Deployment resources for military children & teens

Return to the Military Children & Teen Resource Directory - LINK

Scroll down to be directed to these resources for military children:
Coloring books, activity books and more
Flat Brat TM
Flat Stanley
​Grants for sports, fine arts, academic tutoring programs
​Honorary Teammate
Horseback riding lessons
Newspaper - Brat Town Bugle TM
Photo quilts
Reading (create your own books, recordable books)
Something to hug
The big picture instructions

Coloring books, activity books and more

Coloring books and activity books
Click here for coloring books and activity books (and free coloring pages!)
There are many free, downloadable coloring pages are designed just for military kids! Use them to help kids stay connected with their deployed parent or to help cope while a parent is away. This page also lists coloring and activity books.

Additional (free) options I recommend are:

Flat Brat TM

Flat Brat TM
Flat Brat
Flat Brat TM was developed as a joint effort by Benita Koeman and Beth Allen to bring another colorable project to military kids to help them through deployments. Beth is a military supporter and the creator of Troops In Touch interactive postcards and  Benita is a military wife, founder of Operation We Are Here, and creator of Brat Town Bugle: A Publication of Non-Recruits in Big Boots.

They developed Flat Brat TM to be gender and race neutral, and specific to military children (aka military brats), something that would help bridge the gap between the deployed parent and military child. Free

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley
The basic principle of The Flat Stanley Project is to connect your child, student or classroom with other children or classrooms participating in the Project by sending out "flat" visitors, created by the children, through the mail (or digitally, with The Flat Stanley app). Kids then talk about, track, and write about their flat character's journey and adventures. Although similar to a pen-pal activity, Flat Stanley is actually much more enriching-students don't have to wonder where to begin or what to write about. The sender and the recipient already have a mutual friend, Flat Stanley. Writing and learning becomes easier, flows naturally, and tends to be more creative. This is what teachers call an "authentic" literacy project, in that kids are inspired to write of their own passion and excitement about the project, and given the freedom to write about many things through the rubric of the Flat Stanley character.

Templates include Drill Sergeant Stan, Captain Stella...  Free

Grants for sports, fine arts, academic tutoring programs

Our Military Kids (National Guard/Reserve)
If you or your spouse are in the National Guard or Reserves and are deployed overseas, Our Military Kids can help pay for sports, fine arts and tutoring programs for your children. Free

Honorary Teammate​

Operation Teammate
Operation Teammate provides a solution to ease the pain for military children during challenging times throughout the year and while their parents are away from home serving our great nation. We welcome military families of all statuses and provide memorable sporting experiences to military children through Impactful Athlete Interaction. Our mission is supported by the athlete engagement and the motivational stories of these athletes during various events. While assisting military children during difficult times by providing sporting experiences, impactful mentoring and community ambassador opportunities, the Operation Teammate mission continues to Inspire Military Children!. Free

Horseback riding sessions

Operation Free Ride (Horses 4 Heroes)
An opportunity to ride a horse for freeOperation Free Ride is a program that offers weekly, hosted or sponsored horseback riding sessions that are free for every member of their family! This program serves military families with a deployed family member, as well as families who have a family member with a disability or serious illness. While our program is not able to serve the needs of the developmentally disabled or those with serious or terminal illnesses, we invite the other family members to enjoy the distractions and benefits to body and soul that only a day with horses can provide.

Operation Free Ride is just one of the programs that help Horses4Heroes fulfill its mission to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, the families of the heroes in our community including, but not limited to: active duty military personnel, veterans, law enforcement officers, fire fighters/EMTs, critical care and hospice nurses and others.


Deployment journals


Brat Town Bugle: A Publication of Non-Recruits in Big Boots
Brat Town Bugle
Brat Town Bugle is a free, downloadable newspaper to help bridge the gap between home front kids and their geographically separated parent. 70+ pages to choose from! Free

Photo quilts

Operation Kid Comfort
ASYMCA’s (Armed Services YMCA) Operation Kid Comfort is designed to address the emotional stress that children of military personnel suffer during a parent’s absence from home. Operation Kid Comfort provide free quilts for children six and under and pillows for children age seven and up.  ASYMCA volunteers collect photographs from military families to make “photo-transfer” quilts that feature images of the deployed family member. Photographs of the deployed parent are scanned into a computer, printed, and placed onto the fabric. The quilt is then given to the child to play with, sleep with, or use to comfort them from the grief of missing their deployed parent. Free

Also visit this LINK for an exhaustive listing of books for military children and teens.

