With the expectation that Irene's winds will blow with tropical storm-force capable of knocking out power for an extended period of time, it's necessary to be prepared.
You've got drinking water to last you for days. You've filled up the tub. You've stocked the shelves with non-perishable foods. You've also scoured the region for those ever-elusive D batteries, and your gas tank is full. It appears as if you've checked off everything on the list, but one question remains:
What will you do when the lights go out?
Hours in a home with friends and family members without electricity can either drive you crazy or set the scene for an evening of fun.
Here are a few ideas for activities to ensure you'll have a good time:
Are you every really too old to build a fort? The short answer is "no," just make sure you don't hog all of the fun and you let the kids in on it too.
Perhaps the best thing about building a fort is that you can use materials that you already have on hand. All you'll need is the furniture in your home, blankets, sheets or quilts, pillows, clothespins or tape, and an imagination.
There are really no rules when it comes to building a fort. Your home is your canvass. It would be wise, however, to remove all breakable or valuable items from the immediate area as forts tend to be violently demolished at one point or another.
As with any classic game, there are many variations of flashlight tag. For our purposes we'll use the rules of hide and seek, only you'll have to "tag" someone with a beam of light for the "it" status to be transferred. To keep things simple, you'll only need one of the many flashlights you've procured over the past 48 hours. Designate one of your players to be It. While It counts to 60, everyone finds a spot in the house to hide. It will then search for people throughout the house, and when they come across someone, they'll shine their light on them and call out their name. The person who was found will then become It.
This idea needs no explanation. From Candy Land to Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, all you'll need is some light nearby and some time — you'll have both. Board games provide a way to pass the time, but they may also provide you with a trip down memory lane. And if you're really serious about your games, break out the Dungeons and Dragons. In one game, a few days will pass and you'll have power again before you know it.
Charades is another game with endless possibilities. Toss all sensibilities out the door and watch friends and family members act their way to a victory in this timeless classic. Most know how to play, but in case your new to the game or need a reminder here's a link to the rules of charades.
This game should probably have a more creative name, but it doesn't. As it suggests, this game entails smelling spices and guessing what they are. But the fun is in the possibilities with this one.
Take 6-10 cups. Pour a different spice or food (onions, strawberries, whipped cream, etc.) into each cup. Cover each cup with a paper towel, secure it with a rubber band or tape, and poke holes in its top. When you're all set up blindfold the participants and have them guess what's in each cup by smelling them. If you're playing with kids, having them draw a picture of what they think is in the cup is a great modification.
OK, so a hurricane's a blowin' outside. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good night of camping (indoors, of course). Remember that fort you built? Well that will be the perfect place to crawl under and rest for the night. If you opted out of building the fort, no worries. Grab a few sleeping bags (sheets and blankets work just as well), some pillows, a battery-operated lantern and some flashlights and you'll be all set.
Have a picnic
Who said you need to be outdoors to have a picnic? Unfold a blanket on the living room floor, make some sandwiches, cut up some fresh fruit and a small salad and you're set. The whole family can have a great picnic under your own roof. If it's just you and a loved one, poor some wine and you'll be on your way to a romantic evening in a heartbeat.
Clean/Fix the house
Now that the governor has advised against leaving the house it is a perfect time to get all of those things done that you said you'd get done in the spring. That door knob that just won't turn right, the light fixture you've been meaning to install, or the dusting you've been meaning to do can all get done. All you'll need is a flashlight and your normal cleaning products (save the water).
When was the last time you picked up that guitar or paintbrush? Now would be the perfect time to resume your favorite past time. Maybe you enjoy knitting — get to it. You've got time to kill and no excuse.
This is a great activity for kids. Use pieces of cardboard boxes, old loose leaf paper or brown packing paper, and tape them to the wall. Have one person stand in front of the piece of paper while another shines a light on them. You can go ahead and trace their shadow. The fun part is handing over some markers or paint to the person who's shadow was traced and letting them use their imagination to fill in the outline with whatever they'd like.
Read A Book Out Loud
This is without a doubt the oldest activity here, but it's probably something everyone in the house should do more often. You can also modify this activity to become a way to learn more about the people you care about by having each person choose a book to read an excerpt from, and then have them explain why they chose that book or that passage.