When big storms hit, it suddenly dawns on me that while I might be prepared for the wrath of Mother Nature, I am not in any way prepared for the wrath of the six bored children stuck inside my house because of a storm.
In order to be prepared for a storm, the American Red Cross recommends these supplies:
- At least 3-day supply of water – one gallon per person, per day
- Food – a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food
- Manual can opener
- Battery powered or hand crank radio
- Extra batteries (flashlight, radio)
- First aid kit
- Cell phone with chargers (for home and car)
- Medications (7 day’s supply) and medical items
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Baby supplies
- Pet supplies
- Copies of important personal documents
- Family contact information
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra cash
- Extra set of clothing and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Towels and bedding (blanket or sleeping bag)
Pretty important thing, but in order to not go completely crazy, I have decided to add a few of my own. The list of items and activities below is part of what I call the “Hurricane Survival Kit for Parents.”
- Cotton Balls
- Bean Bags
- Empty Paper towel tubs
- Empty Toilet paper rolls
- Construction Paper
1. Collect boxes throughout the year and pile them in a closet somewhere. Grab a few large ones if you see someone moving in, save shoe boxes each time you purchase a pair, and keep a few flat shirt boxes from the holidays around, as well. During a storm, the large boxes can be made in to a spaceship, grocery store, monster cave, or princess castle. Use crayons, construction paper, and glue to decorate as your kids they imagine it. Young children will love to put their feet in the shoe boxes and “skate” around the house in them. The flat shirt boxes can be used to create a small soccer field. Give each child and straw and cotton ball and let the games begin. The children use the straws to blow the cotton ball into the other person’s goal.
2. After a few hours of rain, the children will be looking for a way to burn some energy. Create an indoor obstacle course designed based on their ages, abilities, and of course, the amount of space that you have. The great thing about an obstacle course is that you can change it every time they want to play, so they will never get bored of it. If they master the first course, rearrange it to create a more difficult one. Here is an example of an indoor obstacle course:
- Crawl over a row of chairs.
- Crawl under a table.
- Walk across a balance board (if you don’t have a piece of wood, use a piece of string or tape and create a straight line for them to walk across.)
- Jump in and out of a Hula-Hoop five times.
- Walk to the end of a room with a book balanced on your head.
- Toss a bean bag or ball into a laundry basket.
- Do ten jumping jacks.
The game could go on and on, but you get the idea!
3. Remember when you were a kid, jumping from couch to couch, pretending that if you touched the ground you would get swallowed by hot lava? The game is still a ton of fun for explorers of all ages. My children love pretending to avoid dangers like boiling-hot lava, alligators, snakes, and quicksand. Use throw pillows, towels, couch cushions, and sheets, telling your children that the only way to escape the danger it is to step on the “rocks and objects” that cover the floor. This will keep them busy for hours, and their imagination will be working full time! Beds, chairs, and sofas can be the “safe” ground.
4. When they are exhausted from the obstacle course and avoiding dangers like lava, they might be ready for a quiet game. Pull a random item out of your pantry, and have them make up a commercial about the product. Their creativity will make you laugh and who knows; maybe it will be the next YouTube hit!
5. Take an empty paper towel roll and cut it in half length wise. Give each person one half and take a marble. Standing next to each other, paper towel roll end to end, try and pass the marble without dropping it. Once you have passed your marble, run to the end of the line, and get ready to catch it. See how far you can travel before it drops!
6. Start stocking up on board games now. Begin by collecting board games you see on sale at the store, at garage sales, or that your friends’ children have outgrown. Keep them in the closet with your hurricane supplies, and when a storm hits, the children will be excited to see new games that they have yet to play.
Hurricane preparedness is something we all need to keep up on, and when storms hit, it’s a wake-up call. If you are a parent, I would add a few things to the regular “Hurricane Survival Kit,” so that not only is your family safe during a storm, but you can also stay sane!
Do you have a list of “must haves” or ideas of activities to do with your children to stay sane during a storm? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or share them at www.facebook.com/tlhmoms.