A Story Before Bed
Record yourself reading a story to your children! A Story Before Bed is giving away 250,000 FREE RECORDINGS to parents (aunts, uncles, etc.) in the U.S. Armed forces who are deploying or already deployed away from their children for any amount of time. Free

Baby's Brilliant
One of the most difficult things for parents serving in the military is to be deployed away from their young children.We are honored to offer this service to all deployed parents. Record yourself reading one of our read along books and we will edit your voice in and send you the link to share with your family back home. Add a personal message at the end of the book. This is offered AT NO CHARGE, as a thank you from us to all the men and women in uniform serving our country away from home. To receive a book to read, e-mail us at [email protected] Free

Readeo - See, hear and read with each other even when you're far away!  (Ages 0-8)
Readeo was founded in 2009 by CEO Coby Neuenschwander while living in Chicago with his son Oliver. Because of the distance between Oliver and his grandparents, they were having trouble establishing a meaningful relationship. Visits only happened a couple of times per year, phone calls were inadequate, and video chat alone didn’t hold Oliver’s attention. Reading together became the vehicle for establishing and strengthening the relationship between grandparent and grandchild.

Today, Readeo is a patent-pending product that combines the best children’s books with high-quality video chat to create a shared reading experience called BookChatTM where people can see, hear, read and interact with grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and others—just as you would if you were in the same room. Readeo allows families to connect and interact in a meaningful way—even when they may be far apart.

United through Reading
The United Through Reading® Military Program helps ease the stress of separation for military families by having deployed parents read children’s books aloud via DVD for their child to watch at home.

This powerful program is available to all deploying military units and at select USO locations. It provides parents a chance to make powerful and lasting connections with their children and parent from afar. Free

Reading - Create your own book - Where your child becomes the star of his or her own story
With MyOwnStory, caregivers can create customized children’s books for special situations in a child’s life. Our stories were prepared under the careful guidance of educators, doctors, and child development specialists. Our collection of stories covers subject matter that is significant to children and their families, such as having a new baby in the family, the first day of school, going to the dentist, moving to a new city and many more. Once you customize these stories, they are yours to save, print and enjoy for years to come. The stories, Daddy is in the Military and Mommy is in the Military, are free.

Over There Activity Book (Daddy version, Mommy version)
Here is an opportunity to create your own Over There children's book!  Download the PDF (either the mommy version or the daddy version, depending on which parent is deployed), print it out, and attach photos that represent the spirit of the text.  If you and your child are feeling extra creative, you can even draw your own illustrations. Do whatever feels right to capture your family's unique deployment story. After completing the book, keep it on hand and read it to your child as often as each of you would like. Free pdf

Creating a book with Tikatok is a simple and fun way for you and your child to express imagination and creativity.
1. Write your story.
2. Add pictures.
3. Order your book (hard cover, soft cover, or e-book download)

Reading - Recordable books

Cali's Books
At Cali's Books we manufacture and sell interactive sound books created with love to inspire and cultivate a passion for books and music. The music and sounds in our books engage children in a way that regular books cannot. We have a large collection of sound books that focus on music, education, sports and animals. You may be interested in our new Timeless collection which features classic tales and the ability to record your own book so that you can always be there for story time. 10% military discount - LINK

Hallmark’s new Recordable Storybooks allow someone like a parent or grandparent to “read” a book to a child, even when they cannot be present. The Recordable Storybook features voice capture technology, recording the reader’s voice, which is captured within the book. When a child turns a page, the book automatically plays the text on that page in the reader’s voice. Hallmark Recordable Storybooks are great alternatives for out-of-town grandparents, parents in the military, or parents who travel on business who still want to “read” to their kids from across the miles. Some titles include: The Night Before Christmas, All the Ways I Love You, and Bright and Beautiful.

Hallmark also sells Conversations To Keep TM - recordable interviews. This fun, together-time activity is filled with open-ended questions that spark imaginative answers only kids can give. Titles include: Dad & Me, Mom & Me, Grandma & Me.

Sparkup - The Magical Book Reader
The Sparkup Magical Book Reader, enables kids to interact with real printed books as they stay connected with family and friends while learning – whether in the same room or across the globe. Watch the video to see how it works. video

Something to hug

Battalion Buddies
Having already shipped more than 600,000 care packages to service men and women deployed in combat zones, Operation Gratitude is pleased to announce the launch of “Battalion Buddies” — a new program designed to serve and encourage the young children of deploying troops.

