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Fun Family Games to Play in Low Light, Like During a Power Outage

Updated on July 28, 2017
CherylsArt profile image

Cheryl likes games, especially ones where it doesn't matter if there is a winner or not.

Image credit for the power outage design is to Cheryl Paton, the author of this page. It is a photo of a painting I did with text added.
Image credit for the power outage design is to Cheryl Paton, the author of this page. It is a photo of a painting I did with text added. | Source

Welcome to Power Outage Activities, Or Games Families Can Play in Low Light

What do you do when the power goes out? No TV, no computer, no lights, and it's dark out. Once you've determined that everything is safe, then it's time to play some family-friendly games in the dark.

Get out some fun flashlights, and use your imagination; here are some fun things to do while waiting for the lights to come back on.

Games You Can Play in the Dark or During a Power Outage

  • 20 Questions
  • The Song Game
  • Charades
  • Hand Shadows
  • Hangman
  • Hum a Tune
  • Another Thinking Game

The Games

20 Questions

Participants take turns thinking of something, usually an object. The others get to ask questions to help them figure out what thing the thinker is thinking about. After twenty questions are asked, participants get to guess what the thing is.

The questions are phrased to indicate the clue that the questioner is trying to figure out. So, is the thing bigger than a house is appropriate, but asking how big is it, is not.

Sample questions are:

  • Is it small?
  • Do we have one?
  • Is there one in our house?
  • Is it living?
  • Is it smaller than a ruler?
  • Is it larger than a house?
  • Is it blue?

The Song Game

No lights required. Just the willingness to sing out loud.

This cool idea is from a friend called Kab: "During power outages, and sometimes in the car, we like to play Encore. Basically there are two teams, and given a word, the teams have to go back and forth trying to think of songs with that word in it and sing at least 8 words of the song. When one team can't think of one in the time allotted, the other team gets the point."

Thank you kab for sharing this idea. Me and my family love singing, so this one sounds like a keeper. : )

Charades

Players can think of tv shows, movies, book titles, etc. Then they act it out for the other participants to guess the title, name, etc.

The actors can use gestures to signify whether the word or words is a book title, movie, big or small, how many syllables, etc.

You may have to try some different locations of the lights or flashlights to see the outlines and shadows of the players. But it's still fun to play with little light.

Do you know how to play charades? You think of a title of a book, movie, or TV show. Without talking, you act out and use motions to describe the words in your title. Some people use timers, and others just play until someone guesses.

In Reverse Charades, more people get to act out.

Teams do the acting while one person guesses as many words as they can in 60 seconds.

A lot of older people seemed to really enjoy this version. Some even video taped the group playing it, to have more laughs after the game was played.

Of course, you'll have to wait for the power to come back on to do any video taping.

Hand Shadows

With some flashlights sitting about, use your hands to make various shadows on the wall. Can you make a recognizable animal? Can you then make it do something like hop or jump, fly, etc.?

Then have your audience guess what it is; then have fun taking turns making your images using your hands.

What kinds of hand shadows can you make?

Hangman

Hangman is a simple and yet challenging game. Essentially, you think of a word or words, and then the person you're playing with has a certain number of guesses. You keep track of their guesses by crossing off the letters of the alphabet that they've used and by adding a body part to the hangman. If his body is completed without the word being guessed, the word-writer wins. If the guesser can complete the word before the body is completed, the guesser wins!

My daughter and I had played hangman when the power was out. After we'd played a few rounds, we realized that having to search for more paper and find a hard surface to write on, wasn't very convenient, especially when the power was out. We wanted to play more and search less.

So I decided to create my own. I came up with the idea of designing a dry-erase board designed specifically for hangman where the letters and gallows couldn't be erased. This made it more fun and gave us more time to play.

My daughter and I both like the convenience of wiping off the hangman board; we don't have to go searching for more paper anymore! And we already have a sturdy surface to write on. We don't have to find a book or other hard surface.

With the alphabet already written on the board, it lets us know which letters haven't been called yet. My daughter and I both really like seeing which letters are left to be called.

There are three pre-drawn hangers and three sets of alphabets printed on these boards. Just draw a line through the letters as they are called out, and play as normal. Players can see the remaining letters left to be called.

Add a part of the body, starting with the head for each incorrect letter called, and write any correct letter on the board where it belongs in the word(s) that you have come up with. Draw a line through each letter called whether it is correct or incorrect, to show the remaining uncalled letters.

My daughter and I have found that having the remaining uncalled alphabet letters showing makes playing the hangman game easier and quicker.

Hangman on a dry erase board.

The hard surface makes it easy to write on. The played game is easy to wipe off with a paper towel and begin again.
The hard surface makes it easy to write on. The played game is easy to wipe off with a paper towel and begin again. | Source

Hum a tune.

Not everyone knows the words to songs, but more people do know the tunes. Players can either hum the tune of sing, do do do, or dee dee dee, or whatever short syllable that you would like to use.

The guessers guess the name of the song that is being hummed, etc.

Another thinking game

Does anyone need spelling or math practice? Without going overboard, this can be made into a fun time of giving the participants another thinking activity.

For instance, the leader can say, Can you spell the word - then say the word you would like them to spell. If they get the word correct, then they can ask someone else the same question, making sure everyone gets included in spelling and being the leader.

This same idea can be used with math equations. Depending on the age, and the knowledge level, the questions should be adjusted to also make it a fun activity. The main idea here is to maybe have some review, but also to have success and fun.

Ways to Plan Ahead for Entertaining Children During a Power Outage

A few helpful items on hand can help with the entertainment factor during a power outage.

  • Flashlights help with playing Hand Shadows, seeing the actors acting out Charades, as well as for giving some light for walking down the hall to the bathroom.
  • Have a game or two on hand, like Hangman on a hard surface, that can be played with only a little light.
  • Have some snacks and beverages on hand that do not require any refrigeration. Also, avoid opening the refrigerator during the outage.
  • Enjoy your family fun time.

Did you find a new game to play for when the power goes out? - Do you have a game idea to share?

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    • CherylsArt profile image
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      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      @AcornOakForest: That sounds like a fun plan. : )

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 3 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      I love 20 questions, and I think playing it in the dark would be even more fun. I wonder if my husband will play with me next time the lights go out.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      @TreasuresBrenda: Haha, yes, that is a good idea. : )

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      Great games. Hopefully, people will have checked out your page before the lights go out!

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      @Stephanie36: Playing these games for Earth Hour is a great idea! They would also be fun a glow stick party.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 3 years ago from Canada

      There's some great ideas here! These are great for Earth Hour in March.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      These are some good ideas and even if they don't end up getting used they'll at least get people talking.

    • eLightSpot LM profile image

      eLightSpot LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for these games, we'll be sure to write them down for the next time the power goes out. Oddly enough, we just wrote a lense on what to do if the power goes out as well. We hope you'll check it out and leave us some feedback.

    • profile image

      Danlier 6 years ago

      I am deeply grateful that you have provided useful information to me, and I also welcome you to my website brightest flashlight.

    • CherylsArt profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      @kerbev: That sounds like a fun idea KAB; thanks for sharing.

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 6 years ago from Upstate, NY

      During power outages, and sometimes in the car, we like to play Encore. Basically there are two teams, and given a word, the teams have to go back and forth trying to think of songs with that word in it and sing at least 8 words of the song. When one team can't think of one in the time allotted, the other team gets the point.