It’s hard for me to accept, but summer really is coming to an end. It will soon be time for hot chocolate, mornings by the fire, and cozy evenings of reading. What life skills are applicable to teach kids this time of year? Here are some Valuable Life Skills for Kids to Learn in Fall.
As we homeschool our kids, so much of our energy goes into the academic side of learning. But have you spent some time planning the kind of life skills you want to pass down to your kids to help prepare them for life? Some valuable life skills might be keeping a schedule, doing laundry, cooking meals from scratch, home and car maintenance, communicating well with others, and money management.
Video: Valuable Life Skills for Kids to Learn in Fall
Here are some life skills that target the kinds of work we do during the fall seasons when our focus shifts from being out and about to coming home and getting ready for winter. I have broken these down into two categories: Life Skills for Everyone and Life Skills by Age.
As with any skill, I have found that kids learn by doing something over and over again, year after year. These things take practice to improve. If you include your kids regularly in the home, outdoor, and personal work you do, you will be passing down to them all the important skills that they will need to know as an adult.
Fall Life Skills for Everyone
Cooking in the Fall
Every season is a good time to teach kids how to cook. Take the time to teach kids the kinds of food we cook in the fall. Get out the apples and pumpkins, and all your favorite fall recipes. Make a pot of chili or try baking a pie. Show them how to make their own hot chocolate or hot tea. Think of all the lessons that you learn the more you cook: thickening a soup, cracking/whisking an egg, making rice, why sweet desserts need salt. This list could go on. Cooking is chemistry!
How have you learned all that you know about cooking? By doing it over and over again! Kids will naturally learn more about these processes the more they do them!
Raking Fall Leaves
There’s not a lot of skill that needs to be learned in raking leaves, just muscle. Having kids rake the leaves alongside you helps them see it as a part of regular lawn care that we need to do every fall.
Fall Outdoor Clean Up
Kids can help to cut down the perennial beds. This is a favorite job for many kids since they love cutting almost anything. Give them a pair of garden shears (age appropriate) and show them how to clip the plants down to the base of the plant.
Kids can also help put away summer toys, pick up trash in the yard, sweep the front porch areas, cover the grill, clean out the garden, bring plants in for the winter.
Keeping a Clean Bedroom
Since summer can be a busy time of year, bedrooms may be neglected. As fall brings us back inside more often, this is a great time to really clean out our bedrooms. Have kids tidy their bedrooms. Show them how to declutter so they can start with a clean slate. This may mean deciding which toys they really love and which they would like to donate.
Review and Revisit Indoor Chore Responsibilities
With the shift from outdoor activities to more time indoors, take a look at your household chore plan. Does the system in place still work for you? For the kids? As kids grow, they are able to do more work to contribute to the needs of the family. In our family, we do chores by zones.
Canning and Preserving Food
The last of the harvest comes in the fall. If you are still preserving food, involve your kids in your work. We can applesauce as a family every fall. The whole family participates in this. If you dehydrate or freeze food, there are even more opportunities for kids to help. For our family, this a regular fall event. We want them to know how to preserve their own food, so involving them in this kind of work is very important to us.
Discuss the voting process to your kids. Show them how to read a voter guide. Have conversations about the issues that are on the ballot. Most importantly, take them WITH YOU when you vote!
Natural Health and Preventing Sickness
As cold and flu season comes around, remind the kids of the importance of eating healthy foods and washing hands. Discuss natural ways to build immunity like fresh air and adequate sleep. We encourage our kids to take vitamins and drink probiotics especially this time of year.
Life Skills for Older Children
- Laundry– Give older kids their own laundry basket and turn the responsibility of washing, drying, and folding their laundry completely to them. Show them how to iron a shirt.
- Switch Out Seasonal Clothes-Have teenagers switch their wardrobe from summer to winter. Encourage them to organize their clothing by category: give away, too big, too small, etc. Have them to make a list of what clothing items they need for the next season.
- Time Management– Many teenagers get their first job when they are 14-16. This requires a new level of responsibility. Encourage them to use a planner to keep track of their work hours, sports schedule, volunteer responsibilities, school assignments, and other items on their schedule.
- Consumer Math-Along with the higher level math your child may be learning, don’t forget to include consumer math skills that they will practically use throughout life: balancing a checkbook, tipping a server, how to do your taxes, compound interest, and general money management.
Make their own breakfast or lunch. One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is regular home cooked meals! This doesn’t mean that mom should have to do all the work though! Encourage your middle kids to either make their own breakfast/lunch or occasionally make meal for the family. They will feel pride as their repertoire of dishes grows.
Laundry-Middle kids may not be ready to do their own laundry, but they can help with sorting and folding. They are also old enough to keep their clothes drawers organized. Regularly checking their closets will be an incentive for them to keep their drawers neat.
Practical Math– Practice math skills that they will use every day at home and out in the community.
- Figuring measurements in a recipe, doubling a recipe.
- Making change for a $1, $10, $20.
- Rounding prices in the grocery store to mentally tabulate items in your cart.
Laundry– Younger kids can match socks. We pay our younger kids to match socks. They can put their shoes in closet or tub/basket when they come in the house. They can help switch laundry from the washer to the dryer. Have them clean out the lint for you when you are putting clothes in the dryer.
Vacuum-Have you ever seen a young child vacuum? One time I saw one of our younger kids vacuuming. She was vacuuming in random circles much like a preschooler would do with a crayon to a blank page. I realized she needed a little more instruction on how the process works! Teach your younger child how to vacuum row by row so that they cover the whole area. Help show them how to wrap the cord and put the vacuum away.
Dust Young children love to wipe things down. I give my littles a damp cloth or a baby wipe and tell them to wipe the baseboards or the cabinets. Of course, they don’t get it all, but it makes them feel useful and when their cloth is dirty, they can see the progress they made.
Looking for More Life Skills Ideas?
Check out these seasonal posts with more ideas of practical skills to teach your kids.
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!