The “When Dad’s Away Activity Jar”

Sometimes, when I’m a single mom for a few days, it’s all about survival, pure and simple. Getting through each day, whatever it takes, and doing it without losing my cool with the kids, if possible. I posted on our family blog awhile back about some of my survival strategies for “occasional” single parenting.

I don’t think just merely surviving is necessarily a bad thing. But I was thinking today about how I could do more than just survive the times when Rusty is gone. How could I actually enjoy these times and make them fun, especially for the kids? So, I have instituted the “When Dad’s Away Activity Jar.” I took several small squares of paper and wrote one fun activity on each of them, then folded them up and put them in a glass jar. Every day, one of the boys will choose a square from the jar and we will do the activity at some point during the day. Today’s activity was playing outside in the yard with the water hose. They loved it, and they have been looking forward all day to getting to choose the next activity tomorrow!

Here are some of the other activities:

  • Make cookies
  • Have an indoor cookout in the fireplace
  • Movie night with popcorn and hot chocolate
  • Picnic in the park
  • Sleepover in Mom’s bed
  • Make popsicles

I may add some other activities to the jar as I think of them — like a craft project or making pizza or a game night or a treasure hunt or just dancing to silly music in the living room. As the boys get older, maybe they can come up with some of their own ideas. We’ll keep the jar and the activity squares and pull it out whenever Rusty is gone on one of his trips. It’s a simple thing, but it helps the time pass more quickly when you have something fun and different to look forward to each day.

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