Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Lots of people imagine a flurry of non-stop work when the power goes out for a longer period of time. Sometimes that’s the case, but at other times, due to a natural disaster, the safest course of action is to stay in your home. All of that idle time can wreak havoc on your mental state with boredom or your imagination running amok. So, before disaster ever strikes, it’s a good idea to think about what to do for entertainment when the power goes out.
In our tech-obsessed world, living without a constant barrage of entertainment and information can feel almost like withdrawal from a drug. Be sure to have some things on hand to keep your mind occupied. (If you have kiddos, here’s a list specifically for them.)
Here’s how to stay entertained when the electricity goes out.
I asked the group over at Prep Club what they like to do when the power goes out and they gave me some great suggestions. Use this list to stock up on the right supplies to keep yourself entertained and pleasantly busy.
Keep in mind you’re going to need some lighting for many of these activities. I absolutely love my inexpensive LED headlamps at times like these.
As for me, I stocked up on yarn to get a jumpstart on the holiday gifts I’m making.
I read…. A lot. And I have candles and lanterns for light in the evenings.
Most of my daylight time would be spent taking care of animals, finishing pens for security, checking gardens and probably canning up anything in the freezer that is left. Since I have trouble being idle, I would be focusing on what I can do and getting as much done as possible.
I love Word Searches, Sudoku, Hidden Words, and lots of books to read help with boredom for me.
Crafts – simple things like friendship bracelets, bead necklaces, and teaching the kids to make things out of paracord. It’s also a hidden way to teach knot skills
Luckily I don’t need to worry about keeping kids amused and unafraid – it’s just me. Since I have so many candles, light sticks, and flashlights, and buy my batteries in boxes of 50, it’s not a problem to read and enjoy adult coloring and other things …More often though, I use the time to enjoy the lovely sacred space I have created but often get too busy to use. Light some beeswax candles, smudge, drum, do an angel card or medicine card reading, meditate, journal. And of course if it goes on a long time, I enjoy some nice indulgent snacks and a nice glass of wine, then have a long sleep.
There’s always more downtime than you planned during a power outage. My hurricane supplies include coloring books and colored pencils/markers, decks of cards, travel games, yarn and crochet hooks, paperback books, spiral notebooks and pens, and dice. I’m always looking for portable entertainment at garage sales and thrift stores.
Playing cards, horseshoes (if able to be outside), doing puzzles
When we lived in typhoon (hurricane) country, I invested in board games. Even if we didn’t lose power, we could lose internet and cable, so lockdowns could get tedious.
Then there are our many books and craft projects. Hurricanes are a great excuse – er, reason – for a shiny new book! Audibooks on charged devices are handy too. When my kids were little, they listened to the Herb Fairies stories while playing with LEGOs and such; we all learned neat things about herbal medicine from those!
Cards of course; Dominoes. Scrabble, backgammon, and Trivial Pursuit. And not to be funny but you can sit around and practice knot tying give each kid a 3-foot piece of cord and teach them knots. When that becomes easy see if they can do it in the dark.
I have a variety of musical instruments. A recorder, drum, tambourine, lap harp and harmonica. No one plays much of any of those, although we all have a little bit of musical knowledge But it’s fun to sit around and see what sounds we can get out of them.
Knitting, spinning, and weaving
I bought a 15″ Cricket loom yesterday, so if the power goes out tonight, I will light a candle and figure out how to assemble it. 🙂
We’re a bunch of chatty Cathys here…we could sit around and talk to each other for hours!!!
Nothing different. More of the stuff we already enjoy. Musical instruments, knitting, and spinning, board games. Outside fun like archery and knife throwing. But I do have a 200 count box of crayons hidden away, just in case.
No kids to entertain but the dogs just want to hang out. For myself I probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of easily over 500 to 800 books plus a good reference library, not all read; piano, 3 ukuleles and a few percussion instruments; sewing, needlecrafts such as quilting, embroidery, etc; painting supplies with lots of blank canvases and the tools to stretch more; coloring books; various crafts; a 24 x 24 shed filled with furniture to refinish and repaint; clay and pottery wheel; and a full stained glass workshop.
I’m used to my own company and I doubt I will get bored being by myself as long as I can have pets. I’ve not lived my life by a clock for over four years now with the exception of the microwave and oven clocks or what I may see on my phone, so I doubt I will miss that.
