DIY Children’s Chore Chart

Need a system to help your kids with chores? Make this DIY chore chart! The best part is you can customize this chart to use whatever you have laying around.

By Stacy Myers, Contributing Writer

I’m not sure about you, but I am very visually minded. You can TELL me how to do something and chances are I’ll flub it up every time. But, SHOW me how to do it, and I will probably flub it up–but with style.

When it comes to housework and the like, I do better when I have a list. Wouldn’t that likely hold true for my 3.5 year old? Tell a child to feed the dog and she probably won’t hold much excitement. BUT, tell a child to feed the dog and let her know she then gets to move her very special magnet to “Done?” Well, that becomes a totally new barrel of monkeys right there.

So, today I’m going to show you how I made the homemade chore chart that we use for our 3.5 year old. It uses things I had around the house with the exception of 1 or 2 things. And the best part is you can customize this chart to use whatever you have laying around. Bingo.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

First, you need something magnetic. I had this old tray from a yard sale. I had been hanging on to it…mainly because I’m a recovering pack-rat. It was rusty in a few spots, but I knew that wasn’t a big problem. I’ve seen trays like this at Dollar Tree, so you should be able to find something easily – even an old cookie sheet would work.

P.S. – Don’t assume something is magnetic…or else you might feel dumb later. Ahem.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

We (meaning my husband, Barry) painted the platter with some fancy spray paint. A few places didn’t take well because of the rust – so if you’re a perfectionist, you will want to prime your tray first. Then we (meaning my husband, Barry) drilled two holes in the top for hanging. I wanted to hang mine vertical, but horizontal would also work.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

Here is a picture of part of the materials. Pretend they are all there and that I wasn’t so lazy that I forgot to get everything together for one photo shoot. Magnets, poster paint pen (or Sharpie), Scrabble letters, ribbon, hot glue, and bottle caps…and some other stuff like jute, felt, etc.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

Our house has an antique look and feel, so I was going with that same theme for this board. I found these bottle caps at a local antique store and I snatched them up. I love bottle cap magnets…and since we don’t drink soda, this is the only way I can get them. Bonus score for vintage caps.

Do you have to use bottle caps? Nope. Just use what you have. Be creative. Don’t use chocolate though – the hot glue melts it. Ahem.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

I found that a quarter fit exactly down in my bottle lid. I wanted to put a liner inside the lids so that if I want to change her chores out later, I can easily do that by removing the felt liner and replacing it instead of getting all new bottle caps. I’m a stinkin’ genius.

I traced the quarter on red felt and cut out the little circles. Thick paper will also work if you don’t have felt. Then I hot glued the felt circles inside the bottle caps. And I burned myself. Like four times. Warning: Hot glue is HOT.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

I hot glued magnets on the back of the bottle caps. Where did I get my magnets? Well, I have this habit of saving magnets I get in the mail. Who cares if it says Bubba DoWop’s Used Car and Refrigerator Repair? I can use that puppy – and I did, cutting it to size.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

I’m the Queen of Crooked, so I had to use a ruler to draw my line down the center of the tray. You need to be able to have two sections on your chart: one for “To Do” and one for “Done.” I used a Sharpie paint pen, but a regular Sharpie would work just fine.

Need a system to help your kids with chores? Make this DIY chore chart! The best part is you can customize this chart to use whatever you have laying around.

Our Annie cannot read yet…well except for “Annie” and “Chick-Fil-A.” So, I decided to use pictures for her chores. We printed out little pictures to glue inside her bottle caps. If your child can read, you can just write the words. Or if you’re artistic, you can draw it yourself. Everything I draw looks like a stick tree…no matter if I am trying to draw a dog.

Need a system to help your kids with chores? Make this DIY chore chart! The best part is you can customize this chart to use whatever you have laying around.

At the top of the tray I put Annie’s name, then below I added “To Do” and “Done.” I used Scrabble letters because I have a fascination with them, but you could paint the words if you like. Or use vinyl letters if you have a Silhouette…and if you have one, don’t tell me or I might covet it.

