10 Great Games for Deputation

♪  ♫ On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again… ♪ ♫ Do most missionary families  on deputation sing this song? Okay, maybe they do not sing the Willie Nelson song and maybe they really have moments where they do NOT want to get on the road again. That is why I have come up with a list of 10 Great Games for Deputation.

Some of these games are games that we have played as a family on our own road-trips, and some of these came highly recommended for travel games. You’re sure to bring a smile to a family’s face if you give them a game or two listed here. Everybody knows that being months on the road can give even the most Christian mothers and fathers the feeling of slamming their forehead into the steering wheel when the kids are fighting and tired of playing slug-bug.

These games were also chosen because most of them are travel size, small enough to fit into a vehicle without taking too much space. Space is always an issue when you’re traveling and when we give gifts to a missionary family we never want to give something that is going to be an over-sized burden.

Now let’s get to the fun part and take a look at these fun games for families on deputation (and furlough too).

Deputations Games 2

Top row, left to right.

  • Melissa & Doug’s Hangman – In this game of hangman you don’t have to keep up with which letters you have used and those you haven’t. You simply flip over the letter once it’s used. AND then you flip over the hangman’s body parts when someone guesses wrong also. The white section on the bottom is designed for writing with your handy-dandy dry erase marker the blanks for your secret word. This simply will slide beneath a seat or into a seat pocket.
  • Melissa & Doug’s License Plate Game – This game has easy flip license plates that stay securely on with tight bands, so there is no losing small pieces in the car. When you see a state license plate then you can quickly flip it over. This game is great for ages 5 and up.
  • Pass the Pigs by Winning Moves – Roll 2 cute little rubbery pigs and the way they land determines how many points you receive or LOSE! This game is like Yahtzee because you are trying to get your pigs to land certain ways to earn all the points you can. The pigs, pencil, and score pad fit nicely into the little container provided and will slip easily into a purse or backpack. Use a cookie sheet or other flat surface and you’ll have a oinking fun time!

Bottom row, left to right.

  • Loaded Questions: On the Go Version – This is a questions game where you ask people in your car all sorts of questions and get to know even your closest family member better. You can use the papers and pencils and pass them around the car by following the instructions or you can leave them in the box and just ask each other the fun questions. With 200 questions in the box, it is loaded with laughs! Recommended for ages 8 and up.
  • Spot It – On the Road Version – This game comes with 55 cards in the canister and comes with different ways to play by matching items on the cards or by traveling a Bingo style and looking for objects outside of the car. Many people love that it helps the family stay alert while driving.
  • Rory’s Story Cubes – Roll the dice and the upward pictures become your inspiration for story telling! This would be a great game for 2+ children playing in the back seat and for occupying children in the hotel room. The cube pictures vary and make the storytelling very funny and unique.

Deputations Games 1

  • Pixy Cubes – Kids that like to figure things out would love to play this game! Twist cubes around to match the card patterns, you can play this game alone or play it with up to 4 players, 6 and up.  This game also includes challenge cards for those looking to go the extra mile. This game comes in a sturdy tin that holds all the cubes and the game’s 66 cards. The cubes are not for children 3 or younger.
  • Find It! – A great American-made toy filled with plastic pellets and up to 40 items in each container, Find It is fun for the whole family! It comes with a pad that can be used to check off the items that have been already found. With all the objects contained inside it makes it easy for travel. There are many different versions from a beach theme, a hunter’s theme, zoo, sports, glitz & glamour, and even Veggie Tales, and more! Find It is great for all ages.
  • Mad Gab To Go – This is a hilarious word puzzle type of game, where you sound out words and letter sounds to figure out phrases. Teams can go head to head against each other or you can read the cards to yourself and try to figure them out. The travel set has 240 puzzles. It comes in a plastic carrying case that is small and compact to fit in a tight space easily.
  • IQ Twist – This is a puzzle game that fits in a small box. It has pegs and puzzle pieces and a small brochure that provides 100 different puzzles. By using the diagrams in the brochure that comes in the game you set the pegs into the holes on the board and then fit your puzzle pieces into the rectangle. This is a great brain game for those that love a challenge because each figuration has only one solution, (which is also provided in the brochure). If you or your brainiacs need something to keep your mind off of long boring stretches of road, this game is it! This game has small parts that are not for children 3 or under.

