I'm not talking about how to deal with domestic chores or the feeding and watering of animals. Nor am I talking about how to start a fire or build a shelter or forage for food. All of us will have plenty to do what with laundry and meals and dealing with sanitary conditions. Those who raise animals and gardens will be even more busy. I am talking about how to keep the kids from killing one another or driving you crazy during the times when, with electricity, they would be busy with their computers or cell phones or watching television. Or those adult apartment dwellers like this chubby granny who will need to have something to occupy their time when the chores are completed. Sitting in the dark waiting for the sunrise is sort of a bleak prospect.
My number one suggestion is books. Real paper books. I love my Kindle, but unless I invest in a solar charger, when the battery runs down, I am done. And I am not talking about the how-to books or medical books or survival books most preppers want on their bookshelves. Those are important, but I'm talking about picture books for the little ones. Story books, adventure books, girly-girl romance books for the pre-teens. Mysteries, spy novels, travel books, history and biographies for the rest of us. Many afternoons and evenings have been wiled away, lost in stories found in books. Sleepless nights have occurred when I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next.
There are other kinds of books. For the kids, coloring books and sticker books. There are all sorts of activity books for kids that not only keep them busy but can also teach. My mother, who was in a nursing home but still had a very sharp mind, went through so many puzzle books to pass the time and keep her mind active, that my Dad had a hard time finding books for her that she hadn't already done. There are how-to books. Learn to knit. Learn to crochet. Learn how to build a birdhouse. Learn just about anything you want to learn with a book. Remember, without electricity, YouTube doesn't exist. Nor do Google searches.
You don't need to sell the farm in order to buy books. My local library has a book sale every summer. There are used book shops, thrift shops and garage sales. I checked Craig's List and found a complete set of the 'Little House' books for $3 each and a set of 32 military history books for $30. The good prices on books are out there. We just have to look.
Then there are craft supplies. One year for Christmas I gave my then pre-teen grands small tubs full of craft supplies. Construction paper, drawing paper, pencils, markers, a small paint set, sequins, buttons, scissors, glue sticks, feathers, art foam, etc. Kept them busy for hours. I have a stash of yarn and another of fabric. And a picnic basket full of sewing supplies. I make things. I also have a stash of scrapbooking supplies. I would bet that some of my grands would love to make small picture albums from those. And a stash of beads and jewelry making supplies. One granddaughter gave me a bracelet she made, so I know she would have fun creating necklaces and ear rings.
Board games are another way to pass the time and have fun doing it. Usually when my family gets together, sooner or later you will find several of them engrossed in a game of Monopoly or Yahtzee or Sorry. Playing cards are used for any number of games as well as solitaire. I need to pick up Uno cards and a couple of the other specialty card games to have on hand.
I know that in a real grid down situation, much of our time will be spent just staying alive. But we also need some down time to decompress. The constant stress can wreak havoc on the human body and mind, and when that happens we are useless to our kids, our loved ones and ourselves. And kids don't always understand the seriousness of a situation and they need to be kept busy when plunking them down in front of a TV for cartoons or video games is no longer an option.
I truly hope it never comes to this. But the world has gotten so very out of control that I wouldn't bet against it happening. And if it does, this is just another part of being prepared.
Thank you Brig!
23 minutes ago