Keeping Your Sanity

Depending upon the nature of the disaster, you may end up with long stretches of down time on your hands. For example, if you have quarantined your family during a pandemic crisis, you and your family will quickly be going stir crazy. It is a good idea to plan ahead for this potential scenario.

While most families probably have a handful of board games and such, odds are you’ve played them hundreds of times already. Further, if you have kids, there is a good chance they’ll have outgrown those games by the time they are truly needed. While you might get away with a round of Chutes and Ladders with your teenager, just for nostalgia, that would be truly an ideal situation. More likely, you’ll be subjected to assault by eye-rolling at the mere suggestion of it.

Here are a few suggestions of things to stock up on for family entertainment.

Books: Personally, our family has enough books on hand right now to last us probably at least a few years of steady reading. But, that’s because I’m a rabid bibliophile who has never met a used bookstore he didn’t like. One great place to find books very cheap is thrift stores. Even better prices are usually found at rummage sales.

Games: Used board games can be found very cheap but you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary pieces. In fact, I’d bet if you posted to your local Freecycle group that you’re looking for old board games, you’ll end up with more than you need. Don’t forget things like decks of cards too.

Craft supplies: Kids generally love crafts. Colored pencils, crayons, blank paper, and glue will all go far. In fact, toss a pair of dice in the mix and let them create their own board games!

Music: While you may not have access to electricity and thus cd and mp3 players might not be working, your family could work on making their own music. Pick up some instruments at rummage sales and set them aside for later. Consider adding some instruction books as well as sheet music.

Movies: If electricity is still working, you could set up movie marathons to pass the time. While new releases are still sort of pricey, you can find older stuff on DVD for under $5 each if you shop around. Pick up a couple here and there and you’ll be all set for later.

Remember, in a long term power outage in the dead of winter, you’ll be warmer if everyone stays in the same room. Close off doors to help keep body heat from drifting away. It will be easier to keep everyone together if there are things you are doing as a family.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “Keeping Your Sanity”

  1. Small electronics like an iPod touch would be useful to keep around. You can find countless free games and they can be charged fairly easily via a car charger.

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