Entertaining the kids

Coming off the Christmas holidays, my older daughter’s school has a few random days off in January. My younger daughter gets to stay home those days, and I unfortunately get no work done. (Unless I want to work at midnight, which I usually have to do in order to meet my deadlines. Yay.)
Those are also the days when I have to come up with new and creative ways to entertain my daughters. Since Christmas wasn’t that long ago, I can’t just plunk them down in front of the craft box, because they’d just spent two weeks digging around in there to find random things with which to decorate the walls.
At some point during the day, I run out of things to do, they get bored with their toys, and everybody ends up watching “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
This, of course, leads me to wonder how the hell we’ll entertain the kidlets come the post apocalypse. I’m sure that in the immediate aftermath of the end of the world, nobody’s going to care that there are a bunch of kids running around whining about being bored, because there probably won’t be any kids running around whining about being bored.
And if there are, I’m sure you could just point them in the direction of a collapsing building and tell them to find things for you. If you present it like a game, it will be fun and exciting. And dangerous, which will make it even more fun and exciting.

But how else can you entertain the kids? I’m thinking younger kids here, the ones who can’t always be told to go scavenge for food or patrol the perimeter, because they’re too young to do so.
While trying to come up with random things for my kids to do, I also tried to come up with random things my kids could do if we were living after the end of the world. Here’s what I came up with:
Playing hide-and-seek
Always fun, and it has the added bonus of being educational. It promotes counting, as well as how to hide and how to find people. Those may not seem important now (well, except for the counting), but the hiding and seeking will be extra important in the post apocalypse. Think about it this way: while your kids are playing a game, they’re also learning how to hide from bad guys without giving themselves away (though you’ll have to make “hiding quietly” a condition of the game), They’ll also be learning how to find people–potentially bad guys out in the “real world”–also without giving themselves away (“finding quietly” should also be a condition of the game). And the counting? Well, they’ll be able to count how many bad guys they’ve found.
Singing nursery rhymes
Every toddler and preschooler sings nursery rhymes at some point in time. And many of these rhymes talk about an actual historical event. They weren’t just crazy sounding poems. Well, okay, they were, but they also had a message. So couldn’t post-apocalyptic nursery rhymes be about the apocalypse? Of course, you’d have to write the rhyme yourself, but hey, it’s a history lesson in a poem.
And if you’re feeling especially creative, you could also write a nursery rhyme that includes survival instructions. But remember to make your rhymes child-friendly!
Arts and Crafts
I don’t know about your kids, but mine love doing crafts. Then again, they also like drawing on the walls and hiding in cabinets, so maybe they’re not the best indication of the general population.
Anyway. What useful things can kids make with their crafts? With toddler crafts, I have no idea (I have yet to decipher the things my two-year-old creates), but you could assign specific “crafts” to older kids. For example, they can make signs for your survival camp. They can also make decoys, like scarecrows in farmers’ fields (only it wouldn’t be a scarecrow, and it certainly wouldn’t be a farmers’ field).
My kids also love to dance (they don’t even need music). On the surface, dancing wouldn’t have any useful application in a post-apocalyptic world. But under the surface (so to speak), it would keep the children physically active, and therefore physically fit. This is important in a world where you might have to drop everything and run. After all, you’re not going to be able to carry your kids forever, and you might not have time to grab your stroller of death. Which would be truly unfortunate, but always a possibility.
That’s what I’ve come up with so far. What are your ideas?

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