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20 Ways Young Kids Can Earn Money While Learning New Skills

Updated on March 20, 2012

Motivation = Money

When I was ten I was already scheming on how I could increase my income. I was getting an allowance for chores, but it was a measly amount and took forever to save for something I wanted to buy. Back in the sixties it usually meant a 45-that was the ‘i-tune’ version of music in those days.

I remember my girlfriend and me taking a huge refrigerator box, cutting a slot for money, putting musical selections on the front like a homemade jukebox, and plugging it into her garage electrical socket with an extension cord. We sat in the box ‘manning’ the portable record player, charging five cents a hit to the neighborhood kids. Of course, they would have to say their selection out loud in order for the ‘magic’ jukebox to play their selections.

We were really raking in the change until her mom discovered our money making machine and chastised us for taking advantage of the younger kids. Me…well, I thought it was pretty ingenious.

Two years later I had a pretty large babysitting business, but at less than $1.00 / hour it was still a slow go and I had to put up with a large number of unruly brats to make any real money. I was envious of my two older brothers who had a lawn cutting business.

It's no longer as easy to find work...

Coming from a large, middle class family there was always someone working around the neighborhood. Back then things were different and kids could do things like have a paper route without worry of being accosted or kidnapped. Now, with the state of our economy, those jobs that were once considered ‘kid only’, such as sitting, lawn care, and doing odd chores for elderly people, have been taken over by adults looking to support their families.

I remember when the neighborhood paper boy was replaced by an adult with a car who delivered the newspaper in a mailbox set up by the company paper. Next, I recalled the babysitting jobs that had always been a part of a typical teen’s life being handled by college students or stay at home moms. The job market for kids was quickly dwindling and they had the disadvantage of having no transportation to widen their circle of possibilities.

What your child will acquire besides money:

  • Confidence
  • Self esteem
  • Social skills
  • Financial skills
  • Communication skills
  • Independence

20 Potentially Lucrative Ideas Worth Investigating

Here are a few ideas of how to help a child earn some money.

1. Beverage stand near a neighborhood function, such as a concert and fireworks.

2. Growing and selling flowers, or vegetables, in a ‘farmer’s stand’ at the side of the road.

3. Offer to walk dogs

4. Pet grooming

5. Jewelry, i.e. bracelet or earrings, crafting and selling. Two markets that come to my mind are craft fairs and online markets such as ‘Etsy’.

6. Offer to teach a younger child a skill-like ballet or baseball.

7. Babysit

8. Offer to be a ‘mother’s helper’ doing childcare, housekeeping and errands.

9. Create cards to sell to family or relatives.

10. Wash cars

11. Wash windows

12. Run errands to stores

13. Handyman Assistant-such as house painting

14. Clean your room and have a yard sale to get rid of your outgrown clothes and toys

15. Newspaper routes

16. Lawn cutting service

17. Raking or other yard work

18. Planting flowers or weeding

19. Tutoring younger children

20. Assisting the elderly with grocery shopping or other physical work.

Babysitting is one source of income
Babysitting is one source of income | Source

Please Vote

What is the best way for young kids to earn money?

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Tips to Keep in Mind:

As with any child centered activity, caution has to be taken that your child is not putting himself in an unsafe situation when offering services.

Check the child labor regulations, as well as city codes for information about produce stands. Some places require a business ID registration, no matter how young the vendor is.

Monitor that your child is getting paid accurately. One summer, my oldest brother worked for a man scraping paint off gutters and repainting them in the hot sun. In the end, the man welched on his agreed payment and my father brought him into small claims court successfully winning his case.

Do not exaggerate your child’s training or skills in areas such as ‘tutoring younger children’.

Be sure to have your child acquire any certifications available in order to authenticate her services. Many local hospitals offer babysitter training and include community CPR classes.

Set rules for sitting, such as no friends accompanying her or no socializing with friends via texting while the kids are awake.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      That is a great skill, Raine. (Love your name, btw). I never thought of renting a market stall but that is a great idea. My oldest granddaughter is so talented with art and craft items. She recently won two blue ribbons for first place for a wood carving: regional and state.

      I would love for her to sell some of her items in the mall. How much do they run? Thanks for your comments.

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image

      Raine Law Yuen 

      6 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks for this insightful article. I have two kids and have them hire a market stall around our Xmas holidays. I find the world has changed so much from when we were young. My son who is fourteen has taught himself to program and is now wanting to develop an app. Sounds crazy but it seems with technology kids are no longer limited to their immediate boundaries.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Lane-thanks for your feedback about this subject. As for the jukebox idea-I'm glad you got a kick out of it. I can laugh about it as an adult, but my g.f.'s mother was not laughing, lol.

    • Lane Reno profile image

      Lane Reno 

      8 years ago

      Oh hey BTW, I loved the juke (fridge) box deal you had--how funny!

    • Lane Reno profile image

      Lane Reno 

      8 years ago

      This is a good-idea HUB, especially in this day and age when kids seem older for their age than they did a generation ago. Today's kids need to learn work/payday rules earlier nowadays, just as they've had to learn advanced math, computer skills, and even more history than there was when I was a kid! Yes, they grow up faster now, so they should learn "marketing" and "entrepreneurship" earlier. Good write!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Rebecca-that's a great idea for kids to sell at a family yard sale. Thanks for stopping by.

