191 Age-Appropriate Chores For Kids On Homesteads

191 Age-Appropriate Chores For Kids On Homesteads

I homeschooled all three of my kids from Grade 0 to Grade 12. Along with giving them a formal education, I gave them a valuable School of Life education.

kids chores on homestead collage

I taught them about life by giving them age-appropriate chores that taught them everything from the cycle of life to conservation, to how to use their newly-acquired math skills in the real world (by the way, counting sheep can take a while if you need a peaceful moment) and I taught them about good animal husbandry and growing their own food, as well as what they are not allowed to do.

If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I know my kids will be able to provide and care for themselves and their families.

It is very important for kids to have chores. They need to learn a sense of responsibility and ownership for tasks and roles and they need to be held accountable for these responsibilities.

Kids are sponges, but they learn mostly by watching your every move. Therefore, be careful about how you do a chore because your child will do the chore in the same way.

Any dangerous shortcuts could become a dangerous norm that your child does not process as dangerous.

Giving your child a chore, you should always assign them the role of observer for a while before they become assistant, then do the chore under supervision, and only when you are confident that they can cope alone, and they display a desire to be independent with the chore, should you let them do the chore alone.

As homesteaders, we sometimes think chores + kids = outside on the land growing, milking, and cleaning up poop.

While these are all chores that have to be done, they are not the only way we can instill in our children a sense of appreciation for all that they have and a sense of purpose in life.

Normal household chores are also a part of life on a homestead. The earlier you start to teach your child responsibility the more likely you are to raise a balanced, respectful, valued, self-respecting child.

But when is it appropriate to raise the stakes on the chores your child can do? What is appropriate and safe for each age group?

I will break it down for you by age group and tell you some of the things I implemented with my kids to keep them interested in homesteading.

little girl with basket
little girl with basket

Ages 2 – 3

Kids aged 2 – 3 are bundles of energy. They run, they jump, they bump into things, and they are not calm! At this age, they have the attention span of a goldfish (i.e. 3 seconds).

They love to be with you at all times – and they should be with you at all times. At this age, accidents happen in the blink of an eye, which is why supervision is of the utmost importance.

They also love to imitate your behavior. There are many fun chores your 2 to 3-year-old can do with you. You should always keep things fun at this age, for your own sanity – do not expect too much from your toddler.

  • Help pick up toys and put them in their toy box – even if it is just a game of ‘pass me that…’; at this age, everything is a game, keep it fun so that your kids will enjoy the interaction
  • Put dirty laundry in the clothing hamper as soon as it is taken off
  • Plant seeds in seed trays – you will have to help getting the compost in the seed trays, your child can stick their finger into the compost to make the hole for the seed and drop the seed in, then close the hole
  • Harvest fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, berries – anything that is easy to pick
  • Look for eggs – they will want to bring the eggs to you, but it is better to have them do the hunting part so that you still have some eggs to eat (if you see an egg, play warmer, warmer, hot to guide them to discovering the egg)
  • Feed chickens forage food – they can throw corn and table scraps on the ground for the chickens to eat

Ages 3 – 4

Children between the ages of 3 – 4 are becoming more aware of the world around them. They love to be outdoors, and they really observe your every move.

They participate more attentively and can focus on a task better and for longer. Talk about everything. You will be amazed at how much their brains can retain.

Their hand-eye coordination is improving, so more focused tasks are getting easier for them to do.

They still need constant supervision, but they love to do things with you.