If all else fails I can play jacks or volunteer to sit with the children of neighbors who need some time to themselves. I grew up as an only child of a busy working Mom and she taught me to learn to be able to entertain myself.
Honestly, there’s so much extra work to do without any clear idea of how long the outage will last I relax as much as possible! And I read. Hubster does his leather work.
Although we only have “adults” here we have plenty of board games, puzzles galore, acoustic guitars, drums, baritone horn, xylophone, my daughter and I both crochet, beading supplies, Sculpey clay.
If it’s daylight the guys have all their garage toys – I mean tools – to tinker with, knock hockey, multiple decks of cards, adult coloring books, word search and crossword puzzles, daily readings with meditations, play with the cat and her favorite string, a battery-powered DVD player, my daughter likes to paint, and once when my kids were little and it was a long rainy day they made their own version of “I Spy” by collecting things around the house and setting them up on the hutch in the dining room, then each one would pick something they put in there and we had to search for it, it was a lot of fun and really passed the time.
I read two of my favorite books last time…..took advantage of not wanting to keep charging our electronics! Nice to hold a real book again.
But yes, have a supply of games, Yahtzee, cards, Scrabble…
Practice instruments and singing; we read books; play outside; art projects; board games and card games; work on a hobby or learn a new one (anything from crochet to whittling); cleaning projects inside the house and yardwork/gardening outside; tell stories; try out a new recipe over the fire; set the kids free to use their imagination to entertain us.
Books, games and all kinds of needle work and basket making materials.
Besides all these great ideas (love Scrabble), I try to catch up on sleep. Without power, I am more tuned in to the rhythms of the sun.
Visiting with nearby family. Reading, especially books that have been sitting on the shelf for a while. Long walks if the weather permits. Napping. Chores. Adventures in cooking.
Sculpty clay! And other craft items. Card games. Books.
Reading paperback. Cards.
If it’s dry, drink by a campfire. If it’s a wet drink by the fireplace. Either way, the wife and I’ll have a great time.
If it’s an EMP, we’ll drink at the bug out location.
Use glow bracelets and necklaces from the 99 cent store to make a ring toss game for the kids 🙂
Blackouts are not as scary with glow sticks and glow jewelry
I read or listen to audio books. Play with the cats.
Books! I love books! I don’t often re-read books, but save (or, hoard, as my husband calls it) them anyways… I’d reread them if I got bored! The rest of my family hasn’t read anywhere close to all of them so it’d entertain them.
Board games, card games…
Sewing materials…Art supplies (for the kids)
Books, board games, art supplies – paper, markers, crayons, watercolor paints
Card games, play dough.
Put play sand in empty coffee cans or plant pots. Bring in garden solar lights and add to containers. If using a camp light or solar light, place it in front of a mirror, the room will be much brighter. Let the kids or grandkids make s’mores for snacks. Melt the marshmallow on a skewer over a candle. I keep extra chocolate bars in the freezer for this – hidden of course 🙂
Since it’s just the two of us, I usually do crocheting if in the evening or during the day normal things that don’t require electricity.
Lost power during a wind storm and caught up on reading. Made S’mores with my GF in the fire that night. I actually Miss being stuck in the dark…
I always have small wooden crafts on hand for my kids to put together. They are just little kits from the dollar store, so very inexpensive. We used them for bad weather days. I let the kids color them with markers, then we house them together.
Besides reading, games, singing storytelling et cetera, if you have kids then build a fort where you can pretend that you’re on a great adventure in the wilderness and let them be little Preppers to tell you how they should set up camp LOL. Use it as a learning experience make it fun so it’s not so scary. Have them help you make meals that way they learn also.
My kids love to play board and card games so we would get the games out, do puzzles, play with Legos, color, read books etc. We would pretty much do the same things we usually do for no TV time. I like the above idea of setting up a fort in the living room. I might also get our camping tent and bring that inside so we can ‘camp’ inside the house.
Scott My wife is expecting my 8th child. What do you think I would do during a power outage? ????
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- How to Survive a Summer Power Outage
- Staying Warm During a Winter Power Outage
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What do you do for fun during a blackout?
Share how you pass the time when the electricity goes out for a while. I may add some of your ideas into the article!
