How to Create a Deployment Countdown

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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.

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About the author: csofia928 (26 Posts)

Carmen Grant is a proud Navy EOD wife and mother of two boys, ages 3 and 4. She spends her time blogging about military life, volunteering at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society as a financial caseworker and taking care of her family. She is owner of two new military life websites, and Two off base places for military wives!



  1. melissa crull

    April 11, 2012

    love this idea! i am also a proud EOD wife but we are Army….

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    • csofia928

      April 11, 2012

      Im glad you like it!!! I started this when my boys were really little and barely knew their numbers. Now they are in grade school and my husband is in and out a lot for training so even during those small two-weekers we start a jar. There is actually an app on the iPhone that is a marble jar that a few of my friends have tried and like. But I like the tangible and visible reminder of the hubby’s arrival..makes us all feel better. Where are you all stationed? We are now in Coronado, though we were in WA when i wrote this post. Have moved 4 times since then!

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  2. stefanie

    May 11, 2013

    I too am a navy EOD wife and mother of one boy. My husband just deployed today so im looking for some fun ideas for the countdown!!! :) Thanks!

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