Losing power for any considerable amount of time, whether it's because of a snow storm or a fallen power line, is a challenge in and of itself. Add kids to the mix and it becomes a zoo. What happens when the television doesn't work and mommy needs a break? Here are some ideas to keep on hand (and print out since the internet won't work without power) that will make for an easier time.

  1. Play games. Play match, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, for the younger group, and Uno, or Phase 10 for the older ones when the Wii is out. Teach them how to play Solitaire if you need some time by yourself.
     
  2. Build forts. Mess up your living room and turn it into a giant jungle gym. Throw pillows, cushions, blankets, whatever you can gather, and let them go at it.
     
  3. Play camping. Bring out the sleeping bags and have them tell stories by a pretend (obviously) fire ring. If you can, get some chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows and have "raw" s'mores. Tell them to act like wild animals while they snack on their prey.
     
  4. Read. What an idea. Explain to your kids what entertained our great-grandparents before netflix. Start reading a classic to them, like Alice in Wonderland, or the Secret Garden. You can use this time to sow seeds that will grow their love of reading.
     
  5. Organize. Use time away from Facebook to organize a closet, or a drawer. Encourage your kids to start their own project, or let them help you with yours, if they can.
     
  6. Deep clean. Give your kids toothbrushes, and have them help with the bathtub while you scrub the toilet. May not be fun, but I guarantee, they'll be off on their own before too long and you'll have some quiet time to yourself.
     
  7. Go outside. Even if it's cold, bundle up and let them get out some energy. Heat a pot of water on a Coleman stove outside and serve them some hot cocoa.
     
  8. Art time. Give them paper and colors and tell them to draw what they like best about the power outage. You may be surprised to find how much they enjoy the change of pace.
     
  9. Wrap "presents." Have them pick out a few toys and wrap them with leftover Christmas paper, or birthday paper. Then have a gift exchange after dinner.
     
  10. Get together with other parents and their kids. Let them all play together. Then you can get some adult time and see what other people are doing to stay sane.

Losing power is an inconvenience, but it's also a great time to grow your family closer together. Time gets slower and memories get made. Try to keep this perspective when things get hard. And remember, the lights will be on again soon. My power was out for five days. If I could survive it, you can too. Trust me.

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