After everything is checked for problems, animals quieted, people calmed, food and snacks made we can read from our library, do arts and crafts like making puppets or adult and child coloring, watch DVDs on the portable players, or work on puzzles. After everyone is busy with something I enjoy crocheting.
We had several prolonged winter outages. We have thousands of books, a number of them kid’s books. We lit the gas fireplace, lit a bunch of candles (on pie plates), and took turns reading to each other in the dark. We also did “indoor camping,” with hot dogs, smores, etc over the fire. We hung quilts on cup hooks over doorless entries to preserve the heat. Also, a lit candle in the bathroom 30 minutes prior to a shower makes it comfortable to bathe, provided you have a gas powered water heater.
My girl friend and I play board games, drink and have a lot of sex. We also invite friends over just for board games.
I sit facing the front door with my Bug-Out-Bag* repeatedly listening to …
“When the Levee Breaks”
If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay.
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Lord mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home …
Oh well oh well oh well.
* inflated tire tube and rubber ducky attached.
You plan your stuff well. I’m sitting in the relative dark with Florence dumping 15 to 20 inches of rain on us. Have read 2posts about hurricanes from your blog. Yes. I’m using my cell but have lots of high power batteries. Thanks for your blog. It makes things a little easier.
Hey, you’re very welcome! I hope it helps. Hang in there and keep us posted!
The only time I went through a hurricane, in the early 2000’s, there was no power for about 7 or 10 days, and I found myself just going to bed at sunset and waking up at sunrise. I actually felt a lot healthier and happier!
Here’s a little something that works day or night — nighttime if you set up the candelabra, but leave out the obnoxious Liberace grin. Back when I was in practice, I could do all of these. The last one cost me my piano teacher when I took it to district competition, not knowing that I had bumped her son. She took revenge immediately.
Hungarian Rhapsody #2
Ritual Fire Dance
Music, music, music!
One piano (1913 upright – no power needed) a dozen ukes, several guitars, a mandolin, a banjo, six saxophones, four clarinets, a cornet, a trombone, a violin, a cajon, a Melodica, a bunch of recorders, tin whistles, ocarinas, basically enough to start a decent band.
Just need enough light to read the charts, and we’re good to go.
I switch from electric guitar to acoustic guitar. And my kids already know how to entertain themselves without screens or electricity. So nothing different for them.
Back in the ancient pre-internet era I finished many school homework lessons by kerosene lamp light. Today there is “cleaner” kerosene available that doesn’t leave residue on your ceiling.
A couple of rechargeable Luci lights (via solar or USB power) are very portable and practical.
A power outage is an excellent opportunity to revisit your camping/cooking supplies and skills whether your backup fuel might be propane, natural gas, wood sticks, wood pellets, charcoal, white gas, kerosene, butane, alcohol, or solar etc. Whether you regard such an opportunity as entertainment or a pain-in-the-neck burden is entirely up to you. Ideally it’s best to practice those skills well before the surprise need arises.
I have a couple of little battery-powered radios that I power with rechargeable Nimh batteries. I keep both solar and AC-powered chargers handy along with a supply of rechargeable batteries so I haven’t bought any alkaline batteries (the kind that sometimes corrode inside your gadgets) in a long time. A couple of those radios have in addition to AM and FM bands both a weather and shortwave capability. Rechargeable Nimh batteries also work really well for flashlights … and unlike Lithium ion batteries that are more expensive and sometimes are bad news in a fire, Nimh batteries don’t have those dangers.
Before you lose power … it might be a useful idea to order the latest 156-page catalog from Lehmans in Ohio via
They cater to the Amish non-electric communities all over the country. With that print catalog you can have fun looking through their many products (for the year-around non-electric lifestyle) even while your own power is “temporarily” out.
My 1990 copy of the book “Living Without Electricity — Lessons from the Amish” by Stephen Scott & Kenneth Pellman is a pretty good discussion of how the Amish communities do many things all year long without electric power. Amazon carries it but since it is well past the 6-months after publication rule for free interlibrary loan access, you can probably look it over for free if you prefer. And … an Amish-style beard is not necessary to scan through that book.
I remember one night a few years ago, when a friend was visiting me at my apartment. We were watching a video on tv, and the power went out for some time, at least an hour or two. Jacklynn was such a good friend that when I turned on my Luci solar lights so we could see, we didn’t miss the tv at all.
We talked! The power going out showed me what friendship is really all about. We weren’t bored for a second.