Bears wander into their caves and hibernate through the winter. That's what they're designed to do: chow down, zone out and take a long winter's nap. They don't rely on cable television, radio, friday night dates, Broadway shows, public libraries, gyms, shopping, or season tickets to keep their minds occupied while they're down for the count. Maybe that's why they have a reputation for waking up so grouchy in the springtime. Who can blame them?
But we're not bears. If we go into some kind of lock-down situation with family members in close quarters for an extended period of time, normal people are not going to cope by sleeping until it all gets better. Robert Frost's Mending Wall talks about "good fences making good neighbors" but when it comes to being walled in with relatives, facing a simple nuclear disaster might seem like a safer choice than being fenced in an emergency shelter with our nearest and dearest.
So this is part of the emergency we should certainly plan for. The question to ask yourself is how would you like to spend your free time if you had to spend it without electricity? Now, if you have a generator and an unlimited supply of fuel, you can pack away your game system for when you get bored to tears; you can pack a couple of radios--not just for news, but also music. Pack some headsets too, because everyone doesn't love the same music. But it is better to quickly exhaust the electronic entertainment options, because it is fuel foolish to waste valuable fuel to divert ourselves when there are so many other possibilities.
One option is an acoustic musical instrument. Don't play one? Why not add learning how to your disaster emergency list?
There are a lot of ways to pass the time. Books are a good choice. Not just favorite genre novels, but interpersonal development books (since you're all going to be there anyway). Check out your favorite bookseller for books like the Oxford Guide to Word Games. Or stash away Travel Games for Grown-Ups by Jeff Wuorio. Save a couple good reference books--like a dictionary--for those inevitable spelling arguments; and get a good crossword dictionary.
Games (portable travel games are good).
Board games (chess/checkers/backgammon/cribbage).
Arts and craft supplies.
Playing a musical instrument.
Make Up Your Own Games--
Storyteller--Make up stories from books or movies (for example-a Charlie Chan Mystery) Devise your own rules. (Make it round-robin--taking turns telling portions of the story) or one person tells a whole story, then the next person tells another story.)
I see something you don't see--One person says "I see something you don't see, and it's orange and round." Then everyone tries to guess what it is. After a set amount of time, the speaker adds another hint, and eventually someone guesses what it is. Then it is their turn.
Ghost--this involves spelling. Each player in turn adds a letter to a growing word. The object is to avoid being the player who says the last letter of the word. Player One says a letter. Player Two then thinks of (but doesn't reveal) a word which starts with the given letter, and says the first two letters of that word. Player three thinks of a word which starts with those two letters, and says the first three letters of that word. Play continues in this fashion (cycling in the same order) until someone spells an entire word more than three letters long; the player who completes a word loses the round. If on your turn you don't believe the previous player was thinking of a real word, you can challenge that player; the loser of a challenge loses the round. You lose 5 times and lose the game. The first loss is G, the second is H, the third is O, and so on until the whole word Ghost has been spelled. The last one who hasn't lost 5 rounds wins. (Proper nouns are not allowed.)