When it comes to emergency or disaster situations, once we know our families and pets are safe we are left to think about what we need to bring with us to either a friend’s home, shelter or hotel. We know the essentials but what about our little ones?
The first thing I thought of was bringing the obvious – my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket, and favorite book. But wading through an evacuation or storm may take longer than expected. So here are some of the things I pack in a little carrying case which I leave in the car or in what I like to call my “Emergency space” – a place where everything is together and I can just grab it and go.
If you are a parent/grandparent or caregiver you know this all too well - children get bored. If you’ve ever taken a long car ride with a child under 8 years old, you know the drill. Within the hour they are done playing with their favorite toys and games – they’re done watching their favorite shows on your cell phone… So the first thing I packed is a new card game that she’s never played – anything from “Go fish” to “Monopoly the card game.” When it’s new, it’s exciting to learn and play, and anything that involves 2 or more players leads to making new friends on the journey.
Next I packed the “Back in the day” game. Pick up sticks, cats in the cradle string where I printed out the directions online, and a Yahtzee dice game in a baggie with printed directions. Anything small and compact-yet new once again. This game was geared toward older friends and family. Chose a game that everyone remembers and yet a new generation hasn’t seen.
Finally I focused on a small felt board book with horses and animals that could be taken on or off the book. It provided hours of playtime, it was easy to transport and was great for the imagination.
And last but not least- a yo-yo… because who doesn’t love a good yo-yo? Once again I printed out tricks to you do, and it fit nicely in my little disaster box to go.
The theme of your box should be “Oh, I’ve never seen this before!” That way your child has new items to play with and share, and something to keep them busy in a time that is stressful for us all. Just knowing that box was ready to go has brought me a sense of peace and I’m still working on my yo-yo skills to this day!
My dear friends – you are amazing parent(s) and caregivers. Know that no matter what may come our way, we are held in the palm of the hand of the Creator who loves us more that we could ever know. Have questions or don’t know where to start on disaster/emergency preparedness? Reach out to a member of the UCC Disaster Resource and Response Team or go online to https://www.macucc.org/DisasterResource to find a variety of resources for before, during, and after disasters. May God continue to bless you all in God’s promises and light…
About the author: Reverend Mrs. Rachel L.V. Bickford is the Senior Minister of Union Congregational Church, Braintree MA and a member of the MA Conference Disaster Resource and Response Team.
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