DIY Kids | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

DIY Kids

Get kids involved in helping out around the house at an early age.

Get kids involved in helping out around the house at an early age.


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Kids like to do things for themselves. And ultimately, we as parents want them to learn to be independent, resourceful and self-reliant adults. One way to do this is to get kids involved at a young age in doing things for themselves and learning how to do things that benefit the whole family. Even young kids can contribute to chores and home improvement projects. Every kid is different, but chances are that your preschooler can help sort dirty laundry into lights and darks, or clean laundry into separate piles for each family member.

DIY Tips

• Make it fun. Why not jump into that leaf pile a few times before bagging it up or adding it to the compost pile? Why not sew some hot pink pillows for the living room couch?

• Make it a competition. Who can pick up and put away toys fastest? Who can beat their personal record?

• Make it a science experiment. What happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar in the toilet bowl? A volcano and a clean toilet!

• Make it a family affair. Doing chores and house projects with your kids makes it faster, more fun and less likely to induce whining.

• Make it gender neutral. All family members can help with all chores and projects. Dads can cook dinner, moms can change the oil, boys can change diapers and girls can unclog the 
bathroom drain.

Books for Kids

"The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores," by Stan and Jan Berenstain (HarperFestival, 2005, $3.99)

"Baby Brains and RoboMom," by Simon James (Candlewick, 2008, $15.99)

"Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes that Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way," by Sara E. Cotner and Kylie D'Alton (CreateSpace, 2012, $19.99)

DIY Family Projects

construct a bookshelf

plant and tend a vegetable garden

make a chalkboard wall

throw a yard sale

organize spice jars

train a dog

build a playhouse

raise backyard chickens

learn to bake bread

paint a bedroom (with no-VOC paint)

Books for Grownups

"Kids are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline," by Barbara Coloroso (William Morrow, 2002, $14.99)

"Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child," by Maja Pitamic (Barron's Educational Series, 2004, $18.99)

"Raising Children Who Think for Themselves," by Elisa Medhus (Atria Books, 2001, $20.95)

"Dare to Repair: A Do-It-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home," by Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet (William Morrow, 2002, $16.99)

Chores for Younger Kids


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sort laundry

sort groceries into cold and not cold

pour their own breakfast cereal and a little pitcher of milk

help move laundry between machines at the Laundromat

wipe up their own spills


find sock pairs

pull dirty sheets off bed

put away toys or other objects in bins labeled with pictures

hang wet towels on reachable hooks

wash and rinse non-sharp, non-fragile dishes

help pick items at the grocery store

put shoes, coats, and backpacks in designated areas

feed pet

take out and sort recycling

wash windows and mirrors

wipe the table

bring in the mail

clean the sink

help Mom or Dad with more complicated chores or home improvement projects

Chores for Older Kids

wash, dry, fold, deliver and put away laundry


mow the lawn

rake leaves

put clean sheets on bed

wash, dry, and put away any dishes

walk dog

wash cars

put WD-40 on a squeaky hinge

take out trash

take recycling and trash to the street


help care for younger siblings

wash tubs and toilets

plan and prepare meals

sew on buttons

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