10 outdoor chores that teach school-age kids responsibility

While it is important for kids to be kids, it is also vital for children to have some chores to do around the house. Chores for kids certainly help out parents, but completing them teaches children a sense of responsibility. Doing chores also teaches children important life skills. You may not want to think about it now, but eventually those tweens and teens will be heading off to college, and they will need to know how to look after themselves as well as their dorm room or apartment. Starting children off with chores at a young age teaches teamwork and helps to instill a strong work ethic while introducing kids to time management.

Tying chores to earning a weekly allowance has its bonuses, as well. Earning an allowance is a teaching tool in itself, introducing children to the relationship between work and pay. Having an allowance also showcases another vital life skill — the difference between want and need. When children are spending their own hard-earned allowance, they learn to stop and think before making a purchase.

Outdoor chores are a great way to get children in the habit of doing chores. Unlike inside chores like making a bed or cleaning, even younger children can pitch in with outside chores. Completing outside chores gets kids outdoors, into the fresh air, and doing physical activities, which is a win-win on all fronts.

Safe chores for kids

When sending kids outside to do chores, just remember safety first. Lots of outdoor tools like leaf blowers and mowers are cool, but not necessarily something kids, even teens, should have their hands on until they’re ready. Here are 10 outdoor chores for kids that are safe, easy to do, and a big help to you:

Cleaning up before a mow

A simple backyard chore is to have kids put away any toys on the lawn before it is mowed. Picking up sticks or big rocks and placing them in a designated bin also helps to get the lawn ready for the mower. This is a chore that even preschoolers can lend a hand.

Sweeping

Whether it is after the lawn is mowed or cleaning dirt off the front porch, sweeping is an accessible chore that children of all ages will be able to do. Get a kid-sized broom for little ones, and they will enjoy it more.

Weeding

This easy-to-do chore can be a pain in the back for adults but not too difficult for kids. Just make sure to point out beforehand what is okay to pull and what is not.

young girls watering plants outside
Anna Kraynova/Shutterstock

Planting flowers or seeds

Gardening is a fun chore to do with kids of all ages. Kids can help clean out the flower or vegetable garden bed, then dig holes for plants or seeds. With assistance, even younger children can help put plants, seeds, or bulbs into the ground.

Watering

Once a flower or vegetable garden is in the ground, the plants need to be watered. While adults may be too busy with work and other chores, having children use a watering can or the hose gives you a break and gets the plants watered.

boy raking leaves in the yard
RIchard A. McGuirk/Shutterstock

Raking

When fall rolls around and the leaves change colors, it signals the time for the annual fall raking ritual. Raking is usually all-hands-on-deck time for the entire family. Kids can most certainly help rake and bag leaves. Outfitting them with a child-sized rake adds a bit of fun into the yearly chore.

Washing cars

Cleaning the family car may be difficult for younger children, but it’s not for tweens and teens. Older kids are also looking forward to getting their learner’s permit down the road, so introducing them to chores regarding car maintenance is another much-needed life skill.

Cleaning the inside of the car

Sometimes, the family car can feel like a moving trash bin, which makes having the kiddos help tidying up the inside another life lesson. When kids are responsible for cleaning up the accumulating trash, they may learn actually getting the garbage in the designated bag saves them work later on.

Pool maintenance

If your family has a pool, a great outside chore is having children put away water toys at the end of the day. It is another low-stress chore that teaches responsibility. Kids can also help with skimming out bugs and leaves. Older teens can take on other pool-related chores like vacuuming. Since water is involved, unlike picking up sticks on the lawn, an adult should be close by for any outdoor chores involving kids and a pool.

Hosing down the porch or sidewalk

Using the hose to clean off the front porch, sidewalk, or driveway is trivial for moms and dads, but it’s super fun for kids. You are actually giving them permission to play with water.

Having children help out around the home, especially outside, teaches life skills, responsibility, teamwork, time management, and more. When kids earn an allowance through chores, they have spending money for toys, video games, and other things kids want. Earning an allowance also introduces children to the art of saving for things they really want and the basics of budgeting. All of these concepts are necessary life skills that build a strong foundation for when your children head off to college.

Editors' Recommendations