Your pantry is stocked with food and water, as well as seeds for a garden. You’ve got your bug-out bags packed and ready. You have your protection taken care of. You’ve got a way to keep warm or cool. You have ample first aid supplies and personal care products. What more could you need if a situation arose that forced you to use all of your preps?
Think about it. Whatever the situation, whether you are in your home with no power, on the road with streamlined preps, or out in nature braving the elements, you will want something to entertain yourself other than eating all of your food, shooting up all your ammo, and working in your garden. While all of these things are enjoyable, you will also want some entertainment.
Entertainment does not have to be something that is pointless and a waste of time. It can still be educational (although it doesn’t have to be). What it does need to do is to help alleviate stress and boredom, both of which can and will be high in situations leading to use of your preps. While not mandatory for your survival, adding a few things to your preps beyond those things necessary can make the situation become a bit more bearable, and you might even enjoy life a bit more. Besides, if you don’t actually find a use for your additional preps, you can always barter them to someone else and perhaps gain something else you hadn’t thought of that you can use—you never know.
What sorts of things would fall into the category of prepping beyond the basics? Consider the ages of the people you will likely be around and prep for them, then add more options for other ages if you have the room and the opportunity.
A book is a very basic thing that you can toss into a bug-out bag or think about as you build your home library. It can contain knowledge to help you in your situation, or it can contain a story to help you get your mind off of your situation. It can even be blank and give you a place to record your thoughts or things you need to remember or just a place for you to sketch ideas.
A child might like a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils. (So might an adult.) Children’s books may come in handy for long hours without a magic screen to entertain them. These can be traded with other people so the stories don’t get too old and others can benefit from them.
Don’t pass up the various types of puzzle books available for all ages. Word finds, crosswords, Sudoku, and the like can engage your brain and get your mind off of a stressful situation and give you a sense of accomplishment once you have finished a puzzle. It can also help keep your thinking skills fine-tuned.
Table games are a fun way to help bide the time in a situation where there is not a lot to do other than wait. Card games will easily fit into a bug-out bag. Board games are also a good option, especially if space is not a problem. They are usually fairly lightweight, though somewhat bulky. Consider travel versions of board games if bulk is a concern.
Some examples of games for children are Candy Land, Connect 4, dominos, jacks, Chinese checkers, regular checkers, Clue Jr., Monopoly Jr., Battleship, and many more. Peruse your local store to find some games that you think your kids or grandkids would like.
For adults, the children’s games will likely take some of your time as you play the games with the kids. If you would like to get some games just for adults, consider a mind-challenging game such as Mind Trap, Boggle, Pictionary, Scrabble, or any of a whole host of other games that are out on the market. Depending on the personality of your group of people and your situation, RISK may or may not be a good fit. The same goes for Settlers of Catan. For a good laugh, check out Pass the Pigs, a game that will easily fit in a bug-out bag and will undoubtedly be entertaining for all ages.
And don’t forget puzzles! These can give hours of enjoyment.
There are plenty of games that don’t require a purchase or a lot of space in your bug-out bag or prepping space. Make a list of games, find a book of games, or find a website of games such as GamesKidsPlay.net and print them out to put in your bug-out bag to give you ideas of games to play that don’t require a special board and playing pieces to play. Examples of such games include 20 Questions, I’m Going Camping and I’m Bringing, Cat and Mouse, Capture the Flag, etc.
This brings me to outdoor games. Prepping for this can be as easy as keeping backyard games accessible and at the forefront of our minds during tough times. Don’t let the seriousness of your situation get you down so much that you forget to take a little time out to relax a bit. Drag out the old croquet set, dust off the horseshoes, or set up the corn hole and get some friendly competition going and work on your aiming and throwing skills at the same time. Chances are, once you are finished, you will have a little bit different perspective on your situation and can go back into it with a fresh mind.
Outdoor play doesn’t have to only include yard games. It can also include sports such as football, basketball, baseball, etc. and give you more exercise than tossing a beanbag at a hole. Exercise your muscles, work up a sweat, and get some built-up aggression out in a safe manner. It will be good for your blood pressure and stress levels and those around you.
Simple, old-fashioned toys can do the trick for entertaining and comforting children. A doll, a ball and a stick, and some blocks of some kind are some examples. They don’t have to be fancy, and they can be made from found items if you have the time.
In the past, music was a great way to pass the time and find enjoyment in life. Why not incorporate it into your prepping? Do you or anyone you know play an instrument? Is there one you have always wanted to learn how to play? See what you can do with your prepping to help this happen. Who knows, you may have enough time on your hands to finally learn to play that guitar! Invest in a basic instructional book and get started!
If you or your family can read music, you may want to include a hymnbook or other written music to sing together. Even having just the words can be helpful so everyone can follow along and sing a capella if no one plays an instrument.
Depending on your situation, you may want to add a few items to help you in case you cannot be with other believers to worship or study. If you haven’t already done so, invest in a good study Bible and perhaps some devotional books to help you and your loved ones to stay in the Word during times of crisis. You may want to consider adding some other religious items if they will be of help to you and your loved ones during a difficult time.
Craft instructions, books, and/or supplies can come in handy to help fend off boredom and make the time go faster. Regardless of your situation, there is almost always a way to make something out of nothing. Sometimes it takes just a little creativity, but if you have the right tools for the job, you can find enjoyment in making things. You can use what you make to show your love for someone else (think “gifts”). You might even be able to make something worth bartering to someone else. Think about the interests and abilities of your loved ones and plan accordingly.
Some ideas for crafts and supplies include: a whittling knife, instructions on how to make string from natural fibers, knitting or crocheting supplies, embroidery, quilting, basketry, simple paper and glue, pencils and a sketch pad, beading supplies, ideas and instructions for corn cob dolls and other toys, and more. Use your imagination! Prep with what you can think of now, but don’t limit yourself to your preps when the time comes.
What do you have in your current preps to help while the time away? What do you have for entertainment and relieving the stress that will inevitably come with a survival scenario? Are you prepared to be in close proximity with a group of people for an extended amount of time with no electronic source of entertainment? What do you think you might do with your time in a situation such as this? Throw a few of these ideas into your prepping plan, and you will be on your way to being even more prepared.