Games, crafts light up days with no power


July 28, 2005|By Erica Kritt | Erica Kritt,SUN STAFF

No matter the weather, a summer thunderstorm can approach at any moment and knock out the power and plans of the day. While the storm may be depressing, there are still lots of things that can get accomplished and keep kids having fun even when they're not in the sun.

Kids nowadays are used to playing on their Xboxes, Playstations and computers, and a power outage can seem devastating. And to the younger set, it can be downright scary. But it doesn't have to be. There are many things to do when the lights go out, with just a flashlight and some fresh batteries.

Here are a few ideas and activities that can help calm, occupy and entertain kids during a power outage:

Storytelling : Everyone loves a good story. So parents might want to recount the adventures of Little Red Riding Hood, or tell the love story of Cinderella and her Prince Charming. Storytelling is used by many local residents, including Randallstown grandmother Ava Brown. "[If there was a storm,] I would gather everyone in one room and do some storytelling," Brown says.

For older kids, there is nothing creepier than a ghost story told on a dark and rainy night.

Crafts: Before the stories, make puppets using scissors, colored paper, markers, glue and either Popsicle sticks or paper bags. Then the puppets can help tell the story. Crafts, no matter how simple, like coloring books and crayons, can always brighten a dark day.

Games: Hunker down for an evening of Monopoly or play the game of Life. With a flashlight, any board game can turn into hours of family fun. A power outage can provide for an evening of games and challenges. Also have a couple of decks of cards on hand to play Go Fish or War or to make up your own card game.

To take full advantage of the dark, you could also play flashlight tag, where, like in hide-and-seek, one person searches for the others. When they find a person, they can shine the flashlight on them and that person then becomes "it." Shadow puppets are another great use of the flashlight.

Brain Teasers: Many kids can get flustered or scared by a thunderstorm, so it is important to help them understand. According to the Lightning Protection Institute, simple counting and division can determine where a storm is. Count the seconds between a bolt of lightning and the subsequent thunder, then divide that number by five. That is how far away the storm is in miles. This activity helps kids to understand what is going on outside. Tunisia Owens from Baltimore helps her kids wrap their minds around the storm. "I talk them through [the storm] and make sure they understand what is going on."

With these activities, a power outage doesn't have to be an extended nap time -- or whine central.

For more family events, see Page 33.

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