Being a military mom you have to find positive and creative ways to involve the children deployments. A good way to get the kids involved is to create a deployment countdown. This is literally just counting down the days in an interactive and fun way.

How to start a deployment countdown

  • Get two containers, they can be anything you have around the house.
  • Take the kids outside to a park, beach, forest, or anywhere else you can go to collect rocks. A typical navy deployment is 180 days, so if you’re Navy (hooyah), collect 180 rocks.
  • Place all the rocks in the starting bowl.
  • Once dad deploys, take one rock and place it in the empty bowl. Transfer one rock every day until dad gets home.
  • You can transfer the rocks in the morning to wish dad a good day, at dinner to reserve a place for him at the table, or at night to wish him a good night.

What to do in between rock transfers?

  • Say a prayer. Put prayer cards between the two containers and read a new one each day.
  • Count the rocks in the first container to see how many days are left.
  • Count the rocks in the second container to see how many days have passed.
  • Do a little dance.

Alternative options for a deployment countdown

  • Use coins. When the deployment is over, roll them and put the money into you child’s college fund.
  • Use toy soldiers.
  • Use marbles in glass containers
  • Use mini pom-poms in tupperware containers if you’re worried about knocking over rocks or marbles.
  • Instead of transferring items, place 180 jelly beans, M&Ms, or other candy and eat the deployment days.

Get as creative as you can. Its a fun, productive way to count down the days. After dad gets home, you can use the rocks to create a kids garden in the backyard. The kids will be thrilled to use their special rocks for another project.


Carmen Grant is a proud combat military wife and mother of two toddlers. She is the Family Readiness Group President for her husband’s command, and volunteers at the Navy Marine-Corps Relief Society as a financial caseworker. She also writes about foreign policy, parenting, fundraising, and fitness at Suite101.