In cooperation with Family Readiness Officers and battalion leaders nationwide, Operation Gratitude will begin providing special stuffed toys – known as Battalion Buddies – to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel as their units prepare to deploy.

U.S. Military: We are happy to send the Battalion Buddies to all the children of a deploying or deployed unit upon request from the rear detachment and/or family readiness officer. Please have the command contact us at [email protected] so we can make arrangements directly with them for a shipment. (At this time, we do not have the resources to send the Buddies to individual children.) Free (Must request from the rear detachment and/or family readiness officer for a group shipment)

Bear Regards
BEARegard Comfort Bears is founded on helping children through the difficult times.

Our nation’s military might serve far from their families, but love overcomes any distance. Celebrate that love with Budsies Selfies huggable custom dolls.

Custom-made in the likeness of the servicemember
Perfect gifts for spouses and couples stationed far apart
A necessity for kiddos to hug mommy or daddy while they are away

Build-A-Bear Workshop
At Build-A-Bear Workshop®, our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. An American icon, the Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Can customize with voice recordings and military gear.

Daddy Doll
​Daddy Dolls help to keep any distant loved one close to the heart.

TUTORIAL - Make Your Own Daddy Doll for Military Kids
LINK to Daddy Doll Tutorial

Hearts and Heroes
When a loved one is away; Hearts + Heroes dolls are here to stay. We offer custom comfort dolls for children that have a loved one in the line of duty or enjoy a career plush doll.

Huggee Miss You Doll
Sells digi-camouflage doll with recordable or non-recordable options for children of deployed parents.

Huggy Box
HuggyBox is helping families stay connected. Missing loved ones? Business travel keeping you from home? Someone you love in the hospital? Send them HuggyBox. When your loved ones open it, they will find your personal message and your thoughtful hug. 

Little Bug Lovies
Little Bug is driven to helping families deal with the hard realities of separation. Our extra cozy, stuffable, and sustainably shipped stuffed animals are specially designed to soothe your child through those difficult moments. A hidden pocket in the back lets your child’s little hands fill up their Lovie with small toys, one of your shirts, or even more stuffing for even bigger hugs.

Magical Order of Brave Knights
Meet Sir William the Brave Knight!

Our Brave Knights Kit will help your child overcome their fears and help them feel confident and empowered to scare away those monsters who are hiding in their room. Your child will sleep all night in their own bed so you all can get the sleep you desperately deserve.

Kit includes 28-page The Magical Order of Brave Knights hardcover storybook, 15″ Sir William plushie, and the Magical Knights projecting light which projects eight encouraging images for children to shine into any dark corner that scares them.

Written by a military spouse.

My Face on a Figure
By sending a few photos of your face, My Face on a Figure can create an action figure of yourself! Perfect for military families, especially those going through a deployment!

The Dabby Project
The Dabby Project’s goal is to create comfort, and fun for children ages 4-10 while their parent(s) are away on deployment.

A handmade “Dabby” is sent to the child. While their parent is away, the child spends time with Dabby, plays with Dabby, and enjoys her company. Dabby is sent to the child for a month at a time, when the month is over, the child receives their very own Dabby doll in return. Dabby is then sent to another child who’s parents are serving overseas. Children ages 4-6 tell their mom or dad how much fun they are having with Dabby, and their info is sent in, while children ages 7-10 document their adventures with Dabby.

Troop on the Stoop
A U.S.A. military product developed and a book written and published by a U.S. veteran: Troop on the Stoop is a stuffed 8" toy with a picture frame and book that children can read, keep near, can talk to, and cuddle with while their loved one is away serving in the armed forces.

Uniform Accessories Unlimited
Sells plush uniformed teddy bears, army brat dog tags, "My Dad Fights for our Freedom" coin.

Vermont Teddy Bear
Sells a 15" camoflauge teddy bear, desert camo with t-shirt bear and military bear.

ZZZ Bears - SGT Sleeptight
SGT. SLEEPTIGHT protects children as they sleep from bad dreams, fear of the dark and the nighttime anxiety that comes from having a deployed parent.

The big picture instructions

The Big Picture (Mail yourself to Daddy or Mommy)
Here is a wonderful idea for kids - trace around them so they can send themselves to their Dad or Mom. Details in this blog post by Camo-N-Kids, the creators of the We Serve Too! books. Free
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