4-12 year olds Parenting

A Power Cut: Back to Basics Entertainment

a game of Norwich Monopoly in progress during a power cut

We had a power cut last week. Amidst the stormy weather and atrocious downpour of rain, the electricity went off, so it was back to basics when it came to entertainment in our household.

It was partway through drying my partner’s daughter’s hair when the lights started to flicker, and then came the partial darkness, the initial silence, following by gasps and slight panic in the air. I think most of those were from the older boys because their Xbox had gone off before the game had been saved. Disaster.

So, what did I do? I went to my trusted drawer of board games and dragged out the Monopoly, of course. Luckily, it was only dusk, so a few candles provided enough light to see the rent owed and accurately count the money.

Most of the children had never played the game before. Having the Norwich edition meant that they recognised the places on the board, excited in particular about Carrow Road and Norwich Castle. While it did provide a good amount of fun for the older three children, it also had some educational benefits, too. Counting money is a vital skill, and understanding the idea of budgeting, borrowing money, being in debt and possibly getting a mortgage are all important lessons in life, too.

A power cut isn’t exactly something that any of us would wish for, but it was lovely to see the children engaged in something that didn’t involve a screen. The only sounds were the laughter, the arguments and the cheers made by them while the game was in play – much better than the computer game sounds that we are so accustomed to hearing.

Being Prepared

Living in rural Norfolk, it is perhaps time that we prepared a power cut pack, ready for such an occurrence in the future. So, this is what we are going to set aside in the cupboard under the stairs where everyone can access it easily.

  • Torches – a mixture of the wind-up ones and those which require batteries.
  • Batteries – in case the torches happen to have been ‘borrowed’ before the power cut and used as part of nighttime den building.
  • Deck of cards – there are so many fantastic card games that you can play with children to help keep them occupied.
  • A couple of board games – it won’t always be as easy to navigate around the house with the power off, so having an easily accessible board game or two will make life easier.
  • Paper and colouring pencils – such a versatile selection as you could use them to draw, play noughts and crosses, hangman, squares, for example.
  • Snacks – a selection of things with a long use-by date, such as cereal bars and crisps could be packed in there, as long as they won’t attract vermin – just be sure to check on them regularly to ensure they are in date.
  • Charger pack – finally, power cuts always seem to happen when your phone is almost drained. Keep a charger pack in the emergency preparation pack, but be sure to charge it up regularly as it will drain when it hasn’t been used.

How do you cope when there’s been a power cut? What sort of things would you put into an emergency pack, ready for a day or night of no electricity?

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