  • Observe when you work with animals
  • Help fill feeders – kids love to scoop anything they can at this age, so there will be some mess; place a tarp on the ground to catch any feed that spills so that you can easily clean up the spills without wasting the food
  • Fill up water bowls (outside)
  • Observe when you work with animals – always talk to your children about what you are doing (I am a mom so I know how exhausting this can be, but they are sponges and they take in every word you say and store it for later development); talk about animals, hygiene, what each veggie is good for, why you are doing something in a specific way, etc.
  • Help make beds
  • Take their dirty plate and cup to the kitchen – start young, it is not as easy to break bad habits in the teens
  • Help make a salad, jelly, cake, cookies – anything that does not involve using the stove or oven
  • Help gather eggs – be patient and don’t immediately stop them if they are breaking too many eggs, you can easily break your child’s self-confidence by saying or implying that they are not ready for such a task because they are breaking something in their efforts
  • Help tidy beds in the vegetable garden – they can pull up dead lettuce and set it aside for your worm farm, anything easy to do is fine
  • Help harvest vegetables – again, nothing major
  • Observe milking a goat
  • Plant seedlings in the garden
  • Pick up and sort toys into different boxes – this is important to teach that each item has a specific place it must be stored so that they learn organizational skills
  • Water plants
help care for baby animals

Ages 4 – 5

4 to 5-year-old children are becoming more cognitive. They are better able to discern emotions and cause and effect situations. Everything is fascinating to them.

They are very active with better coordination and love climbing and doing harder tasks.

They love helping out in the kitchen. Under supervision, you can help them do more labor-intensive work around the house.

  • Help cut cookies – supervise while they use cookie cutters, do not give them a sharp knife to use
  • Help ice a cake – they will not be the Cake Boss in a day, but they will have so much fun helping you do this, they can add sprinkles, cherries, mix colors, spread frosting, etc.
  • Help clean their own rooms – give them a rag or duster to wipe windowsills and clean light switches, and pick up after themselves
  • Help open up the chicken coop in the morning
  • Collect eggs alone
  • Help with small tasks in the garden like pulling up weeds
  • Report back if any of the chickens do not look well
  • Feed composting worm farms
  • Help bottle-feed baby animals
  • Help feed pets
  • Fill the pet’s water bowls
  • Sweep or mop the kitchen
  • Water plants
  • Help brush animals
  • Observe and learn about milking a goat
  • Fill hay nets
  • Wash outdoor toys
  • Help pick fruit from low branches – let them climb strong, low branches under supervision to retrieve their snack
young children riding a mini donkey
young children riding a mini donkey

Ages 5 – 6

By the age of five, my kids thought they knew it all. I was happy to let them believe they did and provided ‘advice’ of quicker, healthier, more effective ways to do the job.

Give your kids some space to figure things out on their own. They have been watching you every waking moment for the past five years.

The chances are they know exactly what you expect of them when you give them a chore.

  • Bring in firewood – teach them spider and snake safety if this is a problem in your area
  • Under supervision, stir a pot on the stove
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Help mix ingredients to make bread
  • Sort laundry into lights and darks
  • Help load the washing machine
  • Wipe down counters
  • Make their own beds
  • Have their own vegetable garden with easy-to-grow vegetables like radishes or pumpkin
  • Dig up root veggies like potatoes
  • Help feed goats
  • Under supervision, milk a goat
  • Help clean empty stalls
  • Help clean the chicken run
  • Help feed horses
  • Pick fruit – if they are climbing, stay close by in case they go too high or near dangerous branches
  • Wash fruit and vegetables

Ages 6 – 7

If you have been giving your child chores since an early age, by six you will find your child is quite responsible and still eager to help.

Enjoy this because very soon your child will start to gripe and groan about chores.

If you have not been giving your child chores since an early age, good luck, rather late than never.

  • Clean their own room
  • Make their own bed
  • Sweep before mopping
  • Mop floors
  • Gather laundry
  • Gather dishes
  • Sort laundry
  • Bottle feed baby animals
  • Load and run the dishwasher
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load and run the washer
  • Help hang laundry
  • Help fold laundry
  • Help in the garden
  • Weed beds
  • Rake leaves
  • Empty trash cans
  • Clean up after pets
  • Feed animals
  • Tend to their own veggie garden
  • Help feed pigs
  • Bottle Feed a Lamb
bottle feed a lamb

Ages 7 – 8

From age 7 onwards, your children’s education becomes more serious. They will be learning more complicated subjects at school. Their school day will feel infinitely longer to them and they will be bringing home more homework every day.

It is important to recognize the pressure your child is under on a daily basis.

However, this does not mean that they should not have chores. But if you see your child is tired or upset, offer to lend a hand with their chores.

