Stuff to Do without Electricity

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I love the internet and streaming and my tablet and all that technology. But sometimes, the electricity goes out for longer than your battery lasts. Or once in a while, you feel the need to turn everything off and be entertained by something you can a touch. There’s so much stuff to do without electricity.

Game pieces and dice on a board

Emergency Lighting

The first thing you’ll need is some type of emergency lighting – unless it’s daytime. I recommend super bright dimmable LED lanterns. Get at least 2 for the household so people have one to carry around the house. These are actually bright enough to read by.

Stuff to do without electricity

Board Games

The great thing about board games is the variety. They can challenge your mind like Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. Or they can be ridiculously goofy like Operation. 

And then there are the games that teach strategy, like chess or Go. They can involve sitting around a table, moving pieces on a board, or just sitting around the living room reading questions or challenges to each other.

While it’s not strictly a “no electricity” tip, it’s worth mentioning that with a speakerphone and something like Trivial pursuit, you could even include a kid who’s away at college or a friend across town.

And don’t forget RPGs (role-playing games) like Dungeons & Dragons. Long before “gaming” became a digital phenomenon, it happened on boards with dice and game pieces and brought friends together in the same room.

Card Games

Card games can be tremendous fun, as long as you have the right number of players. Classics like euchre, gin rummy, bridge, and various types of poker are challenging and addictive. Be forewarned: some people take them very seriously. Games like Uno and Phase 10 are part strategy and part luck, so people tend to take them less seriously and just have a good time.

If you’ve got exactly four people who want to play, one of my favorite card games ever is Rook. It’s a little like euchre and a little like bridge. You have teams of two playing across the table, and one suite is chosen each round as “trumps.” The better you are at remembering which cards have been played, the better you’ll do. What’s so fun about it is that everything can be going great for one team and suddenly – BLAM! – massive reversal because of almost any card coming at a particular time. There’s a lot of strategy to it, and definitely a learning curve, but well worth the effort.

There are also solitaire card games to consider. I enjoy playing these on computers, but every once in a while it’s so nice to handle actual cards!

Play Acting

Encourage kids to stage a play. They can write it or improvise it. They can decorate a room as their set. Alternately, a whole household can get together and decide to act out a scripted play just for the heck of it. For some of you, this won’t hold any appeal at all, but for those of you who like to ham it up, it can be a lot of fun. You can design sets, props, and costumes if you really want to get into it.

Ghost (or other) stories

One of the classics for when the electricity goes out is to sit around telling ghost stories. Or any other kind of stories you like. You can even do it “round” style, where one person makes up a chunk, then someone else makes up another, and so on around the room.