Fun Friday: Blackout Games and Activities

Third Friday of the month:  Recreation

Typhoon Basyang hit the Philippine shores last Tuesday, affecting most of Luzon. Classes were abruptly suspended by noon. And with heavy rains and howling winds blowing across the region, a power outage surprised the populace minutes past midnight.

While power was restored in some areas after lunch, our part of the city was not as lucky. Our whole Wednesday was spent at home sans electricity -- finally getting power back at exactly 12 midnight as we fanned ourselves to sleep. And for the record, this was not the longest we went without electricity caused by a typhoon.

If there was one good thing that came out of this 24-hour disconnection from the outside world, it was the back-to-basics "organic" activities that we have engaged in with the youngsters.  Honestly, it was a fun and refreshing change away from the internet, playing with electronic gadgets, AND being glued to the television. And just in case you find yourselves in a similar situation, I thought I'd share with you how we got through this recent blackout with these fun games and family bonding activities in the confines of our home.

1. Card & Board Games
Out from under the drawers, the old reliable playing cards found their way back on the table again. You would not even notice the time after several rounds of playing your favorite card games. J and I tried to beat each other at Pusoy Dos (a variation of Poker Big 2).

I would have wanted to play Scrabble though. It was a good time to resurrect classic board games like Monopoly and Scrabble which the whole family could enjoy.

2. Arts & Crafts
Whether with crayons, watercolors or clay, kids always enjoy some creative play. Bring out the artists in them with whatever materials you have at hand.  We took out our stash of clay that afternoon and just allowed the boy and the girl to get their hands (dirty) working as we helped them knead and mold.

My boy loves to draw and always seems to find time to do so everyday. Another "masterpiece" was taped on the wall that afternoon. Most young children enjoy drawing and doodling and parents can join them for some quiet time together. Or leave them alone while you take a break ;)

3. Balls and Trampoline
Does it get any more basic than playing with a rubber ball?  Kick, throw, shoot, dodge. The ball delivers some major fun points. We have a basket full of assorted balls, and with nothing else to do that Wednesday morning, my girl just dug for a ball and started playing her version of soccer with big brother. We just let them do their thing 'til they got tired of it. You will be amazed at what the kids can do with a simple bouncing ball!

And they also took turns jumping on and off the trampoline while thinking of better things to do.

4. Pet Play
We have a bunny. A lone, white bunny that eats (and poops) a lot! We gave Skyler (that's the name of our female bunny) it's much needed exercise and playtime. If you live with pets, then by all means play with them.  Feed them, take them for a walk, teach new tricks, whatever you can do with these adorables. They need some bonding time with you too you know.

5. Gardening
It took a power outage for us to finally pull ourselves together to trim and prune overhanging branches and leaves from our bamboo trees and plants. Very satisfying. Unfortunately for my hubby, he suffered a deep cut on a finger in the process. Ouch!

6. Dolls
Lying around on their beds, these stuffed animals proved to be great company for the tykes. It worked up their vivid imagination as they made up fantasy stories with role playing and had endless conversations between them and their "playmates"...
...until they dropped everything and moved on to playing video games!

7. Handheld Video Games
I know, this is not considered "organic".  As much as I wanted to pull them away from video games, I cannot deny the fact that this is one bonding "recreation" for the papa bear and his cubs. And I hate to admit, but those games they play do provide some creative form of brain exercise. Fun and educational, the Nintendo DSi and iPod Touch have kept them company when it was too dark to play anything. Good thing the gadgets were fully charged before the power outage.

8. Read
You might think it's not a good idea to read amidst a blackout, but while there's still some good amount of light, sit by a window and grab a book, newspaper or magazine.  It was clay for the kids and the morning paper for me. I was able to catch up on current events lionizing the newspaper and even browsed through some back issues that breezy day.

Just being together, even while doing your own thing, is a fool-proof way to relax as a family, blackout notwithstanding.

What would you do in a similar scenario?

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