Don’t these games look like a TON of FUN!? I love how many of these games give such a variety of styles, also how many of them are great for all ages, and educational to boot!

Always keep your eyes and ears open to being a blessing to your missionaries! Something fun like this might be just what they need to brighten their spirits and keep them happy while traveling so that they can meet their goals of raising their support for the mission field or report to their churches about their mission work.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions for great games while traveling please feel free to e-mail me or make a comment on our Ministry Mamas Facebook page! I may use your suggestions in a future post.

Gift Idea List for Traveling Missionaries

Want to know the best gifts for missionary families on the road traveling from church to church on deputation? Lots of ladies in churches around the country and even missionary wives have helped compile this list for families, men, women, babies, children, their car, and their ministry.

Gift Ideas for Traveling Missionaries (Luggage)

Missions Conferences and other special services allow us the opportunity to be able to be a blessing to many other families. Missionary couples and families are on the road for weeks and months at a time and sometimes that is a challenge. All the big items we would like to give a family might not fit into their vehicle, that is why we have compiled this list of gift ideas, to help you know that the bigger an item is, in this case, is not always better.

One great way to find out what a missionary and their family need is ASK! Many churches send the family an e-mail prior to their arrival to their church to find out exactly what they really need. You could create an easy copy and paste form you can put into your e-mails to send. Remember if you do this well in advance, it will give the busy missionary time to reply and time for you to buy well before they arrive.

Now, for the gift list:

Gifts only a Missionary Could Love…

  1. Gift cards, gift cards, gift cards! – They’re packed full of money and able to fit anywhere! (For restaurants both fast food and sit down, gas, Wal-mart, Target, other department stores the entire family can shop in, shoe stores,  Visa gift cards, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Jiffy Lube)
  2. Cash, Cash, and more cash! Okay, so let’s be practical, traveling and families cost money, and we do not always know the needs that need to be met, so this can be a BIG blessing.
  3. Healthy Snacks* – Fresh fruit & granola bars were on the top of the list of healthy snacks missionaries love
  4. Water bottles and drinks in easy-open containers
  5. Microwave foods that do not need refrigeration.*
  6. Hand Sanitizer
  7. Instant Spot Remover Pens or Shout wipes
  8. Kleenex
  9. Christian Music CD’s**
  10. Family Friendly DVD’s**
  11. Postage Stamps
  12. Quarters for the laundromat
  13. Maps, coupons, and tracts to your church so they can travel around your town without getting lost and invite folks to your church.
  14. Gum and Mints
  15. A digital camera, SD cards, or memory sticks
  16. USB travel charger that can charge cameras and other electronic devices
  17. Car Organizer for the back of a seat
  18. Sunscreen
  19. Package these lovely gifts into easy to pack packages, such as, large Rubbermaid containers that can be recycled for other purposes during their travels
  20. The gift of TIME. Each family needs time to rest in their hotel, to do their homeschooling, to do their personal shopping, and wash their laundry. Please be mindful that even if they are there for your services that they need time to relax, study, and shake themselves loose of car time.

For Men

  1. Flashlights
  2. Shine his shoes or buy him new shoes
  3. Buy him a new suit
  4. Bible Software
  5. Take him for a haircut
  6. E-books or gift cards for e-books
  7. Suitcase
  8. Sermon CD’s or audio books**
  9. Free dry-cleaning at a business you trust
  10. A laptop or other needed computer equipment

