Kid’s Emergency Bag of Tricks

Included in this article

  • No Power Hour
  • Shopping Lists, include the kids.
  • Now for the real trick.

These days it doesn’t seem to matter where you live, at some point a dance with Mother Nature is probably in your future. She can be tough to tango with! Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, everyone stands to get a piece. Going through a natural disaster can be a challenge… going through one with kids is the definition of stressful.

Regardless of whether you’re evacuating or hunkering down in a basement, the best approach to a stressful situation with children is to take their mind off of the situation. Unfortunately, our world is reliant on electricity: cable television, cell phones, computers, video games and the Internet. As a parent, I do everything I can to keep my children active with plenty of outdoor activities and exercise. But when bad weather hits it can not only keep you indoors it can also knock out the electricity. These outages will be especially upsetting to small children who may not comprehend the concept of electricity and how many items require it. It’s a good idea to prepare them for what to expect and have something entertaining on hand to get them through, here’s how.

No Power Hour

Before it happens (if it hasn’t already), pick a day and time when everyone will be home and stage a “No Power Hour”. Just like you practice other emergencies, you should practice living without electricity. Use this hour to talk with your kids about all the things we take for granted that run on electricity. For instance, they may think it is okay to play a game on your cell phone. But, you can explain that during an actual emergency, cell phones can’t be recharged and therefore can only be used for emergency phone calls and not for games and entertainment.

Talk about the various activities that don’t require power. Maybe you enjoy reading, knitting, or, if you’re like me, you enjoy writing silly songs while strumming your guitar. Encourage the kids to suggest some activities, too.

Creative Shopping

Now that your kids have an understanding of what they can do without electricity, it’s time to make a shopping list for their kid-specific emergency kits. Guide them, but let them get creative at the same time. A closed-up, stuffy space probably isn’t the appropriate arena for dueling water cannons or mini-drum sets.

Provide a small flashlight for each child’s bag. This will help them feel safe if the power goes out at night. Each emergency bag should have several different items in order to keep a child busy for many hours. Puzzles, games, books and basic drawing/craft supplies all work. I am also a huge fan of the “I Spy” books from Scholastic.

Other items you may want to consider for the kits:

  • crayons
  • color books
  • dress-up items
  • a stuffed animal
  • pens/pencils
  • paper
  • hot wheels

By including the kids in making the lists you give them a sense of ownership and pride.

Stash each child’s kit in a bag of their choosing. Girls might want a big purse. A boy might like a backpack or to decorate an old briefcase. Have fun. You do not need to spend a lot of money. I am fully committed to finding cool vintage bags, and even games and puzzles at your local Goodwill or Dollar Store.

Now for the real trick.

The real trick… and the hardest part of this suggestion is when you’re done filling the bags put them away. Do not let the kids play with them. Store with your other disaster supplies so you can find them if you need them. But inform the kids these bags are for emergencies only. This will insure that all the stuff will still be there and they will be extra excited when the time comes and they finally get to play with the things in their bag.

Just like you check the batteries in your smoke alarm annually, you should check and be sure these bags are up-dated annually. As your children grow, their interests will change and you may need to replace items in the bags with thing that are more age-appropriate.

Links to other helpful items.

Coleman Quad LED http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/detail.asp?CategoryID=24012&product_id=2000001150  This Coleman Quad LED lantern has four separate light parts which you can remove and give one light to each person.

Goodwill Industries http://www.goodwill.org/

I Spy Books by Scholastic http://www.scholastic.com/ispy/books/

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