Entertainment after SHTF

How have you planned for entertainment after the SHTF? It stands to reason that survivors will spend most of the day working to ensure they can survive, but what we do afterward is just as important. Most normal people need something fun or distracting to take their minds off work and the situation they’re in. Without entertainment, morale will drop and you could lose hope, or possibly the will to live.

A major hurricane can easily deprive an entire region or state of internet, cable, and electricity. If civilization collapses and we permanently lose our modern luxuries, families will have to go low-tech to have fun.


Music can lift your spirits in any situation, and listening to it can be as easy as turning on a battery-operated or crank radio. But what if there aren’t any active broadcasts within range? If a civilization-ending disaster were to occur, it may very well be “The Day the Music Died” on the airwaves[1].

Don’t despair, you can still make your own music.

It doesn’t take much skill to strum the strings of a guitar or blow into a harmonica. However, sheet music may be necessary if you’re stuck with a more complicated instrument or want to play specific songs. If you don’t have sheet music, you’ll have to rely on your memory or make it up as you go.

What if you don’t have musical instruments?

You can make music with all sorts of stuff. I once had a hard-covered music book with printed piano keys on the back cover. My 2nd grade music teacher used those keys to show my class that we can create music by tapping those keys with a finger or pencil. If you can make musical sounds from a (new-ish) hard-cover book, you can make: 

  • Maracas – Put some beans/rocks inside a resealable container and shake it.
  • Drums – Flip a pot upside-down and bang on it with a wooden spoon or stick. Striking different parts of the drum will produce a variety of sounds. Use a plastic container to get a deeper hollow boom.
  • Cymbals or bell – A steel lid from a pot looks a lot like a drummer’s cymbals. It can sound like a church or dinner bell too. 
  • Tambourine – String together some pop-tabs and shake to make a slight jangle. 
  • Base-tapping – “Tapping” was all the rage when I was in middle school. I found it annoying at the time, but you can reproduce a drummer’s base and a snare drum (from a marching band). It was done by “tapping” the flat edge of a pen or pencil onto a desk and banging the base of your palm onto the same surface.

I won’t lie to you. These home-made “instruments” will not sound like the originals we’re familiar with, but will produce the same musical notes. If the S really HTF, you’ll have plenty of time to practice and who knows, maybe you can earn food or drinks at a local drinking establishment.

Music may not be an ideal form of entertainment for everyone. It can be an annoying racket if you’re terrible at playing, or are tone-deaf.

I personally think that one man’s music, is a noisy beacon for looters and raiders.

Read a Book

Reading is a great way to pass the time by delving into a fantasy world… one that isn’t as terrible as this one. Most people read silently, which is great if you’re trying to hide from the rest of humanity.

The only drawback to reading is that it requires light. Natural light is present during the hours you’re probably working. Which means you’ll need to use a lamp or flashlight to read at night (which causes eyestrain).


Writing could be another way to pass the time and it provides multiple benefits to the writer. While it can’t truly replace live communication, writing a daily or weekly journal helps satisfy the human need for communication if you’re alone in a bunker. Your journals could teach future historians what life was like during and after the fall of civilization.

If you have an active imagination, you could write stories to keep kids and other adults entertained. This leads me to the next activity…

Tell a Story

Weekly story night could be a new family or community event. Write stories one day and read them aloud the next, or make it up on the fly. Different members of the family/community can take turns making up stories to tell around the campfire or fireplace.

You can use musical instruments to make story night even livelier. The ratta-tap of a drum can bring forth visions of soldiers on a battlefield, or blowing into a harmonica at the right moment can be terrifying in a scary story.

But do you really want to tell horror stories, if you’re living in one?

Physical Activities

Playing sports may be the last thing you want to do if you’ve been laboring in the field all day. You may not be interested, but it’s a great way to keep your children occupied and wear them out while you’re trying to relax. Here’s a few activities your family can play.

Kick Ball

Humanity has been playing sports similar to soccer or “fútbol” for thousands of years and on every continent, including Antarctica (in recent times). The rules follow the same basic format with little variations over the centuries.

I can see how soccer or other kick-the-ball games will be popular after the SHTF. You don’t need any extra equipment to play. All you need is an inflatable ball and your feet, and maybe a landmark to serve as a goal.

Play Catch

If you have a baseball or football (American), you can play catch. All that’s required is a ball and at least 2 people. You can toss the ball to each other and chat about your day.

Hacky Sack

You and your kids can kick, toss, and bat around a hacky sack. If you’re crafty and have sewing tools, you can make a hacky sack in 3 steps.

  1. Cut out the toe-part of a sock (3 inches should be enough).
  2. Fill it with small beans (navy or smaller).
  3. Sew it shut.

Play with Pets

Playing with a pet is not only fun, but the activity helps build a stronger bond between you and the animal.

  • Toss a ball or stick and watch your dog fetch it.
  • Grab a toy or stick and play tug of war.
  • Dangle a string or roll a ball to tease/play with a cat.
  • Whistle or play peekaboo with a parrot.

Even if you’re too tired to play, simply petting the creature can make the worries of the world seem to melt away.

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby[2]

Sex is another form of entertainment, which is as old as time itself. If you do it right, it’s a pleasurable experience for all parties involved. However, unless you regularly participate in “Sexual Olympics”, sex isn’t a long-lasting form of entertainment. According to several online sources, the average duration ranges anywhere from 5-20 minutes. So…

What’s the plan for the rest of the day?

Brutal Entertainment

Our methods of entertainment could devolve into something resembling ancient Roman gladiatorial battles. It’s possible that criminals or undesirables will be forced to entertain us by fighting in a “Thunderdome”[3]. While I don’t personally approve of this form of entertainment, it may be wise for a survivalist to conform to the “norms” of the community and be a spectator.


Preppers are good at preparing for the physical aspects of survival, but tend to neglect mental and emotional needs. Entertainment is important because it takes your mind off the everyday struggles and allows your mental battery to recharge. If civilization were to collapse and our modern conveniences were to stop working, families will have to go low-tech and play with board games, cards, dice, puzzles, or balls.

Even bunker-preppers need something fun to do after the hatch is sealed.

[1] Nod to: Don McLean’s, The Day the Music Died.

[2] Nod to: Salt-N-Pepa’s, Let’s Talk About Sex.

[3] Thunderdome: “Thunderdome” is a reference to the gladiatorial arena seen in the movie: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

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