Don’t do the job yourself, just look busy while your child does his or her task. This is a great time to find out what is happening in your child’s life that has them exhausted or upset.

Doing chores can be very therapeutic. Teach them well, and they will find the rhythm of the actions and the interaction with the animals relaxes them.

  • Keep their desk – or wherever they do their homework – tidy
  • Do housework
  • Do yard work
  • Pick up dog poop
  • Feed and water animals
  • Milk a goat with supervision close by
  • Care for chickens
  • Expand their vegetable gardens
  • Clean up after goats
  • Put away their own clothes
  • Cut soft fruit and vegetables like beans, strawberries, and bananas
  • Vacuum
  • Do dishes by hand
  • Put away dishes
  • Bring cold drinks to mom and dad while they are working outside
  • Trim herbs
  • Groom animals
  • Observe and assist the vet during visits
  • Make hot drinks
  • Learn to forage for edible mushrooms
  • Dust the house
  • Collect pinecones for the fireplace
  • Backfilling around transplanted plants
  • Spread mulch or compost
deworming a sheep

Ages 8 – 9

Your eight-year-old is taking life more seriously. He or she is interested in how things work, what illnesses livestock can be afflicted with, and how to ‘doctor’ sick or injured livestock.

He or she will begin to learn what plants and vegetables grow in what season and whether they need full sun or full shade or something in between.

They will start to show an interest in training animals and even enter their prized pet into competitions.

  • Put away dishes
  • Bring cold drinks to mom and dad while they are working outside
  • Trim herbs
  • Grooming animals
  • Observe and assist the vet during visits
  • Make hot drinks
  • Learn to forage for edible mushrooms and identify poisonous mushrooms
  • Dusting the house
  • Collect pinecones for the fireplace
  • Backfilling around transplanted plants
  • Spread mulch or compost

Ages 9 – 10

As your child is getting older you can start to give them more in-depth responsibility for animals.

Their organizational skills should be fairly good by now and can extend to most parts of your homestead. Your hard work in teaching chores will start to really be felt now.

  • Sort and pack away groceries
  • Tidy kitchen cupboards
  • Clean out trash from in the car
  • Help wash the car
  • Clean up a room in the house – if your kids are bickering, give them each a room to clean; this will give them a constructive time-out well away from each other to calm down
  • Care for baby animals like chickens, quails, goats, and sheep
  • Help dad organize the garage or barn – peace for mom
  • Take out trash
  • Learn about hoof care and assist with this
  • Learn about oral hygiene and assist with this
opening mouth of a one year old calf
learn about oral hygiene on a one year old calf
  • Milk one goat unsupervised
  • Give the dogs a bath
  • Fold laundry
  • Tidy their own closet
  • Learn About Hoof Care
  • Care for Baby Goats

Ages 10 – 11

As your child grows, they can begin to get involved with the larger livestock on the farm.

At this age, they will be very interested in the birthing process. Involving them at this age will help instill a greater value for life.

  • Learn to cook simple meals like soup, spaghetti, macaroni, or even just ramen noodles
  • Assist and teach younger kids to do their chores
  • Assist in the birthing process by supplying clean water, towels, and whatever else you or your vet need when assisting an animal
  • Feed and water horses
  • Feed and water cows
  • Groom horses
  • Clean horses’ stalls
  • Place hay nets in stalls
  • Bed the horses at night
  • Let the horses out in the mornings
  • Observe during the milking of cows
  • Assist with milking of cows
  • Maintain flower beds
  • Trim edges of beds
  • Rake the yard
  • Deadheading flowers
  • Mash fruit for making jam
  • Stable Horses at Night
woman walking a horse to stable

Ages 11 – 12

By the age of eleven, children do not like chores. Do not back down, you will be doing your child a great disservice as they learn that their responsibilities are not that important.

Kids need to be held accountable in childhood so that they become accountable in adulthood.

Eleven-year-olds are more physically capable. While they still require supervision around large animals, there are many chores they can do with the larger animals.

