If you've ever wondered, "What chores can toddlers do?" I can reassure you that toddlers are amazing at chores. And there are many chores that they can do.
When I think of my favorite time helping children learn chores, it's in the toddler years. I have worked with toddlers for years as a two-year-old teacher, and I have three of my own children who have learned to do chores as toddlers.
Anytime she sees me or her siblings emptying the dishwasher, sorting laundry, or cooking, she asks to help or runs to grab the stool. She thinks chores are the best. And when I need someone to smile when I ask about doing chores, she's my go to girl!
I have to admit that the magic of helping does fade. I mean let's be honest, I don't really ever look forward to doing chores. It's how I feel and how much neater things are afterward that motivate me to do them over and over again.
And my older kids definitely have their share of grumbling and complaining when it's time to do some help around the house. I'm glad I started chores with them as toddlers too because they are extra helpful now that they are older. Even if they aren't bursting with joy at the thought of emptying the garbage or cleaning up after their pet.
But when it comes to the younger years, there are so many chores that toddlers love! In other words, I'd say that the best time to implement chores is in the toddler years because chores are fun and exciting. Plus, chores are an amazing teacher too.
The benefits of chores
Not only do chores help things become nice and tidy, they are also an incredible tool too.
- They get children involved in family life.
- They teach life skills.
- They help children become responsible.
- They give children a sense of pride and satisfaction.
Easy Chores for Toddlers
Finding chores that toddlers can do just takes a little shift in thinking. Some of these ideas may not even seem like chores initially, but they are foundational for teaching the more complex chores for kids later on. This chore list for toddlers is just the beginning point. Follow your child's lead when they ask to be involved, and you might just be amazed at all that they can actually do!
- Putting toys, books, and stuffed animals away
Toddlers love to sort. It's part of their DNA, and when we teach them that their belongings have homes, they love putting them where they "live." This toddler chore is one of my favorites. I love telling my daughter to pick up her book and put it on the bookshelf or to pick up her cars and put them in her car bin over on her shelf. These are also great listening skill activities at the same time. Win-win.
- Put clothes in hamper
This simple daily toddler chore will help your toddler feel like a huge contributor, and it's a nice and easy household chore that is perfectly age appropriate.
- Moving clothes from the washer to dryer
My daughter loves the washing machine. When it's spinning the clothes around with whooshes of water and splashes of bubbles, she's pretty sure it's a waterworks show just for her. When it's time to move the clothes over to the dryer, she's happy to help with a partner. And sometimes when we start the washer, I even let her push the start button.
- Matching socks
Matching is also another skill that toddlers absolutely love, so matching socks feels less like a chore and more like a game to them. When I ask my daughter if she can find the other pink sock, she's pretty sure we're on a scavenger hunt. Plus, she's learning colors at the same time when I show it to her.
- Simple folding
Toddlers think they can fold everything, which is hilarious when they proudly turn a shirt into a heap and think they've folded it. But there are some things that toddlers can fold. The easiest is washcloths. Just help them by showing them how to do it and also by helping move their hands. Eventually, it will stick. I've even seen toddlers fold blankets, so you never know what they might just be capable of.
- Holding the dust plan for someone sweeping
When toddlers are doing chores with us, they love to feel involved and holding a dust plan is a perfect toddler chore when you need a little partner. Once they get good at this, it's time for the next step. Sweeping!
- Sweeping with a small broom
Teaching children to sweep can absolute begin as a toddler chore. Start small with a little hand-held broom. The brooms that we use are so big and would be like adults trying to use a shovel instead of a broom. But those smaller ones that are sometimes in the pet section at the store or at the dollar store are perfect sized.
- Simple dusting This weekly toddler chore is a blast because children love wiping at this age, and it's actually a really important movement for their body to make at the same time known as crossing the midline. Get a towel ready, and they'll be thrilled to help with baseboards, stair rails, and low shelves. Plus, their little hands and legs can reach those low spots a lot easier than the rest of us.
- Watering plants
This simple toddler chore is so fun, and I have the secret to make sure your plants don't get overwatered. Let your toddler water it with a spray bottle, pipette, or medicine dropper. If it's a tree, they would love to use the hose of course.
- Wiping up spills
This daily toddler chore is something we get lots of practice with. Children spill. a. lot. They spill their drink, their container of bubbles, their ice cream cone, and anything else that is remotely able to be spilled. And the best way for us to intervene is to help them clean it up. Have a towel handy and thank them for cleaning up their mess.
- Putting away clean dishes
One of my favorite spots in the kitchen is a cabinet that we call the "kid cabinet." It is a spot for them to put their own dishes, and they love it. Anytime they need a cup, bowl, plate, spoon, or fork, it's right there. My toddler started putting the dishes in there at a really young age, so it was one of her first toddler chores she learned to do.
- Taking dishes to the sink
This daily chore is another one that toddlers love. After each meal, I remind her to take her plate to the sink, and she couldn't be happier. And soon after they get good at that, then we start asking them to put it in the dishwasher.
- Sorting silverware
Since we know toddlers love sorting, this is a great chore for toddlers. As long as the silverware isn't too hot and your toddler isn't handling sharp knives, they will love sorting the silverware, and it helps them identify those objects by name quicker too.
- Rinsing fruits and vegetables
This toddler chore is a great food prep activity. Most toddlers love water play and will be thrilled to have the chance to be a part of getting food ready to eat. Have a towel handy for them to dry it, and you will make their day.
Cooking is a great toddler chore. We start off with things like stirring soups with spoons and baking mixes with whisks. Then adding basic ingredients to a pot or bowl. Don't be afraid to try out new things with your child, even if you don't think they can do it. One of my children loved cracking eggs for us as a toddler, and I've even seen some toddlers help cook on the stove (with close supervision and attention).