October 28, 2012

15 Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy when the Power's Out

When the power goes out, it can be extra challenging to keep your kids busy.   You often don't realize how much you rely on electricity until you don't have it for a few hours (or a few days).  As we prepare for Hurricane Sandy ( aka the "Frankenstorm") here on the East Coast, I thought I'd come up with a list of things your kids can do that don't require power.  Many of the supplies you'll already have on hand, others you can easily pick up when you're out at the store stocking up before the storm.

  Click on the link in each title or on the photos 
for a full post with recipes and directions

1.  Make and play with some some Playdoh 

Supplies ~ flour, oil, salt,  cream of tartar, Kool Aid packets,

(NOTE: This recipe does require using boiling water, so if you have an electric stove, make up a few batches before the power goes out)

 2.  Make some GAK

Supplies ~ Borax (found in laundry aisle at Target, Walmart, etc.), white glue, food coloring

3.  Make some Optical Illusion Handprints

Supplies ~ paper, markers, a hand

4.  Make some Marbleized Paper

Supplies ~ shaving cream, acrylic paint or food coloring, paper

5.  Make some Sand Art Using Colored Salt

Supplies ~ salt, colored chalk, plastic freezer bags,  empty bottle or sand art container

6.  Make your own chalkboards (You're not limited to only black paper and square shapes ~ you can make your chalkboards in any color or shape)

Supplies  ~ construction paper, white glue, chalk, foam paintbrush

7.  Play with some Water Beads

Supplies ~ water beads (can be found at the Dollar Store or craft stores)

8.  Paint a Mural on a Shower Curtain 

Supplies ~ plastic shower curtain (from the Dollar Store), acrylic paints and brushes

9.  Make some beautiful, swirling colors in a bowl of milk

Supplies ~ whole milk, food coloring, dish soap

10.  Mix up some Cloud Dough

Supplies ~ flour, oil (baby oil, vegetable oil, etc)

11.  Make a Marshmallow Shooter and have an Indoor Target Practice

 Supplies ~ plastic cup (or empty yogurt container), balloons, marshmallows, pom-poms or ping pong balls

12.  Go on a Paint Swatch Scavenger Hunt

Supplies ~ Paint Swatch cards

13.  Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Supplies ~ Empty plastic bottle, vegetable oil, water, food coloring,  Alka Seltzer tablets

14.  Paint with some Kool Aid

Supplies ~ paper, unsweetened Kool Aid packets, paintbrushes

15.  Make your Drinks Glow in the Dark

Supplies ~ glow sticks,  red solo cups, clear plastic cups that can fit inside red cups, clear beverage

Of course, there's always the other standbys ~ card games, board games, coloring books, etc. ~ but I hope this list helps to keep your little ones busy during any power outages (or anytime you want to be "unplugged" on purpose)

Sharing our ideas at:


  1. These are great ideas! I am pinning these and sharing them on my facebook page. Thanks for posting!

  2. These are all great--I wrote down a ton!!! Thanks so much! We live in MN, no storm coming, but winters are loooooong!

  3. We did several of these this summer during our "cousin camp" and they were all huge successes! Thanks again for sharing your simple, yet genius ideas with us!!!

  4. Just made playdough. My 10 year old was able to do it by herself and was so proud. She is now playing while we are watching the trees swaying during Hurricane Sandy. Thank you for the awesome ideas. We are trying the optical illusion later today.

  5. Thnaks for providing these lovely ideas for Kids to make them busy , Specially I like the Black Board Idea , its great. Thanks a Lot

  6. Great ideas! Definitely will spice up the typical afternoon.

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  7. Super cool things to do w kids!:)

  8. We have 5 kids and we always make sure their ipods are loaded with audiobooks, that way they can stay busy no matter what. There's lots of great sites to get them on, but we use this one a lot because the stories are all original and free. Here's the link if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/stories-for-kids

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