Where can you find Scrabble letters? I always snatch up Scrabble games at yard sales and thrift stores. I don’t care if all the letters are there because I use them for projects. You can also find Scrabble letters on eBay and on Save On Crafts.

I used jute to tie my cord at the top for hanging. Ribbon would work great too – but I have a jute fetish. So….the moral of the story is to make me happy you can bring me Scrabble tiles, jute, and buy me a Silhouette. Amen.

DIY Children's Chore Chart

It didn’t quite look Stacy enough to me, so I had to add a burlap bow…yes, another fetish. I used a bow tutorial from Decorating Ideas Made Easy. I put a vintage button in the center of the bow that happened to be out of my great-grandmother’s button stash. I wish I had a button stash.

Need a system to help your kids with chores? Make this DIY chore chart! The best part is you can customize this chart to use whatever you have laying around.

And there you have it! Easy peasy…and quite cute, if I have to toot my own horn.

At 3.5 years old, Annie’s chores are:

  • feed the dog
  • pick up your toys before bed
  • put dirty dishes in sink
  • use the bathroom and brush your teeth
  • make your bed
  • put dirty clothes in the laundry hamper
  • set the table

That’s it…when she’s older, I will add more. But right now I’m happy she does these. And you’d be surprised how much these 7 chores help me out.

If you need some help deciding what are age-appropriate chores, you will find that Smockity Frocks is a great resource. Here are a few great posts:

4 Moms Discuss Chores

Chores for Little Children

Scheduling Chores

One more thing. If you hate crafts and the idea of hot glue makes you want to cuss and lose your religion, then maybe an online chore chart system would be better for you…because I surely don’t want THAT hanging over my head. The Simple Homemaker has a great post on a FREE online chore chart system.

So, do your children do chores?

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  1. Love, love this!! The combo of the pretty tray and visuals for your daughter are great! I’m pinning this and using it as soon as I train our sweet 2.5 year old to do more than a couple of things. We currently do clean-up time together and that’s working well for now.
    P.S., Glad precious Annie has her reading priorities in line ;). We miss Chick-fil-a!

    1. We didn’t feel like Annie was ready until recently – she was too scattered…but she started helping me more often and that’s when we realized she was ready. Thanks for pinning! 🙂

  2. We didn’t feel like Annie was ready until recently – she was too scattered…but she started helping me more often and that’s when we realized she was ready. Thanks for pinning! 🙂

  3. I was wandering through the craft aisles at Wal-mart, not spending any money, because that’s what I do, looking for inspiration for a whole-family, get-it-done-now, am-I-the-only-one-who-remembers-that-dogs-need-to-eat, what-will-happen-to-this-place-when-aliens-abduct-your-mama chore chart. I was leaning heavily toward clothes pins and foam door hangers, but I don’t like foam door hangers, and you could hardly fit the 800 clothes pins I would need onto one of those babies. So…here you are, magnets and all! My kids LOVE magnets…and you! Plus the aforementioned kids just went sledding and “sand-boarding” with my only remaining cookie sheet in White Sands, New Mexico, so I now even have a useless, creatively shaped cookie sheet begging for a second life. You’re brilliant…which I may have mentioned a time or two. Thanks, Girl! 🙂

    1. Wait, what? Sand-boarding on a cookie sheet? LOL Oh mercy. Sock some spray paint on that puppy! And by puppy, I mean the cookie sheet. Do not spray paint a puppy.

    2. More laughs for me this morning! I’m gonna have to apologize for laughing at your pain aren’t I? “800 clothes pins” “snort” Thanks!

  4. Loved your post and I think this would even be fun for older kids who have trouble”remembering” some chores! Also, I see that you, too, are a mmaaee with the use of what we call”the Royal We…”which means you say “we” when you really mean “my husband” or “the kids,” For example “WE need to change the oil in the car!” I’m happy to see that you, too, are enjoying use of this royal phrase!

