 4-day power outage (some families in our area were without power for over a week) and while we could go outside, it was 112 degrees out and we were on water restriction. That meant that the pools weren't open and no one could use their hoses to play outside. Inside it was. Here are a few things that you can do to keep your kids entertained without electricity.

Blow up balloons and throw them around

Play card games

Play hide-and-seek

Play I-Spy

Turn on the radio or battery-operated CD player (you have one, right?) and dance around

Play movies on your cell phone or iPad

Draw pictures in the dark - then use a flashlight to see what they look like

Tell ghost stories

Read books

Break out the family photo albums and tell stories

Clean their bedrooms!

Sing songs

Do homework

Fold and put away laundry - we all have plenty sitting around!

Play with toys they haven't used in awhile - is there a box in the garage you could break out?

Build something new with Lego bricks

What are your go-to activities when your power is out? What do your kids like to do best?

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