20 Long Distance Activities for Moms/Dads At a Distance
Taken from “Dads at a Distance” http://www.fambooks.com/daads/fathering.html
- Go to the mall and have a photo of yourself put on a pillowcase and then send it to your child. If you wear cologne you might want to put a little bit on the pillowcase to remind your child of you.
- Purchase or make stickers of your child's name and stick them over the names of a character in one of their favorite books. You can also get a picture of your child's face and place it over the character's face.
- Make a video and/or audio recording of you reading bedtime stories. Send them to your child along with the book.
- Arrange for flowers, pizza, etc. to be delivered to your child before or after a special even (a play, recital, sports game). Include a note telling them how proud you are of their accomplishment.
- Send a package containing all the things your child will need if he or she gets sick. For example, you could send a can of chicken noodle soup, a special blanket or pillowcase, a video or audio tape wishing them a speedy recovery, crossword puzzles, a stuffed animal, etc.
- Send home a photo documentary of what you do all day when you are away. Be sure to include things like what you eat, how you travel, etc. Things that you might think are boring, your kids will be very interested in seeing. Have your child do the same.
- Have a star officially named after your child. Call 1-800-282-3333.
- Send a postcard attack. (Send a postcard everyday for a week or try to send postcards from unique places)
- If both you and your child have access to cell phones, then go fishing with them from a distance.
- Try including surprises in with the letters: fast food wrappers, foreign currency, pencil shavings, coasters, Band-Aids, your own art, flower petals, Sunday comics, sand, fortunes from cookies, newspaper clippings, stamps, old shoe laces, or crumbs from breakfast to show you were thinking of them.
- If both you and your child have access to the Internet, then go on a virtual field trip together. Be sure to use a free program like AOL Instant Message so you can communicate with each other while looking at the web pages. A couple of places to start would be NASA at www.nasa.gov or PBS at www.pbs.org.
- Find unique things to write your letters on, for example: things your child likes -- favorite color of paper, stickers, or pictures of things they like. Fun objects -- coaster, napkins, paper tray liners at restaurants, barf bags, old handkerchiefs, pictures of you, or of favorite spots. Paper cut into special shapes (holiday shapes like shamrocks or hearts). Puzzles (cut your finished letter into pieces, try sending one piece at a time).
- Send home some money so that your child can go to the ice cream parlor. Be sure to send a special letter along that can only be read at the ice cream parlor. If you both have access to cell phones then you can both be at a ice cream parlor talking over your ice cream.
- Write a news letter (have a regular issue of your own family newsletter with columns about each child, family events, exciting news etc.)
- If your child does not already have access to a speaker phone then buy one. Set the phone in the middle of the room, and you will be able to have dinner with them, be there as they brush their teeth and get ready for bed, etc.
- Start a letter and take it with you throughout the day. Add a sentence every now and then and be sure to add where you are when you write the different sentences - i.e. an elevator, taxi, café, etc.
- Play Internet games together like Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, both of which can be found at sony.com. Other games that can be found on the Internet include golf, card games, chess, checkers, Sim City, strategy games etc.
- Make a package that contains cookie cutters and the non-perishable ingredients of your child's favorite cookie so you can "help" them bake while you are away.
- Play "Hide and Seek" from a distance. Have the person who is taking care of your child hide the treats you sent in predetermined "hiding spots." Give your child clues on how to find the treats over the phone or in a letter.
- Begin a Life's Lessons Booklet. Each week write down a few of the lessons you've learned in life and how you learned those lessons. When the booklet is full, send it to your child to use as he or she begins or continues the journey of life.
A few years ago H. Jackson Brown Jr. sat down at a type writer and began a list of lessons that he had learned in life to share with his son, who was going off to college. He writes, "I read years ago that it was not the responsibility of parents to pave the road for their children, but to provide a road map." A few days after his son had received the gift he called and told his dad, "Dad, I've been reading the instruction book and I think it's one of the best gifts I've ever received. I'm going to add to it and someday give it to my son."
One Additional Free Activity
Before you leave home next time, hide some treasure (notes of appreciation, videos of you reading stories, candy, toys, etc.) around the house. Be sure to draw a treasure map of where you have hidden these things. Then mail it home. If your child has a portable phone, then you can talk to them and give hints as they hunt for the treasure.
If you are not living with your child you can still do this activity by mailing the treasures ahead of time to the person who is taking care of your child.