Hurricane season is churning all over the warm waters of the Pacific, the Gulf, and the Atlantic this year. These last weeks have proven no less than tragic, and the future outlook makes my stomach churn. We’ve got a long few weeks ahead of us, and evacuations are not out of the question. Should you have to leave home quickly, what can you take to amuse your kids while you try to figure out the next steps? Here are a few Dollar Store items to pack in your kids’ evacuation bags to help maintain everyone’s sanity and fight boredom without breaking the bank.
Dollar stores are full of them, and they come in a variety of levels. Just take them out of the boxes, put the pieces in a zip-top bag. If time permits, you could cut the picture off the box before you throw it out. These puzzles fit pretty much anywhere, they don’t take up a lot of space when you try to put them together, and they keep kids’ brains thinking logically. Completing a puzzle is always a happy accomplishment, too, even in a nerve-wracking circumstance. No, puzzles aren’t as exciting as electronic devices, but they don’t have to be charged when the power is out.
Spiral art, sticker kits, string art, or mosaic kits will keep your little creative calm when the wind howls. These sets fit easily in a backpack, and they don’t generate lots of trash. Kids can easily complete one of these kits, giving them a feeling of accomplishment and control in a tough situation. These little goodies are a must for your kids’ evacuation bags.
Educational Games and Books
When an evacuation situation presents itself, you can count school out of the picture for days or possibly weeks. Books are heavy, but your kids’ teachers will thank you for putting a couple in the backpack. Educational games on electronic devices help, too, even though charging and batteries might be a problem.
Dollar Store to the rescue, though! Flash cards, number and letter games, and even STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) books line the shelves in the “teacher section.” These items fit easily in a backpack, don’t weigh much, and will keep little brains engaged.
Miniature Play Sets
Enter army men and small building sets to fill the backpack pockets! What little kid doesn’t enjoy toting around little cars or small dolls? Tiny items fight boredom, raise morale, and keep children occupied so parents can plan the next steps. They also leave room for other important items in your kids’ evacuation bags.
Old Fashioned Games
There doesn’t seem to be a place for Old Maid or Go Fish in a high tech world. Since we may be pretty far removed from our devices in an evacuation situation, Crazy Eights could be the perfect solution. Dollar Stores are full of little activities that kids can play together or alone. Tiny card games fit into backpacks and give families an opportunity to bond while waiting out the storm.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you as you run around doing your preps for whatever the ocean throws at us this fall. One or two of these items might help you keep everyone happier in tough times. Please share your ideas for items to pack for kids in stormy situations in the comments below.