Since my last article got such a great response (thank you!) and we received a lot of wonderful feedback from you, I wanted to continue and see if we can generate even more ideas. When my husband deploys again next year I want to send boxes that will surprise him and put a smile on his face. Sure, I’ll still send Kool-Aid and beef jerky but I’m also looking to make the care packages a lot of fun.
I came across these little jewels when I was helping a friend whose husband is deployed come up with new, fun care package ideas. Slingshot Flying Monkeys! http://www.handhelditems.com/slingshot-flying-monkey-with-scream-sound-p-4958.html. They also come in chicken, pig, frog, duck, cow and parachute monkey. They are simply hilarious. Let’s face it; our Soldiers get bored when they’re deployed (when they’re not working 16 hours days that is.) So would they find these entertaining? I think YES! They’re inexpensive and if you watch the video on the page, you’ll see how they could turn these toys into a fun, friendly competition. I think this is a great way to lower their stress levels and give them something silly and entertaining to do.
Another great idea that I came across was paper chains. I LOVE this one and can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about it before! Paper chains are usually associated with Christmas decorations but they’re also perfect for deployment countdowns. I’ll definitely be doing this project with my stepdaughter. This is especially good for shorter deployments but you can make it work for longer ones as well. Sit down with the kids and make a paper chain with enough links for each day your Soldier will be deployed. Of course we won’t know the exact amount of days but make it as close as possible. Each day, let your child take off one of the links. It gives them something to look forward to and helps them understand the length of time in a more tangible way. My only suggestion is for those of you going through yearlong deployments is to break them up and make a chain for each month so it’s not so overwhelming. I’m including a couple helpful links I found with instructions and/or print offs. http://www.crayola.com/crafts/detail/celebration-countdown-chain-craft/
Another suggestion is to make a paper chain the opposite way by adding a link everyday your Soldier is deployed instead of taking one away. You can cut the strips and have your child write a little message on each new link and when your Soldier gets home he/she will be able to read a message for each day they were gone. This would also be a great thing to send in their care packages if you break them up month to month.
So what are your new ideas? Have you come across or done anything different lately that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!