After a severe thunderstorm hit Chicago's north suburbs Tuesday night, many families are still without power.
If you’re a mom with a house full of kids who can no longer watch TV, play video games or use their computers, what do you do?
Well, in part that depends on whether it’s daytime or night and the age of the children. It’s a good idea to have easily accessible flashlights and a few candles and matches in case of such emergencies. If it’s nighttime when the lights go out, candlelight and stormy weather can create some wonderful summer memories.
If you have younger children and can find a few old sheets in the dark, make a tent and pretend to be camping indoors. Let them make shadow puppets with flashlights and pretend to ‘roast’ marshmallows. Tell ghost stories if they’re old enough not to be frightened, or recount favorite vacation memories. Sing campfire songs and share some of your own childhood memories. Or make up a progressive story where each person adds something as the story moves along.
There’s always “20 Questions” too, where one person thinks of something and the others can ask up to 20 questions to guess what it is. If they guess, they win. If they can’t, the thinker wins.
Older kids might like ‘The Letter Game," where the first player starts with a letter and players go around in a circle, with each player adding another letter toward spelling a word. For example, the first player picks R, the next player picks E, the next player picks G….they could spell Great or Green or Grievous. The trick is not to be the one to finish the word – if you do, you’re out! So the object is to keep the word going – and growing.
Writing letters to Grandma (or anyone) by candlelight can be fun. Pretend to be pioneers! Or play cards by candlelight.
If it’s daytime, pull out a jigsaw puzzle. Play cards, read a book or read books to younger children. Play dress up or create something in the kitchen that doesn’t need power - say, build vegetable people with toothpicks and cut up veggies. Spread out a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic.
The main idea, I guess, is to just grin and bear it and take advantage of the break from technology to bond with your kids. Play some old fashioned games and think about how much we rely on power in our lives. Who knows, maybe we’ll even think of some ways we can rely a little less on technology and have a little more fun!