Making Chores Fun: 6 Responsibilities Kids Can Enjoy at a Young Age

doing chores

It's been a while since some of the Disney classics were dusted off in most homes (mainly because they're VHS not Blu-ray), but when it comes to getting kids to help out with chores, the songs "whistle while you work" and "spoonful of sugar" still hold some wisdom. If there is play, the work really does come more easily. And who doesn't want work to feel easy?

With kids, the earlier that responsibility is given, the easier it is to involve them in major responsibilities later. Here we're sharing some ideas on how to think about small tasks around your home that your child can "own" at an early age, but the most important thing is fun! If you're having fun, they're more likely to join in. 

From turning small tasks into a competition, to helping your child learn the responsibility of caring for another living thing (plant or animal), here are six ways you can help your child feel like he or she is part of keeping things running smoothly in your household.


With a busy family an all-too-common question is "where did I last see [insert item]?" Shoes, backpacks, that special must-go-everywhere toy—you name it. If you can't find it, you're running late (and all over the house)! 

We can be proactive and designate a place for things, but you, the parent, can't keep everything in its place alone. Have your child help with the organization process by giving them small tasks that feel like play to give things order and place. For example, see how many pairs of shoes you can find to fill this tub, count how many books you can fit on this shelf, organize items by color or size or give them ownership of a shelf or space in their room that they can put together anyway they like, as long as items of "like-ness" are grouped. 

This will not only give everything a place, but your child will be practicing pattern identification and other reasoning skills all while taking ownership of the organization of a place or space in your home. 

Dusting/Wiping Things Down

Go to the cleaning aisle with a child and they're sure to note the feather duster. There's something about it—does it looks like a toy, does it remind them of a boa in their dress-up trunk? Whatever it is, this is a great thing to capitalize on: Feather dusters are fun! The trick will be teaching them to use it as something other than a toy (so keep it away until it's cleaning time). 

When you're doing a cleaning session, involve them. Pull out the feather duster (or soft microfiber rag if you or your child prefer), and help them see how to achieve that satisfying shine atop a surface that looked otherwise clear.  

Helping in the Kitchen

The kitchen is filled with science and fun. Teaching your child to be cautious in the kitchen comes with learning responsibility while in there with you. There are a number of responsibilities they can help with that don't require handling sharp knives or hot surfaces. 

Have them wash the fruits and veggies for you to chop, and teach them how to use a salad spinner (always a hit!). Eventually they can take on the duty of making the salad for everyone to enjoy. 

Any mixing or stirring of substances that are not on direct heat is a fun way to involve your little one as well. Don't worry—if they don't mix it thoroughly you can whip it a bit more before finishing. 

Finally, setting out dishes and helping clean them up is a great way to give your child a role in keeping your family well-fed and nourished. Ways to add an element of fun include letting them choose a centerpiece for setup and getting a kid-friendly dish soap for the dishes.  


If it isn't already your own child, we've all seen the videos online of little ones reaching for a broom or pushing a vacuum around the house. They even sell kid-sized vacuums for imaginative play that actually work! 

The record here is that all you'll really need is to have some kid-sized brooms and vacuums around and plenty of opportunities to model how much fun you have when you're scooping up the messes on the floor. The more fun you make it look, the more likely they are to want to join in.

If you dare, you can make more of a game out of it by letting them scatter something easy to vacuum or sweep up over an area of the floor or rug (you may want to do this outside just to help teach the concept). Later, you can go on to simply issuing the responsibility in small doses—like vacuuming/sweeping a small part of the house as they get older. 

Feeding & Caring for the Pets

If your child has attached themselves to one of the furry, feathery or slimy friends in your home, there's really no better place to start when it comes to establishing and growing their sense of responsibility. 

Whether its feeding them at their regular hours, taking them out to play/walk, changing their water bowl or cleaning them or their containers, there is a vast array of need when it comes to pets and working for the immediate betterment of another living creature is a perfect natural motivator. Not to mention, spending more time with a beloved pet and having your child see them excited over something they're able to do for them is rewarding and fun. 

To be sure their new friend is well cared for as your transfer these responsibilities to your child without having to ask them time and again, make a chart! You can base it all on the well-being and happiness of the beloved family pet and provide a sticker for your child to place once they take care of a task.  

Garden Care/Yard Duties

If you don't have pets, the next closest thing to taking on the responsibility of caring for something living is to take care of a plant. Teach your child how often and how much to water the plants in your yard and in your home. Starting with a plant (from seed) of their own is a great way to get this started. 

Outdoors, the watering can/hose and raking/gathering of leaves really can feel like play. Make a game or a race out of it to add an element of fun, or just designate a gardening hat for each of you and go outside together to get some sun and enjoy time as a family.

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