I started out by making a list of chores. The easiest way to do this was to search for 'age appropriate chores' on Pinterest. There are tons of charts that break it down by age that I found so it didn't take long to make a list of my own.
Next I had to consider her development in terms of what she understands. The best way for her to know what chores need to be done is by using a picture. So I looked through my list of chores and thought of one picture that represented that chore (make your bed=bed, brush your teeth=toothbrush, etc).
The biggest challenge was deciding how to help her make sure she was getting her chores done each day. In other words, what type of chore chart did I want to do? What was going to make the most sense to a 4 year old? I made a list of ideas and settled on something simple: a magnet board with accompanying sticker chart.
I researched a few options and the least expensive one I found was at Hobby Lobby for $8.99. Throw a 40% off coupon on top of that and I only paid $5.39 for an 11x14 whiteboard/magnet board. I already had magnets and clear glass accent gems (see picture in 'how to make magnets' section) on hand and knew I could find some simple clip art online for the chores. I also decided to use stickers and vinyl to organize it into an easy-to-understand chart that I could always change up or take off completely if I decide to go in another direction later on. Plus, using my trusty Silhouette would make the design a cinch!
I took my daughter with me to pick up the magnet board and let her choose some stickers for the days of the week. My husband and I had told her a few days earlier that I was going to make her a chore chart so she was aware of what was coming. Plus, I wanted her to be involved in the process as much as possible so it wasn't just us saying, "here's a chart that I made you with all the chores you have to get done every day". My daughter is one that likes to know what's coming ahead of time so she can prepare herself.
Before we get any further, let me give you a list of supplies you'll need to make your own chore chart:
- Magnet board or whiteboard/magnet board, size of your choosing
- Stickers for days of the week and child's name
- Strong glue for gluing magnets to glass accent gems (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
- Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear adhesive (or similar)
- Clear glass accent gems (I found mine at the dollar store)
- Magnet paper (I used the Silhouette brand)
Making the Chore Chart
When I got the magnet board home, I measured the magnet/whiteboard itself so that I could plug those numbers into my Silhouette design studio. I found that while the entire board was 11x14, the usable part was only 9.5x 12.25. Glad I measured!
I opened up my design software and inserted the dimensions of the board into the 'design page settings' so I could see the full size I was going to be working with. Then I opened a new page and chose the 'letter' size. I pulled the clip art I saved onto this page and sized it down to fit the approximate size of the clear glass accent gems (about 1.5") and drew a circle around it. (Without a Silhouette: Open a word program and pull clip art from online and size it to fit your accent gems.)
Then I made it into a print and cut file (check out this tutorial for more details) and sent it to my printer. I loaded the paper into my Silhouette machine and changed the settings to cut out the circles around the images I just printed. I pulled them off of the cutting board and set them aside. (Without a Silhouette: Print images, trace a circle around them and cut out using scissors or circle punch.)
Next, I opened up the file with the dimensions of the magnet board to start laying it all out. I decided to put the days of the week going down the left third of the board and two columns going down the remaining two-thirds for the done/not done chores. In keeping with using images instead of words, I used an 'X' for the 'not done' column and a check mark for the 'done' column. You can see my screen shot of the layout below.
Since I knew I was using stickers for the days of the week, I only needed to cut out the 'X' and the check mark. I had recently used the Silhouette magnet sheets for a project and knew it would be perfect (check out this tutorial for more details). I found an 'X' and check mark clip art online and moved the images onto my page and sized them according to my layout. Then I moved them to a new page and cut them out using the same method as the tutorial I just referenced. (Without a Silhouette: You can still use the magnet sheets, but you would need to cut the shapes out by hand.)
With all my cutting done, I grabbed the magnet board and my ruler to measure out a little more exactly where I wanted everything. I used a dry erase marker to draw my lines out to my liking then I got the stickers for the days of the week and put them on the board. (Note: Make sure that you have enough letter stickers for the days of the week, otherwise you may end up having to go back to the store to buy more.)
I used my paper cutter to cut thin strips of vinyl to separate each section which made it look nice and clean. Then I placed the 'X' and check mark at the top of each column.
Lastly, I used some other stickers I had on hand to put her name in the corner of the board.
Making the Magnets
To make the magnets, you will need:
- Clear glass accent gems
- Chore images (printed and cut)
- Strong glue (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
- Glossy Accents (or similar)
Open the Glossy Accents and turn it upside down over a piece of scrap paper. Do not shake it, as this will create bubbles. Squeeze a little out to get the flow going and then squeeze a decent amount in the center of the paper. Take your accent gem, flat side down, and place it over the top, pressing down slowly. As you do this, the Glossy Accents will spread out underneath the accent gem. If it oozes out the edges, just wipe it off and set it aside.
Repeat with the remaining gems. Let dry 20-30 minutes.
When the Glossy Accents is dry, get your magnets and strong glue. Place a small amount in the center of the magnet and then place it on the back of the gems/chore images. Let dry overnight.
Sticker Chart/Reward System
The sticker chart is how we keep track of how many days she's done all her chores each day. If she gets everything done, she gets a sticker. If not, no sticker for the day. If there are chores that didn't need to be done that day, they don't count against her. I made a simple chart in my Word program with rewards for every 10 stickers she gets.
10 stickers=treat or candy of her choice
20 stickers=toy from the dollar store
30 stickers=ice cream cone
For my daughter at age 4, these rewards are enough to motivate her, but you could easily change them to suit your own child's interests.
How It's Going So Far...
As I was putting my daughter's chore chart together she kept asking me, "Is my chore chart ready? Can I use it yet?" I was happy to see her excitement as I made it for her and even more happy that she likes using it so far. It's only been 4 days but it's encouraging nonetheless. Each day she moves her 'Today' magnet to the current day (which also helps her learn the days of the week) and looks to see what chores she needs to do. The fact that she knows exactly what's expected of her and that she has control over moving the magnets to the 'done' column is something she really enjoys. It's a great visual for her.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that your new chore chart works well for you!
What chore charts/systems have you liked using for your kids?