For Babies

  1. Linkadoos or Bright Starts links- These are little links that can attach around the strap of a car seat or on the back of a head rest, add toys to the links, and a child can play without dropping the toy all the way to the floor
  2. Diapers, wipes, and disposable diaper trash bags
  3. Snack Traps or Catchers and bowls that hold snacks inside without making a mess
  4. A sippy cup
  5. Travel toys
  6. A small backpack like a Skip Hop Zoo backpack
  7. Window shade
  8. Board books
  9. Baby Mirror
  10. My Little Seat Infant seats Travel High Chair for 6+ months
  11. Melissa & Doug chunky puzzles
  12. Bibs
  13. Baby neck pillow
  14. Disposable stick-on placemats
  15. Squeezable infant baby food or infant bowls and spoons

For Kids

  1. Small hand-held games
  2. Bubbles or bubble bath
  3. Little notebooks and pens
  4. A Bible Cover to protect their Bible because it is in and out of the car all the time.
  5. Crayola Color Wonders Marker sets
  6. Make a notebook full of scavenger hunts and road games printed off the internet. Make an extra notebook so parents can play in the front seat too.
  7. Dot-to-Dot and other fun activity books
  8. Flashlights and glow sticks for night travel
  9. Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald’s gift cards just for them*
  10. A family pass to the zoo or science museums. Many zoos and science museums accept these passes at multiple locations across the country. A little research can find out what type of pass is most accepted.
  11. Take their family to a local park or children’s museum to get them out of the car!
  12. Spending money
  13. Children’s magazines like Highlights, Zoo Books, Nature Friend Magazine
  14. Window Clings
  15. Brain Quest games come in different grade levels as well as a family vacation set
  16. Magnetic or flannel book sets
  17. Children’s Bible songs, books with an audio CD, or other type of audio book**
  18. A t-shirt or hat with your city, state, or local sports team
  19. Stickers
  20. I Spy books or Where’s Waldo books

For Women

  1. Take her to the salon for a haircut, manicure or pedicure.
  2. Give her specified money or gift cards just for her. No spending for husband or children allowed!
  3. Do you have a lady in your church that could give them a makeover? Think Mary Kay representatives or some one with a genuine talent for making ladies look beautiful that might provide them with samples or products they can use. This would be a gift, not a sales opportunity.
  4. A shopping trip to buy a new outfit or pair of shoes
  5. Bath & Body Works products and other nice lotions and body products
  6. Facial cleansing wipes
  7. E-books or gift cards for e-books
  8. A single rose bud or other flower in their hotel room, bedroom, to take with them on their drive
  9. A cute travel cup
  10. Free babysitting for a few hours by a trusted church member so she can go shopping, out on a date, or take a nap

For the Car

  1. Check the car for needed repairs and maintenance, including tires
  2. Fill it with gas when they get into town or before they leave
  3. Give it a bath! Take it out for a car wash.
  4. A Garmin or GPS system that will give them directions
  5. The Next Exit Book ($15 at Cracker Barrel) tells all the exits in the U.S., what restaurants, hotels, etc. that are at each exit

For Their Ministry

  1. Read their missions letter or e-mails to find out the needs they have for their particular ministry and find a way to give the items or money needed.
  2. Be faithful to pray for them, each missionary family desires that people truly pray that God will lead, guide, and protect them while they are traveling and while they are serving Him.
  3. Some ministries need Sunday School curriculum, speakers for sound systems, pews or chairs for their new building, hymnals. Look around your building and in your storage rooms to see if there is something of quality that you can give. Offer to ship these large items and take the burden of the cost from their shoulders. They may not be able to travel with these type of items or it may be a burden to their travels to pay for shipping.
  4. Make a new copy of their ministry presentation if they have an old or scratched DVD. This can help them as they present to other churches without any glitches. Make sure that the copy you give them works entirely and you give both copies to them.
  5. Provide listening ears! Listen to their stories, their blessings, and their struggles. Encourage them when they need your advice or feedback.
  6. Pray with them. Pray with them as they are with you and share their needs and burdens. Then, pray with them before they leave town. A heart that truly listens to another will take the burdens off of the other person and take them to the Lord in prayer. To go to Him with their needs is truly a special gift.

*Find out about allergies and food preferences ahead of time if you can. To buy a bunch of snacks the family is allergic to will be a waste of money and go against your good efforts of being a blessing. Remember the season, chocolate in the car during the summer doesn’t work out very well.

