Staying entertained during a power outage

If the power were to go out for a week, I think my family’d be able to survive. Definitely need to think up a good way to cook off grid, but besides that, I think we should be fine.

I was watching my kids this week and how they entertained themselves, and hey even my wife and I are guilty of this, we all tend to go to electronics for our entertainment. Phones, tv, video games, radio, podcasts, etc… 

What are some ways to keep the family entertained during a week long power outage?

We have quite the collection of board games, which will help some nights.


  • Comments (22)

    • 6

      I don’t have youngsters around anymore, but since we work with the youth at church, I’d suggest getting a portable solar charger for your phones, etc.  Now I have a couple of full blown solar generators and full size solar panels, but I also have a Goal Zero Noman 20 portable solar panel which comes built in with all needed cables, such as USB, for charging small electronics.  The youth of today are addicted to their electronics, so I’d prep accordingly.


    • 8

      For a combination of entertainment and education;

      Adjust for age specifics. Materials needed: Shortwave radio, pulp world map, fluorscent yellow chisel-tip marker. Pad of paper and pen.

      Have age-appropriate youngster load batteries into radio perhaps via flashlight. Have a kid tune into an English language station that keeps ’em listening. When station identifies itself, have a youngster write down name of origin city. Have other kid write name on pad of paper.

      Some shortwave stations are available during daylight hours, receiver location.

      Rest of family’s entertainment is to annotate replenishment list: world map(s), better SW radio, colorful travel guidebooks of recorded cities / countries,…


      Situation permitting, go outside with kids. Check phase of moon per booklet.  Have ’em record phase along with date and time you help with.  Help locate some of the star stuff. Check Big Dipper, …

      Rest of family’s entertainment is to annotate replenishment list with extras, eg family-appropriate astro telescope.

      • 4

        Para / section 3;

        Apology, … Have one of ’em highlight city w/ marker.  Have other write name on pad.

      • 9

        Bob- That’s a brilliant idea to star gaze! Nothing brings me closer to nature than cloud/star gazing with a wide and vast horizon in front of me. You know, where you can see for miles and actually see the curvature of the earth? You feel like you can sense your place on this big blue ball.

        And with all of the power out, light pollution should probably be down as well and maximum star visibility should be at it’s peak!

    • 8

      Reading is our go to pastime, especially if the interweb is unavailable. I have a large collection of both Reference and Fictional books related to prepping. I never get fed up of reading a good book.  My current favourites are

      Alas babylon

      Down to a sunless sea


      Day of the triffids

      299 days

      Earth abides

      A Distant Eden

      • 7

        I wish I had more time to read, but find that audiobooks are a way that I can do the dishes or reload bullets while absorbing a good book. 

        And while that does involve electricity, using Redneck’s solar panel idea will allow you to keep a phone or MP3 player charged up for some long audiobooks. 

        I’ve enjoyed the Survivalist series. While this link shows the first 5 books I think there are like 9 now, maybe they changed publishers.

        It’s about a guy making it home with his get home bag after an EMP strands his car. He makes it home (sorry for the spoiler) and the rest of the series is about rebuilding, living, and surviving. 

        Super great series and I actually learned a lot of prepping techniques and tips from it. So it isn’t just good fiction.

      • 9

        Thanks for this, Robert.  I too am an audiobook addict.  It got me back into reading since I can truly multi-task:  cleaning, driving, etc.

    • 8

      cribbage, making art, reading books aloud (taking turns between kids/adults)

      re: youth addicted to screens, i hear that but also feel (as a teacher) this stems from a lot of kids in our society not being given opportunities for independence/empowerment. if shtf and the screens aren’t working, i can damn well guarantee kids of every age will respond positively to “take this tool and do this job”. they will gripe at first, but that’s expected. push through, give them a genuine role, and watch them flourish. however, this comes from a household where ‘i’m bored i don’t know what to do!’ is met with “great, figure something out, this will be good for your brain” so ymmv. 

      • 6

        I agree with you SeaBee. I watched a YouTube video about this a few months ago talking about how today’s playgrounds are too safe, and how new Adventure Playgrounds are growing in popularity and are healthier to a child’s development. An Adventure Playground is  a lot with pallets, boards, tires, hammers, and nails. And while this may sound dangerous, kids learn and try and be safer, while growing their creativity. My niece is 7 and when I see her play on a playground, she doesn’t use anything like it is intended, but instead tries to climb to the tallest roof, climb up the slide, and does tricks and jumps. Kids want to try new things, build, and take risks. 

