I still contend that the Zehlahlum kids could take down a hurricane any day and that I’m planning on just sending them outside to play anyway…in raincoats, of course, because I’m a good parent. I’ve been compiling some activities that don’t require electricity for the times that I let them come in to dry off. As soon as this storm is over, I’m going to make an Emergency Fun Kit to keep around because there’s lots of things that we just don’t have that would have been fun.
1. Their own flashlights: just by itself this is a lot of entertainment for kids. I found great ones at Target the other day that flash in five different ways, are lightweight, bright, and easy for the kids to turn on and off themselves. (I did not find extra batteries for them so that was a bummer….)
2. Board games: Memory, Chutes & Ladders (we don’t actually have this game yet and it was a childhood favorite), Scrabble, Bananagrams (adapted to just letting the kids build words with the tiles), dominos, Monopoly, Risk, Sorry, Apples to Apples, Cranium, trivia games and anything else you have buried under dust in your closet. Brush them off and introduce them to your kids. My little kids have always like the Ravensburger “Mix and Match Teddy” game, and “Super Why ABC Letter Game”.Eeboo’s Preschool Lotto Game is a new favorite. Pop some popcorn on the stove (which kids generally find to be super impressive) and gather around a (flameless, battery powered candle) candlelit table.
3. Card games: If you have bigger kids teach them how to play Euchre or Spoons. (I grew up in Ohio that’s all I know how to play.) Little kids can be taught to play Uno, War, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, or Go Fish, and Jacks. If you don’t know how to play card games then right now, quick before your power goes out, download the rules. If all else fails build card houses.
4. Art: Now is a great time to let them play with Play-Dough, modeling clay, and paint. Turn them loose on the construction paper with scissors and glue. Draw and cut out a scene and tape it to the wall. We always do a Thanksgiving Tree where we write what we’re thankful for on colored cut-outs of our hands. I plan to enlist the kids in tracing and cutting out massive numbers of hands so we have a stockpile. My printer is smokin’ from the number of printable coloring pages that I’ve printed. They’re not fancy, but they’re new to the kids…Angry Birds, Lego, Transformers, Disney, Bible, Halloween…it’s all out there. I also printed some mazes, connect the dots, word searches, etc. Haul out your old magazines and let the kids make a collage or cut out letters and write a note to a friend.
5. Old School Toys: All those toys that don’t make any noise…Legos, wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs, Zoobs, train tracks and the like. Settle down on the floor with some French Press coffee and play with your kiddo without the interruption. They’ll love it and your presence will almost certainly double their attention span toward the activity.
6. Books, books, books. Read, read, read. Need I say more? Snuggle up with a great book everyone on their own and everyone together.
7. Teach your kids something: Do you know about photography? Or at least more than your 8 year old? Hand over the camera and show them a few tricks and let them take some pictures. Can you crochet or knit? How about a lesson? Were you an artist in college? Hold an art lesson and teach your preschooler a technique besides fingerpainting.
8. Relive memories: Pull out your albums or pictures from when you were little or young. Look through them with your kids and tell them stories about your life before them. (Can you remember that?) Get out the family albums and their baby books. Relive those days and share them with your kids. Peanut is sure that he remembers the things he was doing and liking as a two year old because we’ve showed him the pictures so many times. It feels cheesy, but kids eat this stuff up.
What did I miss? What’s your best tip for entertaining kids without electricity for a week or so….(ahhhhhhh!)