  5. What a great idea! I love it… except for one thing………
    I have 11 chidren! 😛
    Not like the 11-20 year old crowd will want a magnetic chore chart… but after that who knows. 🙂
    I wish I had of had this back when I started having kids. I’m not crafty or too creative but this is totally easy (except the hot glue part. I feel your pain Stacy!).

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. This is too cute! I don’t have extra scrabble tiles laying around but I really love this idea! Shelby has almost the exact same chores. But she also opens drapes. She can’t feed our dog because he eats raw chicken. So clearly I don’t let my 3 1/2 year old handle raw chicken! Any ideas for alternatives to scrabble letters? Maybe I will order them. Thanks Stacy!!

    1. You could stencil? I am terrible at stenciling…I need Scrabble letters. LOL You could order some and then use the rest to decorate like LeighAnn does!

  7. Too cute! I saw similar chore charts for sale at an Etsy site, but with 6 children the cost was way too much. I knew there had to be a way to make them-thanks for showing me how!

    1. I try to make my own when I can…sometimes though, I buy it on Etsy because I don’t have the time to make things. I love Etsy. Great – now I feel like I need to go look on Etsy. Look what you’ve done.

  8. I saw something of yours last night and when I went to your site I promptly signed up for your posts. This is the first one I’ve read and I just wanted to say thank you for making me laugh this morning! I will be sure to remember that chocolate doesn’t go well with a hot glue gun. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  9. Yes, my two do chores daily. People think of me as a “craft”y type person but I am not really, lol! So I just print a monthly calendar for each child and when they do their major daily chores they get a sticker. 🙂 Works for us.

  10. Thanks for sharing this neat idea. This is way cheaper than the kind you can buy! And I like the fact you can customize it however you want. You’re a genius.

  11. This is great!

    I should post a picture of the chore “chart” I made this week…. Imagine a sheet of white paper… with 4 names lists (in different colors because I was being “fancy”) and a list of chores written, also in color, beside each name. Crafty, I am not!

    My 7 yo son is in charge of vacuuming and feeding the cows, 6 yo daughter does the mud room and dusting, the 4 yo helps with the cows and empties the dishwasher, and the 2 yo tidies the baby’s toys. They are all responsible for cleaning their own toys/rooms, making beds, putting clean and dirty laundry away.

  12. This may just work for me at school with the pre-schoolers. They tend for some reason to forget to wash hands and if they’ve eaten lunch in the cafeteria or not. Sometimes a little squirmy. But I think this will be a good idea! Thanks!

    1. That’s almost funny – because I have a hard time getting Annie to NOT wash her hands. LOL She’s a hand washing addict…although it’s more like “playing in the water with soap” than washing her hands. 😉 Good luck!

  13. Perfect! I have been searching for a cute homemade chart just like this and have yet to find it until today! Thanks for the inspired idea. I was just going to use boring old poster board… My 3.5 yr old will be excited to move his magnets around 🙂

    1. Poster board intimidates me. You have to get stuff straight on there…and I am the queen of crooked. If it’s crooked on a poster board, it’s TOTALLY obvious. Scary stuff man. Scary stuff.

  14. Oh my word!?!?!?!!!! This is GREAT!!! And you gals are cracking me up! Can we all go grab some coffee (decaf for me please!)?!! I was just thinking my ‘fancy’ chore chart was needing a face lift but wondering how to do with 4 sweet girls!? This may just be the answer… with a few tweaks to include my “800 clothespins” Hahahahahaha 😉 Thank you again Stacy for such inspiration!

    1. When Christy and I get together, we’re a barrel of laughs. 😉 I hope your chart turns out GREAT!

  15. I love this! I personally am an empty nester but I have a friend who is a homeschooling Mom to 4 great children. I think I will invite her over for a craft day and help her make one of these…or 4!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  16. This is such a fabulous chore chart! I love how you can hang it anywhere! Thank you for showing all the steps in how you made it!

  17. Absolutely adorable, and I rather enjoyed your commentary as well. Well done; can’t wait to make my own version for a boy aged 2.5….. trains anyone?

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