Friday, October 26, 2012

Family Fun

Lights Out!

The lights went out on Oct. 29th, 2011. Computers suddenly went black and we struggled to find some matches to light a candle. Last year we had a crazy snowstorm on Halloween and this year we are supposed to be hit by a hurricane. What do you do when the lights go out?

We live in New England so power failures are not unusual in the winter. I was not prepared for one so early in the season and found myself a little frustrated without a good supply of candles. My son asked me, "How did
people do anything before electricity, candles give off so little light?" It's true, I could not even read a book. I told him, "I think they went to bed
early and got up at the crack of dawn."

This got me thinking though, about Family Fun Nights. Sometimes we have to be prepared to make the best of things. I remember when my kids were young and we had a long power outage, how we cuddled in the living room under blankets and read books by flashlight until we fell asleep. That was fun and the kids wanted to do it again even when we had power.

You don't have to wait for a power outage, you can stage one for a night of fun. Plan ahead by purchasing or borrowing a gas or oil lamp. You may also want to have a small flashlight and extra batteries for each child's safety. Create a meal plan that requires no cooking, or if you have a fire place you can try roasting corn or potatoes in foil. This could be a great learning experience for young children to prepare them for the real thing by helping them feel safe. If your kids are elementary school age you can help them learn about life in earlier time periods when oil, gas or candles were used for lamps.

Think of some games you can play together that don't require a lot of light. Games like Mancala, Jenga, or even Twister don't require reading and could be played with light from an oil lamp. Of course you could use flashlights and play cards or any board games if your kids are old enough to not get frustrated.

Another idea would be to set up a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt ahead of time that can be done with flashlights. If it's not too cold and your kids are old enough you cold play flashlight tag outside. Flashlight shadow plays and making scary faces with the flashlight under your chin are good indoor entertainment for younger kids.

Teaching our children that they can take care of themselves and even have fun without electricity is a great way to prepare them for unexpected circumstances in life. Having a Family Night with no electricity requires and teaches creativity, and it can also be an enjoyable bonding experience. What will you do the next time the lights go out?

(partially re-posted from 11/11/2011)


  1. Now a days with iPad and internet, I could hardly have play time or chat time with my teenage sons so last month, one night the electricity went out at night for a couple of hours. Me and my two teenage sons were busy lighting tiny candles and putting it all round the house and cracking jokes and poking fun at each other. It was the best couple of hours.We just sit around chatting and laughing. I should wish for more blackouts. Other days they would be busy with their schoolwork or chatting with friends via the internet or computer games. Those were the days.

    1. I know what you mean, my boys are always on the screens these days too!


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