When I posted last Thursday about playing in the mud, I had no idea how challenging our coming weekend was going to be. Who could have imagined the gale force winds, trees falling over, extended power outages etc that occurred on Friday night. As I write this, I am very thankful for the crews that got our power working by middle of the night Sunday, and I pray for peace and comfort for those who are still waiting for their comforts to be returned.
I have seen many people post about how frustrated their children are by the lack of television. Fortunately, my children are much older and can understand why it won’t work. We are a family of readers so we all had a constant companion of a book while we were without power (I haven’t read that much for extended amounts of time in years – it was actually the most enjoyable part of the whole ordeal.)
While I am not an advocate of NO television, it gave me pause to realize just how much we rely on screens (video games, televisions, computers) to entertain us. I have to admit to charging my cell phone in my car a couple times a day so I could check the news websites and Facebook for updates.
So, this morning, since I had to cancel classes due to the challenges of no power, I thought I would generate a list of things to do when the power is out:
1. Make up your own story – even the youngest children, if verbal at all, can contribute to making up a story with the older children and adults in his life. Perhaps an adult could scribe it to save it for later review, or an older child could illustrate it.
2. Collect things – go outside – find rocks, leaves, sticks (there were plenty of these around). Arrange them by size or color. Count them. Group them. My sister and I used to color on rocks with crayons and then sit them in the sun to watch the crayon melt together (we always thought we could sell them but no one bought).
3. Clean out the toys – I bet by going through them you will discover ones that haven’t been played with in weeks, months, or years, that will present new novelty - at least for a while.
4. lay on the floor quietly and just listen – make a list of what you hear after 2 minutes. What was the loudest sound, the quietest one? Can you reproduce that sound with mouth or body percussion?
5. SING – it doesn’t matter what you sing, it doesn’t matter what it sounds like or if you have all the right words. Make up new words to old tunes. Make up a sad song about not having t.v. Families singing together is an important heritage and one that isn’t encouraged or thought about in the rush of a normal day.
6. Play cards or a board game. Even preschoolers can play Memory with a regular deck of cards (match black numbers and red ones). Candyland, Chutes and Ladders etc.
7. Play active games – remember Simon Says and Mother May I? What about Red Light/Green Light? If you don’t know these games look them up (if you are reading this blog I know you have internet)
8. Catch fire flies.
9. Learn to catch and throw a ball. If you don’t have a ball, make one out of crumpled paper, or rubber bands, or duct tape.
10. Blow bubbles – it isn’t the greatest solution in the world, but my grandmother used to mix dish soap in some water. We would dip our fists in the solution and blow through our hands. This is a cool activity too – keep those hands and wrists cool and your body will be too.
One bonus – READ – read magazines, read the Bible, read the instructions off food packages in the pantry. Reading anything at all builds vocabulary. Have young children identify letters. Cut them out and arrange them in alphabetical order.
We will all survive this. And before long, everyone will go back to watching t.v., playing video games, and hanging out on Facebook. Just don’t forget – it can be fun to be unplugged once in a while.