Purposeful At-Home Activities for Kids (aka chores)

With recent school closures, I’ve seen a lot of moms (and dads) posting ideas on what they can do with their kids over these next few weeks as we bunker down and practice social distancing. I love all the free educational resources that are being made available as well as online museum tours, art lessons and schedules to help us temporary “homeschoolers”.

One of the things that I’ve done with my kids during extended breaks (and should probably implement on a more consistent basis) is a chore chart. We’ve been doing this for the past two years and it helps give more purpose and structure to our long days at home.

The chores include things like making their beds, cleaning up toys, doing dishes and laundry. I try to keep their ages in mind, and so for the little one (5 years old), helping with the dishes is helping put away the silverware while the older one (8 years old) loads the dishwasher. You can find a lot of charts that show age-appropriate chores for kids. Click here to find one with a lot of different ideas sorted by age groups.

In addition to the regular chores, I also included reading, doing homework and a “parent’s choice” option. Reading looks different for each of my kids because right now they are all at different stages in their reading development. My 5-year-old either looks at books on her own or I read to her, my 6-year-old reads to me while I help guide him with sounding out words, and my 8-year old reads independently. Since we don’t really have “homework” over the break, I have my kids either work on workbooks, activity books, or other worksheets that you can print off online to help with spelling, writing or math. The “parent’s choice” option is where mom or dad gets to choose something extra they need to complete. It might include helping prepare a meal, working on a special project for school, making cards for seniors in a nursing home, helping a sibling with one of their chores, or quiet time (this especially comes in handy when everyone needs time to just chill out and not be in each other’s faces 24/7).

Our kids must finish all of their chores before they are allowed any screen time and if they complete all their chores for the whole week, they receive an extra bonus. It can be a special treat, toy, or additional money. It’s basically just anything that would be an incentive for your child to get them to want to complete their whole chart.

I’ve thought about laminating the sheets so we can reuse them, but since my kids are still relatively young they enjoy choosing their own stickers to put in each spot once a chore is complete. I got a booklet of over 1000 stickers for pretty cheap on Amazon, so for now, I just print out a new sheet once the week is complete.

In addition to the chore chart, this year we also added a piggy bank that is separated into three different slots: saving, spending and giving. It was suggested by our children’s ministry leader at church to help encourage tithing. I got it from Target’s Dollar Spot and it’s also a great way to teach your kids about budgeting and how to divide up their money into different categories. I tried to make it into a math lesson about percentages, but that didn’t go over too well. The important thing was to show them how to budget their money into saving, spending and giving.

If you’d like to use this chore chart for your family, you can download it for free here.

For those of you who are on lockdown, just remember to be flexible. Give yourself (and your kids) a little grace if you get off track. This is a trying time for everyone. Hug your kids. Reassure them that everything will be okay. Remind yourself that everything is in God’s hands. Oh…and wash your hands!!!

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