**And with books, movies or music, when in doubt, ask!

While these lists are not exhaustive, these are tried and proven gifts that have pleased many missionary families. We always wish to be a blessing and not a burden to those traveling on deputation. Their duty to report to the churches is a greater duty because it involves living their daily life inside a vehicle.

Caring for missionaries is a hospitable task that should be a joy to you because they are serving the Lord in areas where you cannot go yourself to preach and teach the gospel. Give and give abundantly to meet their needs! And someday, you may be in their shoes.

I owe a special thanks to the many other ladies that have contributed their ideas and time so that we could compile such a great list. Thank you!

Flat Stanley Project

Who knew that reading a little book from the library would turn into such a family craze! Flat Stanley is a cute little book written by Jeff Brown back in 1964, 2 years after my mom was born. They have updated the book covers through the years but the story is still relevant to children today. They have more books in the series but this one has been my personal favorite.

I know this really has little to do with ministry but it has been such a fun project that it has boosted our family camaraderie in so many ways. I have sent Flat Stanley to over 20 people for our original project for our Homeschool Literature Fair. They were supposed to take pictures of Flat Stanley at a local attraction or go with them and do something that they do every day. We also sent out a little Flat Pat for our daughter who is 3, we are calling her Flat Stanley’s little sister. Together they have reached 17 different states and done some pretty amazing things!

Lubbock, TX

We have looked forward to seeing the photos that people send in the mail, e-mail, and post on Facebook. My grandmother even took her Flat Pat to several states and to her Senior Center and church with her. It was pretty fun seeing my old pastor and college professor holding Flat Pat. It has united me with old friends and brought a new bond between us again. So many people have enjoyed the project so much that they have thanked ME for allowing them to come for a visit. The kids when they receive the photos look at them and ask questions. It has been educational in every way.

Pensacola, FL

My Christian friend from high school even took him to Disneyland. My college roommate took him on a Road Trip from Tennessee to Georgia to Florida to Alabama to Arkansas! Our friends that moved away showed us around cold and snowy Michigan and Minnesota. My 4th grade teacher even allowed him to come to her class and help with their reading class and talked some of the girls from my high school to take him by the Alamo during a trip they took to San Antonio, Texas.

At Alamo

Another family has taken him on deputation with them as they travel to different states. It has given their kids a project and kept our children in touch with them. I would actually suggest doing a fun type of thing like this if you were going on deputation. It might give you a purpose and connection to those following you on your journey and a little purpose for taking all of those pictures on the side of the road.

Oklahoma Sign

Some people I knew back when I served as a church secretary that brought their youth group to our church for a youth conference even took our Flat Stanley to a wildlife park in Australia where they now work as missionaries. God has really been so good to give us small blessings and connections. I even wish we could take an idea similar to this and send it out to our missionaries, by mail or by scanning the character and e-mailing it, and having them send photos in to Sunday School classes. It could create some exciting news and things for children to look forward to when going to Sunday School.

Australian Kangaroo

For our family, we have even chosen to extend the project to see if we can get a Flat Stanley or Flat Pat to all 50 United States and beyond! I highly recommend reading the book, it’s an easy day or two reader for a first grader. There are other projects you can do with the books, there is a lap book study that can be found on the internet, here.

If you are interested in following along on our Flat Stanley project follow us on our Flat Stanley 50 page on Facebook! We still have a multitude of states to add to our list, so if you’re feeling fun and adventurous then please contact us on that page. We also would love to go beyond America for all of you missionaries out there! This can be a great project for you and your children.

We are working on a separate family project going around our town and city and visiting places we have never been before with our Flat Stanley so that we can send them back to the children that have sent us pictures. It is helping us see new places we have never been, since we are still relatively new to the area, having been here 3 1/2 years.

God is so good to let us be in contact with our friends from the past and giving us some anticipation for the future. It’s the little things like a flat piece of paper with a little kid’s drawing on it that can bring a smile to your face! Thank you Lord for the little blessings!