How to Make a Toddler Chore Board

The small man is 3 1/2 years old & that blows my mind on a regular basis. THREE & A HALF. I swear it feels like I was up rocking him at 2am with a warm bottle & a prayer that he would go back to sleep, but nope! Sleeping through the night! Using the potty! Learning to write letters in preschool! It’s blowing my mind.

Somewhere around 3 1/2, it feels like he should be earning his keep around here. Or at least earning the “prizes” (aka Matchbox cars) that he loves so well. As much as I would love him to start scrubbing the kitchen floor & doing the laundry, we’re sticking to some pretty toddler-friendly “chores,” like being nice to the dog & eating supper without a fight. So as a way to keep track of it visually, for both me & him, I whipped up a chore chart with a few supplies from the local craft store & the scraps from the floating shelves we just built. I had seen some cool ones in the store, but I wasn’t ready to shell out $30 or more for a system when I could easily make it & customize it to our needs.

  • How to Make a Toddler Chore Board 1 of 9
    For roughly $15!
  • Decide on chores 2 of 9
    I painted the CHORES letters with craft paint & laid out the little wooden signs so Doug & I could discuss what we wanted his responsibilities to be.
  • Side-eye 3 of 9
    This can't be good news for the three-foot crowd. Why can't I get toys for just being cute anymore?
  • Combine the scraps 4 of 9
    Since we used scrap, my plywood was actually three small pieces, so Doug cut strips into thirds & we used wood glue to hold them together.
  • Flip it over 5 of 9
    Here's the flat front piece! Nail those flat boards to the strips of wood behind it.
  • Paint it 6 of 9
    I picked Revere Pewter, which is the color throughout our downstairs, as a way to tie it in. Then I used yellow to keep it playful.
  • Chalkboard paint 7 of 9
    I used Frog Tape & chalkboard paint to paint strips for checkmarks when he completed a task.
  • Hot glue the chores on 8 of 9
    We picked wooden pictures to represent his chores - being in a good mood, eating his supper, picking up his toys, being nice to the dog, going to bed without a fuss, & getting ready for school without a fight in the morning.
  • Finished product 9 of 9
    Very nice!

Here’s what I used:

  • little wooden characters from Michael’s (they’re about $0.99 apiece)
  • letters for the top
  • paint that you like (I used Ben Moore’s Revere Pewter, leftover from the hall & living room)
  • chalkboard paint
  • Frog Tape to mark the lines
  • sanding block to sand the wood
  • plywood (the width that you desire – mine’s about two feet wide)
  • 1 1×2 pine boards ($1 if you need something to brace the back of the board)
  • a piece of chalk

We picked “chores” to be things that we wanted him to do throughout the day:

  • sunshine – No screaming
  • apple – Eat his supper
  • truck – Pick up his toys
  • dog – Be nice to the dog
  • moon – Go to bed without a fuss
  • school bus – Get ready for school without a fuss

If he does them well, he earns a check for that day!  He must earn five checks in each category to earn what he wants that week – whether it’s a new (small) truck, family date for ice cream, trip to the community pool, etc. He can lose checks by doing the opposite of what he’s supposed to…for instance, if he’s earned all five doggie check marks but still waiting on two more apples, he can’t start being mean to Tuck or else he’ll lose check marks. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s working so far!

And that’s how we made the chore board for less than $15!

Do you have a chore chart for your toddler?


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Beth Anne writes words & takes pictures at Okay, BA! You can also find her on the Twitters & Facebook

Article Posted 6 years Ago

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