Ideas to Keep Kids Busy During the Long Days of a Summer Deployment

Tue, Jun 27, 2017 @ 08:06 AM Dawn M. Smith Military Life

flickr_kids_living_room.jpgkids_water_park.jpg

We have another summer with a deployed daddy on the horizon, and I am already searching for more ways to keep us occupied.

Military kids who aren’t moving this summer tend to get infected with cases of “I’m booorrreeed” quickly. Because we parents are all in the same boat trying to survive boredom and sibling fighting over summer vacation, I’ll share my collection of activities that we have done successfully. I’ll also list the ideas we plan to try this summer.

Admittedly, my family tends to travel in effort to occupy our time, because the TV at home is too much of a temptation for binge watching! I’d be grateful to hear about any tips readers have to spend the long deployment days.

flickr_kids_living_room.jpgvia Flickr user Nori

What's Worked for Us

Summer Camps

  • Pricey horseback riding
  • Inexpensive vacation Bible school
  • Affordable rec center day camps like ice skating

Travel

  • Day trips to amusement parks
  • Visiting Amish country
  • Touring local historic sites
  • Using free hotel point programs to explore cities 3-5 hours’ drive away
  • Boarding the Amtrak train
  • For old time's sake, visiting the house my daughter was born in 

Activities

  • Off beat museums
  • Concerts and movies in the park
  • Re-decorating/organizing bedrooms and play rooms
  • Collecting donations for charities like pet shelters
  • 10-dollar shopping spree at the dollar store
  • Local library reading programs
  • Matinee dollar movies

Family

  • Sent daughter to visit grandparents for 2 weeks
  • Planned a cousin reunion
  • Writing letters to far away relatives
kids_water_park.jpg

We Plan to Try

Travel

  • Meet old friends from states away at the halfway mark
  • Let my daughter pick a reasonable destination to visit
  • Plan our annual winter trip

Activities

  • Check out audio books from the library
  • Go to more live productions
  • Teach my 5th grader cursive (our school system nixed the skill)
  • Visit brick and mortar bookstores
  • Enroll in a dog obedience glass designed for kids to learn
  • Shop in an ethnic market
  • Eat at a restaurant with unfamiliar cuisine
  • Pool hop on nearby military facilities
  • Use the research databases online through the local library system (think Nat Geo Kids)
  • Send care packages to Dad and his friends
  • Watch the new PBS Yellowstone series together
  • Collect back to school supplies and new school clothes catalogs
  • Write out hopes and thoughts for the next grade level

Family

  • Investigate a family tree (our daughter might be eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution!)
  • Just for fun, consider the commercial ancestry DNA kits
  • Ask family to send notes and packages to soldiers

We will also very likely revisit tried and true activities from summers past, like aquariums and water parks. The one activity I encourage every family to try is a military kid buddy program. These programs connect kids who are moving in the neighborhood with those who are veterans to the local schools. Each military kid deserves to see a friendly face the first day of school.

Are you PCS'ing this summer? MilitarybyOwner is stocked with advice about how to travel and have fun inexpensively. Tips for military lodging and Space A Travel are only two of the topics available for reference.

New Call-to-action