Top 10 summer jobs for kids of all ages

This should be a positive experience for your child, not something they dread or view as a punishment.


Summer is fast approaching, and most parents are in the mad-dash scramble to organize their kids summer activities, camps and travel. But there is one crucial piece that is often missing from the younger kids' summer itinerary—a job.

When done right, a summer job can benefit even the youngest elementary school children. A "job" is a loose term at this age, and I'm not suggesting you send in an application to the local Applebee's on your 2nd graders' behalf. At this age, working refers merely to an extracurricular activity that provides a fun experience and earns a little money.

Why should young kids work?

While making money is usually the ultimate goal of a job, as a young child, it's not about the money—money is actually just an added bonus—but about the experience and lessons learned.

Having a job as a kid plants an essential seed by teaching them responsibility and the importance of a strong work ethic at a young age.

It also shows them the value of money. They may not have any problem spending your money, but they will have a whole new appreciation for the benefit of their own hard-earned money.

And while making money is not the primary goal, having money allows them to learn about basic money management in a positive and safe environment. They can use their money to practice budgeting, giving and saving. This knowledge and experience will provide them with a basic financial foundation that they can continue to build on as they get older.

One of the best parts about learning about finance while they're young? They can make mistakes and learn from them while there are no real consequences.

Equally as important as learning responsibility and money management, a summer job is an opportunity to introduce working in a positive light. Kids can see that that working not only provides money but can (and should) be fun, inspiring and important. As adults, we sometimes lose sight of that in the daily grind, but kids are starting with a blank canvas. If we can show them that they can make money from something they love, it will encourage them to pursue their passions as an adult.

What is a good first job for a kid?

Fun is the most important word! This should be a positive experience for your child, not something they dread or view as a punishment. Identify things they love to do and help them figure out how they could turn it into a "job."

Here are the top 10 summer jobs for your young child to earn some money, learn some crucial lessons and have fun.

1. Car wash

Have your child and some of their neighborhood friends set up a car wash in your driveway, or a safe spot near your house.

2. Lemonade/baked goods stand

This can be any type of seasonally appropriate treat: hot chocolate for winter, cookies (anytime!) or drinks and popsicles on warm days.

3. Sell food

Along the same lines, if your child loves to cook, they can sell jams, sandwiches, soups, etc. to friends and neighbors.

4. Yard work

Yard work is a great way for your child to spend a day outside and get some exercise. While a lawn mower is probably too much for your young child to handle, they can offer to help rake the neighbor's leaves, garden, or weed.

5. Dog-walking or pet-sitting

This can be a fun activity for a child who loves animals, however, it requires supervision from a parent when entering someone's home, especially with strange dogs. If you have a friend traveling who needs their cat fed or dog walked, plan to bring your child over and stay there with them while they work.

6. Housesitting

Again, an activity that should be supervised by a parent, but when a friend or neighbor is out of town, your child can offer to water plants and pick up mail.

7. Childcare or parent's helper

Babysitting is one of the first jobs many kids will have. At the elementary school age, they are too young to babysit alone, however, they can be a parent's helper. There are plenty of parents who are at home with kids, but need to get work done, do laundry, or (gasp!) have a moment to themselves. These parents may pay to have your child come over while they are home to help with their kids. This can involve playing, reading and some light supervision.

8. Party help

Anyone who has recently been to a kid's birthday party knows that it is chaos. Older kids can provide huge assistance by managing the activities and crafts, helping with the younger kids and giving out the birthday cake.

9. Sell a product

If your child's passion is making jewelry, they may love the idea of making and selling custom jewelry. Same thing with paintings, bookmarks, cross-stitch or any type of craft.

10. Entrepreneurial pursuits

Let them create their own business. Kids have an incredibly unique way of seeing the world and problem-solving. Ask them what kind of business they want to start, based on what they love to do. You never know, maybe you have the next tech giant or world-renowned chef on your hands!

Even if it's not something they will immediately make money from, always encourage them to find new ways to follow their passions: write a cookbook, create doll clothing, or start a band.

Not only will a summer job benefit your young child, but let's face it—it's a real win for us parents as well. We shell out hundreds (even thousands) for camps to occupy our kids during those long summer days. A summer job is not only a free activity, it may even be profitable!

Plus, you can feel good that your child is learning essential life lessons and skills while they are doing something they enjoy. eWin, win, win.

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As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

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Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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