5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained, No Electricity Necessary
Written by Chad Birt on Tue Aug 30 2022.
Tablets, video games, and smartphones have made it easier than ever to keep your kids entertained. Parenting is stressful, and we all need an occasional reprieve, but screens can only do so much. According to Common Sense Media, kids two and under watch an average of40 minutes of TV per day, but that number explodes to an average ofsix hours a day by age eight.
Many parents worry about their children’s electronics consumption. If you’re one of them, consider trying some different, hands-on activities at home. Options abound, whether you’re planning a fun weekend or trying to stay busy during a power outage.
Below, we’ve highlighted 5 ways to keep your kids entertained, no electricity required. All of the items listed are fun, easy, and cheap enough to align with any budget.
1) Build a fort
A homemade fort can transport you to the cold, antarctic tundra or a desolate outpost in the wild west. The only limit is your child’s imagination. Get as elaborate (or simple) as you want.
Furniture, like a couch or several dining room chairs, can serve as the fort’s drywall. Once you establish a basic structure, drape sheets, blankets, or afghans over the furniture. Prevent the blankets from falling by clipping them together with clothespins or weighing them down with books and shoes.
Fill the inside of the fort with adequate supplies, including blankets, pillows, and reading material. Since guarding a fort is serious business, you might also want to stock up on snacks, such as fresh fruit, vegetable slices, and graham crackers.
Pro tip: Don’t forget adequate lighting if there’s a power outage. Forts need protection from potential invaders, so equip the night watch (i.e., your children) with flashlights, lanterns, or headlamps. If you have pets, your dog or cat might even need to serve as the fort’s guard animal.
2) Write a bedtime story
Do your children enjoy listening to bedtime stories? If so, an afternoon of story writing can spark their imagination, create a magical world they can escape to, and keep boredom at bay.
No experience in storytelling? Don’t worry about it! All stories follow the same seven-step structure:
Step one: Have your child come up with a story idea.
Step two: Encourage them to create a main character and setting.
Step three: Have your child write the story’s introduction.
Step four: Establish a conflict or obstacle. (I.e., Ask your child to come up with a challenge the main character must overcome.)
Step five: Introduce a turning point. (This happens during the middle of a story; maybe the main character feels self-conscious, but they have an A-ha! moment and overcome it with bravery.)
Step six: Resolve the conflict. Ask your child how the story ends. Encourage them to get as creative or silly as possible.
After your child comes up with a bedtime story, have them write it down. If they enjoy drawing and coloring, you can ask them to illustrate the story too.
Have young children who aren’t yet able to write? Ask them to tell you their story. You can either write it down for them or record it on your smartphone or tablet.
3) Take a trip down memory lane
When was the last time you sat down with the kids and looked through your family photo albums? It’s probably been a while, right? Smartphones and tablets have made photography something we all take for granted. But not that long ago, taking and developing pictures was a more complicated process.
Looking through family photos and yearbooks is a fun way to travel back in time. You can share funny stories, reflect on past get-togethers, or reminisce about holiday traditions. As a parent, looking at pictures also presents an opportunity to connect with your kids on a more personal level. Sharing stories from your childhood is an easy, but often overlooked way to bond.
4) Sing some acapella
Singing helps children master language and listening skills. It also releases endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals, which reduce anxiety and stimulate feelings of trust. What better way to pass the time in the event of a power outage or a time-out from electronics?
You don’t need to have a Grammy award-winning voice to enjoy crooning with your kids. It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune. Just open your mouth and start singing one of these classic songs:
Home on the Range
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Weiner
Don’t let children’s songs limit you. If your kids are pop, rock, or opera aficionados print out some song lyrics and host a family concert.
5) Get outside and move around
Often, the best way to keep your kids entertained is to send them outside for some fresh air. There’s something about a soft breeze, the sound of birds chirping, and the sun on the skin that makes video games and electronics less appealing.
Still, you might need to come up with activities to help your kids stay out of trouble. Some of our favorite outdoor games include hide and seek, hopscotch, and capture the flag. You can also play classic playground games, such as catch, jump rope, or kickball.
Share Your Electricity-Free Activities With Us!
Do you have a non-electronic activity that didn’t make our list? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Please, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carewellfamily/ and share your feedback. We’d love for you to join the conversation!
Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.