Now before anyone gets excited or agitated, this post is not about killing, it is about “killing time.” One thing that many people do not prepare for is the vast amounts of time you need to fill if you are displaced due to a disaster. Now I am not referring to worst case scenarios, but a mid-level disaster. This would be one that causes you to have to leave your home to shelter somewhere. In this instance you may very well have no electricity, cell service, and only the supplies you brought. You are not having to fend off violence, forage for food, or procure firewood. It is expected to be short enough that you can wait it out and return home though.
The true issue is the waiting. The hours we would normally devote to laundry, dishes, television, mobile devices, and the ‘normal’ day are now an empty void. This can lead to frustration, depression, and “cabin fever” in children and adults alike. This might be amplified by lack of sleep and cramped conditions. Thankfully with some forethought you can take simple and cheap steps to deal with this.
One great option is a few decks of cards. Whether it be Go Fish with your 6 year old, Solitare by yourself, or Poker with the entire family, it only take a few decks of cards. These are cheap and can be stashed in the car, emergency bag, or purse. A simple zipper lock sandwich bag will protect them if you end up getting wet. If you are not familiar with many card games, now is the time to learn, but you can also stick a sheet in with the cards that have rules for multiple games on it. Nothing difficult is required, just some so that playing GO Fish is not your only option.
While they can be bulkier, board games come in all age ranges and variety. Checkers, chess, Connect4, Backgammon, and Yahtzee are just a few. The smaller travel sized version do not take up a lot of room. In some cases, you could ditch the packaging and pack several into smaller containers. These would allow pair or group play and a rotation of games to avoid “burn out.’
The list of options is only limited by your imagination and storage space. Take a look at who you will be with, where you think you may be sheltering, and how long you might be gone. Having a few of these items with you may help everyone weather to disaster with a more positive attitude. That will be a benefit during and in the years after.
Some examples of games that might be useful: