Family life

10 outdoor chores kids can help with

Kids love doing “adult” jobs, and these ten tasks are sure to make them feel helpful while you’re busy doing the real work.

Encouraging kids to help with outdoor chores probably won’t lighten your actual workload, but it’ll give them a sense of accomplishment and pride—and keep them occupied. Here are some ideas.

1. Water flowers

Set your hose nozzle to a gentle spray or mist if you’re concerned about damage to delicate petals.

2. Hose down the wagon

Kids can go wild spraying any dusty or muddy backyard items, from the wagon to outdoor toys to the play structure. (But note: A toddler with a hose will drench everything—including you. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

3. Tidy the garden

Ask them remove any fallen leaves or dead branches they find around.

4. Pull dandelions

They’re so pretty (and edible!), but if you don’t want them dotting your lawn, send the kids on a mission to pull them out.

5. Rake leaves

Will they do a thorough job? Probably not. Best-case scenario: They make a dent in a big job.

6. Sweep

Kids can help tidy up dirty decks and backyard pavers by sweeping dirt and pine needles away.

7. Pick ripe produce

Show your little ones what a ripe tomato looks like and how to pull it off the vine. (Accept that they’ll probably pull some not-quite-ready ones, too.)

8. Wash windows

Kids love spraying and wiping windows, if you have any that are within reach.

9. Pick up pine cones

Kids can’t resist a pine cone hunt, especially if they get to use a garden grabber. Keep the pine cones on hand to use as part of a rainy-day craft.

10. Paint the fence

Give your toddler a paint brush and a bucket of water and have them “paint” wooden fencing. (OK, this one isn’t a real job—but your toddler doesn’t need to know that.)