Preparing For Shelter In Place With Children: What Do We Need?

In my mind, I divide supplies into three general categories: emergency disaster supplies; food/shelter in place supplies; supplies for living with children and being sane (LOL).  Here is my list, which is by no means inclusive, but  if you feel shelter in place might be coming to your city or state next, it could be a jumping off point for your own family.  Thank you to Annie @thechildisthecurriculum for reviewing my list prior to publication!

General Emergency/Disaster Supplies (staying at home, not talking about bug out bags and sheltering in the woods or car):

  • Every source says water – but I don’t feel our water will be shut off for a shelter in place order.  Decide for yourself.
  • Flashlights and batteries, camping lanterns, emergency radio – again, decide for yourself if you think your power may be shut off.
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Prescription Medicines and Supplements, allergy medicines if you are allergy prone because it is also allergy season
  • Medicine for tackling cold and flu in whatever form that looks like for your family – no ibuprofen or elderberry for #covid19 ; we typically have herbal, homeopathic, and natural alternatives on hand along with acetaminophin if needed, zinc lozenges, vitamin C, etc.
  • Thermometer – we never seem to have one so this is on my list
  • Medications for pets
  • Supplies for any females menstruating
  • Diapers if your children don’t use cloth

Food/Other General Shelter in Place Supplies

  • Produce that you can freeze for smoothies later
  • Citrus fruits generally can stay stable for awhile and are helpful for the immune system
  • Garlic, onion, ginger root, turmeric root – also stay stable for awhile
  • You can freeze butter and milk; shelf stable milk like almond, coconut, etc are wonderful – you can obviously also buy nuts yourselves and make your own
  • Bags of flour, sugar,  etc for bread making – don’t forget yeast although there are flatbreads you can make; baking soda, baking powder
  • Rice and beans
  • Tomato Sauce, pasta, other pantry meals you would actually eat
  • Bone broth
  • Cans of tuna or other meat
  • Nut butters
  • Pet food
  • Microgreen growing and seeds to grow produce in pots is most welcome
  • Toilet paper or family cloth
  • Paper towels or cloth
  • Cleaning supplies including laundry detergent, dishwashing soap or you can make your own to save money
  • Hand soap and soap; castille soap can last a long time if you get the gallon sized!
  • Vinegar has many uses and good to have on hand
  • Salt, spices

Supplies for Children:

  • Games
  • Art Supplies
  • Deck of Cards
  • If you have a yard, there are many things you could get to play with in the yard – goal nets, volleyball, whiffleball, cones
  • Doorway gym for littles or doorway swing
  • Household items for science experiments you can find on line
  • If they were in school and now have classes online, appropriate devices and/or textbooks that are required

Please add to this list and share!

Many blessings,


8 thoughts on “Preparing For Shelter In Place With Children: What Do We Need?

  1. my understanding was that elderberry was fine for this virus. please share if you know something different. thank you!

  2. My sister is in San Francisco Bay area and you are still allowed to leave to get necessary things like food even during shelter in place orders I believe.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Yes, true in many places, but personally I don’t really want to! ❤ Love to you and your family – San Fran was first in trying to contain this! Carrie

  3. Hello! I wanted to add, especially if you have young children, considering to have on hand at least a few things to be able to celebrate birthdays and holidays that might come up while sheltering in place: birthday candles, plastic Easter eggs, a few little toys or a new book. Maybe a favorite non-perishable treat the child loves to eat that seems quintessential to that special day. I realize these are not “must haves” for survival, but for many children whose lives are turned upside down it might still feel very meaningful to be able to celebrate special family events in some way.

    My son’s birthday party had to be canceled this month, but we had ordered his gifts and favorite birthday foods ahead of time, and we did FaceTime with the relatives when he opened the gifts they had mailed him so he still felt celebrated and connected. I also expected that we might be sheltering in place over Easter so on our final trip to the grocery store I picked up plastic Easter eggs and a few little Easter crafts and “basket fillers” — I know some of these could probably still be purchased online but they are usually more expensive online and I am concerned about taking away workers’ time from packing and delivering essential resources for what is more superfluous. Anyway, just a few thoughts.

    Thank you so much, as always, for your wonderful posts. You have been there for me through your words of wisdom for many parenting ups and downs and it is a comfort and a blessing to connect with you during these unprecedented times. I wish you, your family and all your readers well!

    • Kathryn – These are SUCH great ideas! I know a lot of littles who don’t really understand what is happening and why their little friends can’t come to their house for their birthday party. 😦 So hard. I too, had been picking up little Easter basket things before this started, but I keep working on it on line now here and there. These are amazing ideas! Thank you so much for your super kind words. Lots of love, Carrie

  4. This is so interesting. I clicked on this post to link to it from my own blog, because I thought it was so good when I read it. I commented at that time, but I don’t see my comment here. I think I have issues with WordPress sometimes. (Me, not your blog.) Carrie, as someone who lives in California and therefore is prepared for earthquakes and wildfires, this is an excellent list, and why I was coming back link and share it! I am in the area of California first to shelter-in-place, so we’ve been home for weeks now. What I am noticing is that it is littler things or less often used (so less stockpiled) items, like certain spices, are what we are running low on.

    • Hi Nicola! Gah, that makes perfect sense. For the first time ever, I actually ran out of baking powder and baking soda and some spices, things like that. Probably because I don’t think about them that much because it’s small amounts! Lots of love to you all, Carrie

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