Playtime: 10 Ways to Brighten Deployment Days


It’s tempting for a military family to take the “hunker down” approach to deployment. The parent on the home front often has his or her hands full just getting through each day; or the family may feel they shouldn’t have too much fun without their deployed loved one. However, play and lightheartedness are appropriate and healthy for families during deployment.

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to have fun and make positive memories at home, while also making connections with a deployed parent:

  • Make a timeline: Hang a poster or large piece of paper on the wall. Use colorful markers to write small or significant events and funny happenings to share with the deployed parent. Add more paper as necessary to extend the timeline.
  • Make a video of the family during deployment. Plan, edit and produce it just like a movie.
  • Host board game tournaments.
  • Keep a scrapbook, digitally or on paper.
  • Record messages to the deployed parent to send or save for later.
  • Check out a copy of Guinness World Records. Try to beat some of the records or make up your own.
  • Draw a circle on a map with an eighty-mile radius from your house. Pick a new place to explore within that circle each weekend.
  • Family Fun Nights – Have each child take turns selecting an activity.
  • Take turns planning dinners or special desserts for each other. 
  • Learn to dance. Teach your kids to dance.


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