      • 9

        I agree too Seabee and JB!  I recall the ‘first job’ for which I earned money from my parents was at age 4 – to install switch plates and outlet covers in the house that ‘we’ were building.  Took me days since I couldn’t reach the switches and had to drag a chair around.  It was a brilliant move – kept me busy and out of their hair, developed my hand coordination and best of all I felt so accomplished because I had really helped (built my self esteem). I think that is what started me on the path of DIY home projects of many ilks over decades.  Kids will respond to a job that they are trusted to complete or that they want or need – paint their room or additional shelf in their closet that they again own the outcome.  Aim high and accept errors as learning if they fall a bit short.  Given the scenario is a power outage, outdoor chores like raking leaves or shoveling snow that can also have fun aspects are both beneficial and bonding.  Have them cook dinner without power or help plan the meals if they’re too young to cook.  

    • 6

      I don’t have youngsters either, so I can’t really comment on keeping them busy.

      For myself, I also have a portable solar panel and several powerbanks that will keep most of our smaller devices charged.

      Books, a whole caseful, I love the classics and a good gothic horror never goes amiss (Dracula and the Woman in Black)

      I also knit and have plenty of wool on hand to knit something, or sewing. 

    • 9

      Playing cards.  Learn several games    Even solitaire has a lot of varieties.  Teach them poker if you like.  I played with pennies or candies as a kid.  Spent several power outages playing Euchre or Monopoly.  

      • 4

        I’ve never heard of Euchre before, i’ll have to check that out.  

        I went to https://bicyclecards.com/rules/ and printed off multiple card game rules and have that in with a deck of cards in my when I go camping. I tend to forget to play some games over the years and this allows me to have a long list of various games to choose from. 

        -Be Prepared-

      • 5

        I’m showing my midwestern heritage.  Euchre is pretty popular in Ohio, Michigan and Kansas at least.  I’ve found players in or from those areas.  Most of my friends in Maryland and California hadn’t heard of it either.  

        There is also a deck of cards that has dominoes and letters to expand the game options.  They’re called Flex Deck.   I went for lighter weight in my BOB with the half-sized durable travel ones.  

      • 5

        I like that flex deck, it sure adds so many more games that you could play. I’m going to have to get one of those!

        -Be Prepared-

      • 7

        5 Best Survival Playing Cards Worth Their Extra Weight

        For both a cabin fever remedy and an education program for both kids and those needing refresher training, glance at above link.

        The cards have survival tips per card.  There’s a deck for urban survival, one for the wild berries NOT to consume, …

        Am posting link for illustration only.  I have no connection to this company. There are other companies also selling these types of cards. 

        Teach the kids about the Big Dipper and why not visible in the southern hemisphere (when on surface of ground at least !)

      • 5

        Those are pretty neat Bob, thanks for sharing. I like items that have multiple uses, so having cards with survival tips and knowledge would me much more valuable for something like a bug out bag than your standard desk.

    • 8

      Puzzles are our go-to entertainment during hurricanes and/or when the power goes out. They keep us occupied for hours.

      When we’re finished with a puzzle, we swap it for another one from someone else. We have several friends who like puzzles and so we circulate them around. 

      As an aside: When I was a kid, we had lots of puzzles with pictures of food on them: cheese or ice cream or fruit or whatever. I have fond memories of working on the puzzle together as a family in the evenings, and then we’d have a snack of whatever was in the puzzle picture. My favorite puzzle was the one with the banana split on it…

      • 5

        That’s a really nice memory! Banana splits are awesome

    • 7

      Reading, of course. Crossword puzzles or word searches. Any crafts. If it’s too dark for any of these, tell made up stories or riddles, sing (unless you need to practice opsec) or get out old family stories – that is nice to pass on family history to the kids.

    • 3

      We had our power out for about week last September(I think) after a massive windstorm.   My kids range from 9 to 16.  What my wife and I learned was to use the light you have in the day for outside activities. If the suns out, send the kids out too.

      At night we found that glow stick were really good for entertaining the kids.  Luckily we had a couple of couple of these tubes from walmart with 100 glow sticks in them (I don’t have a clue why we had them).  Even the 16 year old had fun with them. They invented games to play with them and found lots of fun and weird things to do with them.  

      The kids were so entertained I bought more glowsticks after the power came back on, I just keep them in the same place as the flashlights.

      • 8

        So there is a purpose for the glow sticks in the premade emergency kits…

        I remember one New Years Eve, my sister and I booked a hotel room downtown and enjoyed the holiday but also had bought like 10 dollars of glow sticks from the dollar store. And each pack had like 15 glow sticks in them, so we had 150 glow sticks. We activated them all and had a glow stick fight throwing them at each other in a pitch black room and having fun with them.