Creaky floorboards and eerie shadows make the dark unbearable for some younger kids (and even some adults — EEP! What was that!?). Storms or even little mishaps like a blown fuse from the toaster oven can leave families in the dark with few ways to calm or entertain the little ones.
Instead of playing card games by candlelight or trying to ignore the power problems, use the dark as a backdrop for family fun! Try a few of these group games during the next power outage, inspired by eHow.
Museum After Dark
Start out with an adult as the “museum guide” to get the little ones into the idea of how to play the game. Have everyone else strike a pose as a piece of art when the guide comes around with the light. As each “art piece” gets lit up, the guide describes it in funny ways without touching it. If the “art” laughs or moves, that person becomes the new guide. Play can go on as long as the lights are out, or the person who lasts the longest as a piece of art wins!
Fun With Food
Snack time with the lights out can be totally fun if your little ones have a big imagination — grapes are eyeballs, tortillas are skin, and carrot sticks are fingernails. Gather some supplies from the kitchen and have fun with your kids making up body part substitutions for everything, and take turns daring each other to eat fingernails (almonds) or drink blood (water with red food coloring).
This is just like the popular party game, but with a beam of light instead of a hovering pole. Have one person hold the flashlight steady while the others limbo under, careful not to touch the light beam. Play some music for even more fun!
Lights Out Hide and Seek
There are a couple different versions of this game, the first being the lights-off spin on the classic Hide and Seek where one person is “It” and must search the house to find the other players in their hiding spots. Also try the game in reverse, where several players seek the person who is “It” and joins them in their hiding place until only one person is left, then that player becomes “It” for the next round. If it’s just you and your little one, you can also try playing Marco Polo, in which Polo is free to move stealthily about the house as Marco attempts to catch them using only the traditional game’s calling cues.
If all else fails, make a fort out of couch cushions and helmets out of tin foil. Tell some ghost stories (as spooky or tame as you like), pull out the board games, or read some of their favorite storybooks by the light of flashlights. As kids know, everything’s more fun when you’re inside a fort you’ve built yourself!