Electricity is such an integral part of life that it can be difficult to imagine what life would be like without it. However, most people have experienced power outages, however rarely. At these times, many people realize that they are not prepared for such a situation. On the other hand, there are many who are choosing to move off the grid and say goodbye to standard electricity. Either way, finding ways to entertain one’s self and one’s family and learning how to survive without electricity can be challenging to those who have made a habit of electronic entertainment such as movies, videos, video games, social media, and other digital amusements.
Many of today’s adults spent a lot of time when they were children outdoors playing games with the neighborhood kids. Those classic games are still fun and there are new games that have been developed since then.
- Bring Home the Bacon –One person is the Leader (can be a player, but better if it is a separate person) and the group is divided into two equal teams. They line up on opposite sides of an imaginary square, with an object in the center to serve as the “bacon” – a bandana or soft toy works well. Each team is numbered, starting at left facing the line. This means the #1 person on each team is at the opposite corner of the square.The Leader calls out a number and the two players with that number race for the center. Whoever gets the “bacon” first gets a point for their team. Choose how many turns each player will have and play that many rounds. It could also be done with a die or drawing from a hat, if desired.
- Hide and Seek –The quintessential outdoor game, hide and seek is often a favorite. However, if the family is tired of the standard rules, try changing it up a bit. Play sardine-style, where one person hides, and everyone looks for them – as each finds the hider, they hide in the same location, until only one person has not hidden. Whoever found the hider first gets to start the hiding next round.
- Kickball –With any type of round play ball, a game of kickball can be setup. Choose bases in a rough square, divide into two teams, have someone pitch from the center, and have fun!
There are things to do outdoors that are not games, as well. Nature provides a variety of activities, and sometimes being less structured can be the catalyst for amazing imagination adventures.
- Build a Campfire – There is nothing quite like a nice campfire with s’mores, hot dogs, and campfire songs and stories to pass some time.
- Race – Foot races are fun. If there are a variety of ages and sizes in the group, try setting up different start times or start locations to give smaller or younger people a chance of winning. Try other options like three-legged races, sack races, and other options.
- Ride a Bike –Ride in the neighborhood or, if everyone has a bike, go for a longer ride. See nature or town from a bike instead of a car. Stop to look closer at flowers, plants, and trees.
- Scavenger Hunt –Set up a list of items in nature to find, or hide things to find, and give everyone a list to see who can find everything first.
Tabletop games and other indoor games are an excellent way to pass time. There are many more games available than can possibly be listed here, but these include some classic favorites and some newer options from a variety of types of games.
Board, Card, and Dice Games
Any six six-sided dice can be used for this game. Roll all dice to get points; stop and keep your points or re-roll if you get points but be careful! If you do not get points in a roll, you lose all the points that round! How long you play will depend on how many rounds you choose to play.
A classic way to spend time, Monopoly comes in a classic version as well as a variety of other “-opoly” games, ranging from Junior and Cats vs Dogs to card and dice versions, and all sorts of similar-but-different games like Farm-Opoly, Bibleopoly, America-opoly, and state and city -opolies.
A poker face is a requirement to get very far in this game. Each player acts as the Sheriff once per round; two or three rounds are played, depending on how many are playing. The players choose goods – and possibly contraband – to put into their pouches. They hand them to the Sheriff and state the contents – “3 apples” for instance. Only one legal commodity can be announced, regardless of what the pouch actually contains. The sheriff must determine whether the pouch actually contains the stated goods or whether the player is trying to smuggle other goods. Players can attempt to bribe the sheriff to open their opponent’s pouch and/or not to open theirs. If the Sheriff opens the pouch and there is no contraband, he must pay the player; if there is contraband, the player must pay him (and lose the contraband). Contraband that is smuggled successfully results in more value at the end; the player with the most net worth wins!
10 mystery books in game format, these are played by up to 8 players ages 12 and up who follow the case, make notes, and study the evidence to discover the culprit. This game will take 2-3 hours to play.
Another classic, this card game is simple enough for very young children but still enjoyable for adults. Like Monopoly, it has a lot of alternate versions and spin-offs, such as Mega Hit, Splash, Flip, Attack, Showdown, Deluxe, and more.
Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set 5th Edition - DND Starter Kit - Dice in Black Bag - Fun DND Rolling Board Games for Adults - New Adult Magic Board Game 5e Beginner Popular Pack Die Book
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Coin and Flour Game – Pack about a cup of flour tightly into a cup, then put it on a plate without losing its shape. Set a coin on top. Each player uses a butter knife or plastic knife to slice off a bit of the flour. If the coin falls, the player whose cut caused it must get the coin out of the flour – with their teeth!
RPG – Role Playing Games encompass a large variety of tabletop games, from Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder to any type of creating a story from the characters’ perspectives, using some random way to determine if it works or not. Most often played with a set of polyhedral dice (ranging from two sides to twenty – and occasionally 60 or 100), these games can fill a lot of time while sparking imagination. Campaigns can be completely made up or pre-made campaigns can be purchased in books or printed from websites. Some options are simple while others can be quite complex.
This starter set comes with basic 5e rules, a set of 7 dice and a flannel dice bag for 6 people, and printable cheat sheets for the Dungeon Master (DM), paper figures, blank character sheet, and map sheets with a 1” grid by email.
This silicone mat features squares on one side and hexagons on the other to make it easy to set up a battle mat for pretty much any RPG. Use dry erase markers for marking walls and obstacles.
An octagon dice tray accompanies 105 polyhedral dice (15 sets) in a variety of colors.
Sometimes people get tired of games. There are other ways to occupy one’s self in the house, just like there are outdoors.
Build a Fort –Use blankets on existing furniture to create a fun place to read or play. Light that is already being produced by flashlights can be produced in a blanket fort just as easily!
Build with LEGO –Always a favorite, LEGO bricks can be used to build so many things. Have a contest or choose a type of town or village to create with the toys.
Create Art in Roundabout –Sit around the table and start each person with a sheet of paper and their own medium (pencil, marker, crayon). Set a timer. Each person draws on the paper in front of them until the timer goes off, then the paper is handed to the person next to them, the timer is reset, and the drawing continues. Keep drawing and passing until the paper returns to the original artist, then enjoy the creations!
Jigsaw Puzzle – Whether no puzzles have been previously done in your house or whether your family are puzzle fiends, this can be a fun family activity. People new to puzzles may want to start with 100-piece options, while others may prefer 1000 pieces – or more!
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Ravensburger is a company known for puzzles, and their puzzles range from easy to difficult. This one has 3000 pieces and creates a picture 17” x 11.75”.
For a sturdy puzzle that will last for years, a wooden puzzle may be an option. This puzzle has pieces with unique shapes, and while it is only 206 pieces, it will offer a challenge to most puzzle afficianados.
Mad libs can be reused by slipping pages into sheet protectors and using a dry erase marker to fill in the words.
Alternately, take any text and remove key words, making a note of their part of speech. Have the family fill in these blanks with words of their choosing.
Read – either read-aloud by a parent or individual reading time. This is best done with paper books, as electronic books will run out of charge eventually. If interaction is preferred, try a Choose Your Own Adventure book and take turns choosing the next page.
Sing – Even those who are not good at singing can enjoy it. Sing silly songs or popular songs. Do not worry about getting all the notes exactly right – just belt it out! If music comes easy to the people singing or if they know music well, try harmonizing.
These are obviously not the only options but should get a family started with some ideas for filling the time when electricity is not an option.