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5 Entertainment Items for Tough Times

Once you get the basics of water, food, shelter, and defensive considerations relatively in order, I would encourage you to also spend some time and money preparing to stock entertainment options as well; this is especially true for families with young children but is important for us adults as well. While you might be tempted to think that this area of preparedness isn’t a necessity whatsoever…. I beg to differ. Just think about how much time most of us spend watching television, on the computer, playing games, reading books, and so on… and no imagine it’s all gone… that’s going to result in some serious withdrawal symptoms! ;)

Sure, when it comes down to basic survival, entertainment takes a back seat. And for many sheeple, entertainment may be the last thing on their minds. For us preppers, however, we must recognize that our entertainment is very important as well. After all, it’s what we Americans like to do.

The simple fact is that you’re probably more prepared in this area than you think, you may just need a few additions to bring it all together. Here are my suggestions as to what you can and should consider….

1. Books - Probably the most basic form of entertainment there is (other than a conversation). As you can see, we have plenty of books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, religious texts, and more. Easily hundreds of books to choose from and, to be forthright, these are my mother-in-law’s books but we have plenty of our own. The point here is that reading a book can pass many hours of time and when you have hundreds to choose from you can start over and probably not remember what you read in the first place. :) Books can certainly be found many places dirt cheap and, in fact, are given away in some cases. Keep an eye out for bookstores who are selling books for $1 each and you could easily stock up without even trying. Even ask your friends and family to give you their used books.
2. Board Games – An obvious second choice for entertainment without power. Tried and true for decades, keep the basics around that kids enjoy (and a few for adults) and you’ll be set for many hours of fun time. I would imagine you already have several board games around so just be sure to hang on to them; if not, look for them at garage sales for dirt cheap. If you can’t to reduce space, consider removing the important pieces from the provided box (remember the manual) and store the game pieces in a labeled zip loc bag.  
  3. Toys (for the kids) – You probably already have plenty of toys that your kids don’t play with just sitting around the house or their room, I know we do. From Legos, to army men, various swords and guns, as well as an assortment of other toys, these will definitely find renewed life when there isn’t much else to do. Certainly, they are age-specific and even a bit gender-specific, there’s not reason not to keep them around.
4. DVD Movies – While we have some Blu-Ray discs and even some old VHS tapes (gotta get rid of those) DVD movies can be played in a variety of devices, including a laptop, portable DVD player, and obviously a home DVD player. Unfortunately  you’re probably not going to be able to power the home DVD player. Regardless, if you follow a few suggestions below, you and your family should still be able to occasionally have a movie night. For this reason, buy DVDs when they’re cheap or people are just giving them away (e.g., garage sales, family, friends, etc). Although we don’t watch these movies often, we do keep them around for this very reason.  
  5. iPod/iPhone Games – I’ve mentioned in the past that the Ipod makes for great entertainment, and for good reason… it’s the most efficient, most compact, easiest to charge, and probably least expensive form of electronic entertainment I can think of; of course, an iPhone or iPad would work too. Considering that many games can be had for free (most of them mindless games that my kids would play for hours if I let them) and a basic Ipod Touch can be had for dirt cheap, it just makes sense to have one or two on hand. If you already have an iPhone, however, these games can be installed on that too, so, maybe it would be useful to keep a folder of mindless kids’ games on it. In addition, you can easily store hundreds of music files on these as well, which can be equally–if not more–useful than games.

It goes without saying that the books, board games, and toys don’t require any power to work, but the movies and Ipod do. As such, you’re going to need both something to play them with (the movies) and something to power and/or charge the electronic devices as needed. To play the movies, a laptop would would ok (typical power consumption is 60-90 watts) but so would a portable DVD player–such as this Sony 7″ model–which uses only 6.5 watts of power when using headphones. The best part is that the portable DVD players usually require relatively little power to work.

The Ipod and other small devices can be charged relatively easily using a small solar setup such as this one that I wrote about a while ago. You could do this for less than $200 and maybe even much less if you try. Even if you didn’t have the solar setup you could easily charge such devices using an inverter and your car battery for quite some time (assuming you have gasoline to occasionally recharge the car battery).

So, the question for you is what have you got already? What items should you expand on? Do you need a small solar setup or inverter? Figure it out now so you’re ready to go if/when the need arises.

6 comments to 5 Entertainment Items for Tough Times

  • Sonia

    Other suggestions might include decks of cards, crossword puzzle books (these could be reused if you paperclip a piece of tissue paper(used in gift-wrapping)over the puzzle), dice (for yahtzee), sewing/needlework/crafting supplies (entertainment and producing useful items).

  • Joyce L.

    I’d want to add outdoor games also. My brothers and I wore out a croquet set and a badminton set when we were kids. Plus, saucer sleds when winter really set in.

  • Lynne Cook

    Don’t forget puzzles for young and old, coloring books and crayons, grown ups like to color too! Have to entertain even the little ones!

  • Martin

    Yes, I agree that we’re very used to being entertained as Americans. It will be a hard habit to give up and should be something we prepare ourselves for just like any other area.