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If you're one of the eight to 10 million predicted to lose power thanks to Hurricane Sandy, your kids may be more concerned about losing their link to TV, YouTube and video games than any sort of weather emergency.
But just because the lights are out, it doesn't mean they have to just sit there staring longingly at the Wii. In fact, there are plenty of things kids can do inside that require no electricity whatsoever. Just add a little imagination and, who knows? Maybe they'll even choose to kick it old school after the power comes back on.
Game time. You've been meaning to organize a family game night for months -- maybe even years. Well, now's the time. Whether it's your old Clue game that's been gathering dust for decades, the latest Banagrams or a classic like Monopoly, board games are a hit when the power is out. And don’t forget cards: Teach your kid some new solitaire hands and they'll be occupied for hours.
Work it. Homework piling up? Seize the time at home to get those lingering assignments done. Yes, your kids will think it's lame, but no electronic distractions means the work will get done more quickly -- leaving plenty of time for fun during a day inside.
String fling. Whether you stocked up on cereal before the storm or always seem to have 10 boxes of the stuff in the pantry, kids love stringing Cheerios, Froot Loops and cereal with holes into necklaces and bracelets. Once the jewelry is made, have your kids give you a fashion show. And, if they're really hungry later? Instant snack!
Act it out. So what if TV and movies are off limits? Put on a play. Write your own script or borrow from a favorite story, then assign roles, put someone in charge of set design and costumes, have an older child or parent narrate and get ready for a star performance!
In the paint. Arts and crafts are a no-brainer when you're stuck inside with no electricity, but we have to give major ingenuity props to this twist on finger-painting. While definitely fun, tiny hands mixed with paint can equal a major mess. Instead, Feeling Lovesome recommends squeezing a couple blobs of washable finger paint into a zip-top bag, pressing the air out of it and sealing it with clear packing tape. Little ones can then move the paint all around -- without actually touching it. No muss, no fuss? Why didn't we think of this one sooner?
Fort fun. Yes, we know it's an oldie, but it's still totally a goodie. Let your kiddos go to town building a fort in their bedrooms or the living room, using pillows, cushions, the card table, chairs, blankets, whatever. Hand over a flashlight or two, drop off a few books and a snack -- and they may just spend the whole blackout in their fancy new fortress.
Treasure hunt. While the kids are whining about how bored they are cooped up inside, steal a few minutes away to create a scavenger or treasure hunt around the house or apartment. Come up with clever clues -- make them harder for older kids -- and mine your gift drawers or raid the candy stash for prizes. Nothing good on hand? Draw a picture or write down a fun reward -- hot chocolate at their favorite shop, a new book or a long-coveted game.
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