Spring has finally sprung across the U.S. and there’s no better time to celebrate our military children with the Month of the Military Child. The nicer weather brings ample opportunities to get outside and be active as a family. Since military kids must often deal with separation from a parent, finding fun ways to be active can help them lift their spirits and better cope with missing a parent.
Here are 5 Active Ways to Celebrate Your Military Kids…
- Take a trip to a national park. U.S. National Parks offer free admission to active duty military families and offer plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy such as hiking and biking, playgrounds, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and pavilions for parties. Some parks offer more as well. Or, visit a local state or regional park and enjoy what they have to offer. One park near me offers mini-golf, a driving range, and batting cages all in one area. There is a cost for those activities, but it’s always fun to have multiple activities to choose from.
- Garden together. Planting a garden is a great opportunity for kids to see the results of their labor. Whether they plant vegetables or flowers, they can take ownership of what they planted and watch it grow as they take care of it. Also, if their mom or dad will soon be returning home from a deployment or trip, cleaning up the landscaping and adding flowers or shrubs would be a great surprise for the homecoming that the kids can feel part of.
- Plan activities with other families. We live off base, so we don’t see other military families we know as often as if we lived on base. But I feel it’s important for my kids to interact with other military kids so they can understand that they are part of a bigger family and that we are there to support each other. Picnics, camping, going to a baseball game, or meeting at a playground or a beach are just a few activities multiple families can do together.
- Attend events related to the military. The cities and towns around military bases are often very military friendly and host military-related events. Pick a few to attend and let your kids know the event is there to support the military. Air shows are always fun to attend as well, and kids can see military aircraft and have questions answered by the pilots directly.
- Let them choose what will cheer them up. Despite our best efforts, kids aren’t immune to feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration when a parent is away. Ask your child what they would like to do, as long as it involves being active. They might want to go to an indoor bounce house place, bowling, or to Chuck e Cheeses (much to your dismay). Whatever they choose, let them know you are there to help them get through it, and that getting exercise can help them feel much better. In my experience, simply letting them pick where they get to go will start to help them feel better already!
Get out and celebrate your military kids! Not only will everyone benefit physically and mentally, but you’ll create lasting memories that kids will equate with military life and recognize their place in this huge family to which they belong.