      Hi aykianink, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and especially the humor of a child's efforts at early entrepreneurship. Thanks for your feedback. :)

    • aykianink profile image


      8 years ago

      "Of course, they would have to say their selection out loud in order for the ‘magic’ jukebox to play their selections."

      Hahaha. So awesome:-)

      Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, as a child, was told to 'make money.' So, he and his friend started melting down metal and shaping it into coins. Everyone freaked, and he put a stop to that 'business' of his. Not quite what you were doing, but it reminded me of that:-)

      Solid advice here, Denise:

      "Some places require a business ID registration, no matter how young the vendor is."

      Good stuff as always. *applause*

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      8 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great ideas for kids to earn money! My kids used to sell their unwanted toys at my yardsales.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello acaetnna-thank you for reading it and commenting. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Happy New Year to you.

    • acaetnna profile image


      8 years ago from Guildford

      This is a brilliant article with great ideas.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Wonderful! Angela, thanks for sharing that experience here. :)

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      8 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great article. My daughter, who can spend more money than I can earn on her horse fetish, recently, wanted $100 worth of tack and I spent the weekend together with her having a garage sale. She made signs listed the sale on craigslist and worked hard getting things together, pricing, setting up, etc. The time we worked together and her sense of accomplishment out weighed the new tack she purchased with the money!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Katyzzz-if my writing this hub has helped a kid in the future earn some money, then that is a boon to the article. Thanks and I hope more people will consider hiring a kid for their odd jobs. :) Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Hi audrey-thank you for sharing! I appreciate your enthusiasm, haha. I'll catch up in a bit-have to continue my work stretch: one down and only four more to go! Thanks again.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Kids can begin learning about money and management at an early age with this wonderful and very useful hub. I will share it and begin to get this circulating. Great suggetions! You have my vote up + sharing.

    • katyzzz profile image


      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great ideas here, next time I need help I'll think of a kid, 'tis some great points you have made.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Eddy-thanks for commenting. Nice to see you and I hope you are doing well. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting TAW. :)

      Danette- you do know which g.f. I'm referring to, though, don't you? JK and it was out of her garage and boy was her mom mad b/c her sibs were breaking open their precious piggy banks! hahaha anyway, I agree...gone are the days.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      Ha! I don't remember the juke box thing but do agree - pretty ingenious! I also agree - gone are the days when kids can earn money babysitting or even kids coming home on college breaks and working construction jobs or something like that. No such thing now with unions not allowing that.

      Nice hub

    • taw2012 profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Nice hub and useful information.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      A very useful hub and thank you for sharing.

      Take care


    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Cara-I guess even after all these years there is more to discover! Thanks for your comments.

      Hello Chin, Chin-I loved the Mango Cart. I would buy mangos on a stick from the cart near the laundramat in California. They were exquisite on a hot day stepping out of that steamy room! Thanks for the memory.

      Hello Frank, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

      Thumbi7-I sure appreciate your information. It always fascinates me how different countries view things and handle issues. :)

      Hello krsharp05-Thanks for your comments. I think you are right on with your statement that it builds internal motivation. I appreciate you making that point here. Thanks.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      9 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      You've created a great hub here! I love that you are motivating kiddos to learn to work for themselves! It's so important that kids develop internal motivation. Way to go!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      9 years ago from India

      I was always fascinated by this idea of kids working to earn some pocket money.

      But in India, it is not appreciated and may not be safe.

      Enjoyed reading this hub!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 years ago from Shelton

      this is so useful now that summer is coming.. :) great HUB!!!

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      This hub reminded me of how I and my siblings went around our neighborhood selling mangoes (in a cart we pushed) when we were still children. Of course, we had our mother with us, but that taught us the value of hard work.

      Voted up! Good job on this hub.

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Great list of ideas. I didn't know that story about you and the neighborhood jukebox! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Stephanie-You're welcome. It is always harder for a younger crowd, yet they need some experience with that.

      Hi Peggy-thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Denise,

      As you pointed out it is definitely harder for kids to earn money in this day and age. If they are teenagers and want to help people with their lawn and garden chores, that is probably still a good way in their own neighborhoods. Babysitting especially if they are CPR certified is also still a way. There are kids that could probably help tutor older folks on computer use? You have mentioned some other ideas. Up votes!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      Thanks so much for answering my question Denise! I think it is especially hard for young teens to earn their own money these days, but you've given some good suggestions that would be useful for an enterprising teen.

      I'm glad you mentioned that parents should make sure that people don't take advantage of their children. Kids need to be paid fairly for the work that they do!

      Love your jukebox business idea — that was quite a creative idea! :)

      Voted up and shared!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading, Tim. I appreciate that you enjoyed the hub, LOL My brothers had more than a lawn cutting business. They were ALWAYS figuring out some way to make money. One in particular would trap and sell the pelts. Imagine my mother's shock and disgust as she opened the family freezer to grab something for supper only to find a muskrat carcass laying there frozen! Boy, would she scream at my brother. Hahaha Sometime's I would walk with him to check his lines. Thanks for stopping by.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      9 years ago from Escondido, CA

      How wonderfully enterprising Denise! I remember earning potential too as a kid. I busted out with roaring laughter on your observation of your brothers. I thought of my sisters. I like the blue box too! Awesome hub and a highly recommended read. Oh, I got work for 'em if you can get 'em here tomorrow. Tell them to bring there rain gear :)


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