  • Make more complicated dishes like chicken, lasagna, or casseroles
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Do housework
  • Feed and water animals
  • Assist with shopping – they can work on their math skill by helping you keep a rough tally of how much the groceries will cost as you shop
  • Make a list of grocery items needed – we have a monthly printout list that the kids checked and crossed out each item we had enough of to last a month
  • Feed larger livestock
  • Help with unloading and putting away feed and hay
  • Put gardening and farming tools away after use – you should not have to remind them or oversee this at this age
  • Use a hand hoe to prepare the garden for planting seeds
  • Help with maintenance chores like fixing fences
  • Observe and learn about hoof care
  • Help move livestock
  • Help shear sheep
  • Smoke bees when you are beekeeping
  • Lunge horses under supervision
  • Clean and maintain horse riding tack
  • Dehydrate fruit and meat
  • Make and pack their own lunch for school
  • Help build a fire in the fireplace
  • Help care for the babies of larger livestock
  • Help Care for Baby Animals
  • Clean and Maintain Tack
clean and maintain tack

Ages 12 – And Up

From twelve, you have a big plus: you have an individual capable of doing almost any chore you can think of, and you have a big minus: said slave will be unenthusiastic about doing any chore they are assigned.

  • Learn to cook with oil
  • Can food
  • Use the oven for cooking and baking
  • Dust spiderwebs from corners
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Care for animals
  • Help in the yard
  • Cut grass
  • Wash cars
  • Herd animals from one pasture to another
  • Lunge horses alone
  • Trim hooves
trim hooves on a goat
  • Treat injuries by cleaning and putting medicated cream on animals
  • Give livestock medication
  • Milk cows
  • Use the weed eater
  • Trim edges
  • Treat plants for infestations
  • Clean equipment like tractors
  • Clean up after animals
  • Iron laundry
  • Do housework
  • Mend fences
  • Unload and put away feed deliveries
  • Assist with beekeeping tasks
  • Make jam and marmalade
  • Go shopping alone for basics like bread, milk, jam, or small lists – monthly groceries will still be your job.
  • Build a fire in the fireplace
  • Trim Hooves
  • Learn About Illnesses, Treatment, and Prevention
  • Take Dogs for Walks
  • Lunge a Horse
  • Help Move Herds from Pasture To Pasture


Congratulations, you have raised a child capable of doing whatever chore you ask. Sadly, being able to do something and actually doing it, will be an uphill battle from here on!

Doing chores takes a big burden off of you as a parent. No one is supermom or super-dad. We all need help and kids can certainly do a lot more than we often give them credit for.

But chores are more than just a means to take the load off your shoulders.

By having our children do age-appropriate chores we are:

  • Teaching them to be accountable for the lives and health of those in their charge, will make them better parents, caregivers, and human beings
  • Teaching them to be accountable for themselves, will teach them that if they do not put away their own possessions they will suffer in the future when they need that one item they were supposed to put away
  • Teaching them that they need to work for what they want in life, will teach them to be accountable to their employers to keep their source of income
  • Teaching them to be self-sufficient, so that they can grow their own food to lead a healthier lifestyle
  • Teaching them to relax, slow down, and enjoy life

As an adult, those are the lessons you are responsible for teaching. You are raising a human being to be responsible for the welfare of him or herself, those around them, and the environment.

Build your child up every day by congratulating them when they do good, guiding them when they get something wrong, acknowledging their talents, and encouraging them to give their all.

Be realistic in what you ask your child to do. Children mature at different rates, and no child can be expected to learn academically, partake in sports, have a social life, and do every chore on this list every day.

Choose chores that are stimulating to your child’s mind and build self-worth. Do not overload your child. They feel stress just as much if not more than adults do.

The most important advice I can give (and I have raised three incredible human beings) is to always say please and thank you to your children!

Show them respect (please) and that you value their input (thank you)!

Whether you have a 100% able-bodied child, or one with special needs, let us know how you go about motivating your child to keep on task with his or her chores in the comments below.

kids chores on homestead pinterest

The post 191 Age-Appropriate Chores For Kids On Homesteads appeared first on The Homesteading Hippy.

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