No power? No problem. Wait a second, that means no Wii, no Xbox, no iPad, no DVD player? And you have two cranky kids? Run for it!
Parenting young children is difficult on any day. When boredom sets in and parents or caregivers need to finish chores, electronics sometimes become a temporary babysitter to keep kids busy. (Admit it, you've done it.) But when the lights go out, tantrums begin, as the electronic "nanny" vanishes.
But power outages are the perfect opportunity to have fun in an old-fashioned way and to encourage kids to amuse themselves using their creative abilities and minds. Along with the flashlights, batteries and candles, be prepared with fun activities and supplies that will keep the kids and family having fun when the lights go out. Share them with your nanny too, in case she's watching your kids when a blackout hits.
Build the Day Away
Everyone loves LEGOs -- except when you step on them with bare feet! They're the perfect toy to keep kids busy all day long, no electricity required. Pick up a copy of the LEGO Ideas Book and store it with your bin of bricks. It will give your kids inspiration for building a fantasy castle or a dream race car, encouraging imagination and ideas beyond the common LEGO structures.
Be Inspired by Books
Instead of just handing your kids crayons and coloring books, make artwork more interesting. Read your kids' favorite book with them -- or your favorite book from when you were little -- then create art based on it. Be as creative as you can. For example, the Imagination Tree created a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" wall collage.
Fashion Old-fashioned Yarn Dolls
This is a little nostalgic fun for an electronics-free day. If you don't have yarn on hand, then re-purpose an old sweater by unraveling it. Easy directions can be found on Spud & Chloe's blog.
Turn Art into a Game
Alissa Marquess, of Creative with Kids, has turned power outages into family fun time. "Sometimes life gives us unexpected chances for connection. If you know a couple little games, you'll be ready for them," Marquess says.
Read instructions for a simple game called Pass the Drawings. Each person gets a piece of paper with their own pencil, marker or crayon. Set a timer and start drawing. When the timer dings, the paper is handed over to another to continue adding with their own color and imagination. This is a great way to join in as a family to create beautiful pieces of art together.
Get Everyone Laughing with Mad Libs
Mad Libs are simple word games that have been around since the 1950s. The books come in different themes and for all ages. Kids will have a ball creating hysterical stories using everyday words and will soon forget they are having fun without the assistance of a technological device.
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