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Keeping kids busy when the lights go out

No matter how well you plan ahead, you will probably experience a power outage at some point in your life. No matter if it's the middle of summer or the dead of winter, sudden darkness can be challenging.

If playing outdoors isn't an option, there's plenty to do inside when the lights go out
If playing outdoors isn't an option, there's plenty to do inside when the lights go out
Sandy Wallace
Lighting candles will help you see in the dark, but be sure to keep matches away from kids and to extinguish candles when you leave the room
Sandy Wallace

With a little advance planning, you can enjoy family fun in the dark. Check with your power company to determine whether the power outage is widespread or just in your neighborhood.

Contact Appalachian Power or your local company by phone. Keep a recent bill handy with the phone number and your account number to report your outage.

If the weather's warm, you can head outdoors and enjoy some family fun in your own backyard. But many power outages take place in the winter or late in the day.

Here are some family activities to enjoy indoors when there's no power. Pick one or two to do together and the your time in the darkness will fly by.

Be sure to bundle up if it's cold. Pull out sweaters and blankets to stay warm, especially if the power will be out for a while. Gathering in one room will help keep everyone warm.

Light a candle or two. They say it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Kids love candlelight but be sure to keep matches where kids can't reach them and extinguish candles as you leave the room.

Find the flashlights. If you have enough, issue one to each family member to stay safe while walking through dark areas in the house.

Play flashlight tag. This works well if you have a long hallway or a large den or basement where the kids can run. Be careful of furniture and other tripping hazards.

Pull out the board games or cards. If your kids usually play video games, board games will be a nice change of pace. A game of Monopoly, Candyland or Fish by candlelight can be fun for all ages.

Bring out your craft box and make cards for friends or relatives. Let the kids use scissors, paper, markers and other craft supplies to create artwork for your fridge.

Play dress-up or have a fashion show. Pull out the Halloween costumes or dress-up clothing. Create a runway in your family room or living room and enjoy the show.

Tell stories. The art of storytelling can be fun for kids of all ages. Share stories about life when you were a child, tell ghost stories, make up funny stories or create a story and let everyone add to the tale.

Invite neighborhood friends over for an impromptu party. Let everyone bring snacks they have on hand. Time will go by faster as you enjoy time with friends.

If the power outage lasts past mealtime, go out for breakfast or call to have pizza delivered. This is also a good option for writers when the power goes out. This article is brought to you courtesy of the free Wi-Fi at Panera Bread.

It's good to experience an unplugged day from time to time. Celebrate the darkness and the lack of power as you make family memories together.

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