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10 things to do with your family during Earth Hour

Family looking through a telescope on a dock full width

Posted by Blaine Kyllo

If you've participated in Earth Hour before, you know that the actual hour when you've got your lights turned off passes pretty quickly.

The annual event, which is organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), asks ordinary people like us to turn off our lights for just an hour. It all started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and last year 511 Canadian cities joined thousands of others around the world in saving some energy and the carbon emissions that go with it.

This year, Earth Hour takes place on Saturday, March 29, at 8:30 p.m. local time. BC Hydro is a proud supporter of the event.

And rather than just sit in the dark for an hour, or watch television, we consulted five-year-old Sadie, who had some great ideas about what families can do in the dark.

  1. Go to bed early: U.S. inventor Ben Franklin reportedly quipped, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Sadie's grandfather has always claimed that every hour of sleep before midnight was worth two after. Sometimes you just want to snuggle up with the family under the covers, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so.
  2. Stargaze: This is only an option for those who have clear, cloud-free skies on the night of Earth Hour. But if you do, take advantage of the reduced amount of light pollution to look at the stars in the sky.
  3. Play board games by candlelight: If you use candles as a light replacement, make sure they are on stable surfaces away from hands that are rolling dice. And consider cracking a window to make sure you've got fresh air for the flames. It's also best to ensure you're using 100% natural candles.
  4. Tell stories: There won't be enough light to read books, but that doesn't mean you can't take turns telling tales. Especially spooky ones.
  5. Play dark tag: This version of the game, Sadie assures us, was meant to be played in the dark. Make sure you move all the furniture to the outside of the room before you begin, or play outside to avoid injury. You could also play hide and seek, which is always more fun in the dark anyway.
  6. Go for a walk: If the weather cooperates, a nice stroll in the evening can be delightful. And you can see which of your neighbours are participating in Earth Hour.
  7. Have a concert: Pull out the musical instruments and stage a singalong. It's fun to make the songs up, too, if you don't know the lyric to the latest Justin Bieber song. And if you don't have many musical instruments, you can use chopsticks and spoons for percussion, and rice in a plastic container makes for a great shaker.
  8. Let your inner comedians out: Take turns telling jokes. This is especially fun if you've got a five-year-old in the house.
  9. Build something: Wooden blocks and Lego are easy and safe to play with, even in low light situations.
  10. Become astronauts: Get some space suits, move the couch cushions around, and launch yourselves into orbit. 

Blaine Kyllo is a Vancouver-based freelancer and regular contributor to bchydro.com.