You’re a pro at surviving earthquakes, navigating your way through a World Series parade and driving in heavy fog. But, a storm that knocks out power is sure to test your survival skills and throw a wrench into what you thought would be a day of PJs and movies, hot chocolate and iPad games. Whether you’re reading this with 10% battery life left on your phone or just want to show your kids how creative you can get without power, here are 10 fun activities that don’t require you to plug-in.

1. Write a book

Staple some 8.5″x12″ sheets of paper together and tell the great story of the hurricane through pictures! It will be a keepsake for sure.

2. Build a blanket fort

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Building forts was on one of my favorite activities as a kid and my kids are old pros as well. There are many ways to create a blanket fort but the easiest by far, is made by draping a king or queen size sheet over a kitchen or dining room table. Get creative and  add additional rooms by draping addition sheets over chair backs. Don’t forget to stock it with your favorite supplies including flashlights and snuggle friends!

Basic Supplies:

  • Blankets or sheets — fitted sheets work really well if using chairs
  • Pillows
  • Chairs
  • Tables, a sofa, or something large as a main anchor
  • Clothespins or tape

3. Make your own play-doh

This simple recipe is incredibly easy, and you can make rainbows of of colors with basic food coloring.   Spread a sheet or outdoor tablecloth on the floor, and give them dull knives, a rolling pin, and  cookie cutters. Here are two recipes, one doesn’t require cooking in the event of a power outage.

Play Dough

2 cups flour

3 tbsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup salt

4 tbsp oil

1/2 cup boiling water

food coloring

Directions: Mix dry ingredients together. Mix oil, food coloring and boiling water in a separate container. Stir liquid mixture until cool enough to knead. Knead until smooth. If play-dough is too dry, add more water, a little at a time. If play-dough is too crumbly, knead in a small amount of oil. Store in an airtight container.

No-Cook Play Dough

4 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 tbsp oil

1 and 1/2 cup water

Directions: Mix oil and food color together before adding to dry mixture. Mix until pliable. Keep in container or plastic bag.

4. Toilet paper bowling

Get out your supply of TP and set up a bowling alley at the end of a long hallway if you have one (bedrooms work fine too). Rolled up socks make good balls in a pinch. Here is a list of other great toilet paper roll crafts.

5. Go on an indoor treasure hunt

Think of some unusual spots around your house or apartment and plant some treasures in some surprising and sneaky spots.  Then make a list of objects or draw a treasure map to follow and have your child go on a treasure hunt.

6. Paper Bag Crafts

Paper lunch or grocery bags make all kinds of easy and fun crafts, all of which are perfect for the little kids because each craft is simple and not too time consuming. Plus, all you really need is a brown paper bag, crayons, glue, and construction paper.

7. Charades

Bring back this classic game with a kid friendly version. Write simple words or draw pictures of animals, tools, sports, etc. on paper or paste pictures of items on index cards for younger kids who cannot read. Try including ideas like movie or other familiar characters from your child’s favorite book or maybe even favorite family members! Place the words or pictures in a container or stack them on a table. All you need for supplies is a kitchen timer or a watch. The countdown timer on your smart phone works well too!

8. Yogurt Finger Painting

Here is a great way to pass the time with simple supplies that you probably already have in the fridge. Take one 4oz yogurt  container and divide into three smaller bowls. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring per bowl and voila, instant edible color creation!

9. Indoor Grocery Store

Take items out of your pantry and arrange a mock grocery store complete with reusable shopping bags! With older kids, sharpen the counting skills by pretending to count out and “pay” with change.

10. Make a Paper City

We just did this with our kids and it was three days worth of entertainment that ended up taking over almost the entire living room floor. Tape together several sheets of 8.5″x12″ sheets of paper and draw roads, parks, playgrounds, and other city features. Draw, color, and cut out different images of people, cars, (or get out the toy cars) and fill up your city with all kinds of busy activity! Here is a link to an easy house template. 

What is your family doing to keep occupied during the storm? Let us know below!

— Drea Lester

photo courtesy of MollyPop via Flickr