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How To Help Your Kids Earn Money When You Don’t Live In Town
By Jennifer Spears
When we moved to the country 5 years ago, we didn’t realize that it was going to be a lot more difficult for our teenage kids to earn money. Luckily, we quickly discovered that there are plenty of awesome summer jobs for country kids.
You don’t need to live near a town for your kids to be able to earn money over the summer, or year round. There are plenty of money making opportunities that can fill their pockets, build their confidence and leave you with a few bucks left in your wallet!
10 Awesome Summer Jobs For Country Kids
- Grow a garden and sell the extra produce.
Roadside vegetable stands are pretty popular no matter where you live. If your kids choose easy to grow veges like cucumbers and summer squash, they’ll have extra produce to sell by mid-summer. They may also want to plant some fall crops like pumpkins and gourds, so they’ll have a cash crop well into the school year. Gardening also helps keep them busy during the summer, adds fresh produce to your dinner table, and teaches them a truly valuable life skill.
- Cut campfire wood and sell it in bundles by the road.
Selling campfire wood is an excellent opportunity, especially if you live near a campsite or state park that allows camping. Small bundles of split wood sell for around $5 in my area, but check around to see how much your kids can make where you live. Many townships discourage the transport of firewood, so campers need to have a local source when they get to their campsites.
- Mow lawns or do other yard work for neighbors.
Yard work is one of the tried and true summer jobs for county kids. Mowing is only one service that they could offer. Planting flowers, raking, spreading mulch and other basic landscaping duties are all ways to make money. If your kids are reliable and do a good job, they could even land a job doing the regular maintenance and upkeep of a neighbors property. Building good relationships with nearby neighbors also opens up the opportunity for snow removal or other Winter jobs as well.
- Offer services to trusted neighbors.
Teenagers could earn money by offering their services to help clean out barns, garages, cellars or attics. Most people hold off on big projects like this until the Summer months. Many times though, people get really busy and end up either not having time to do it at all, or hiring help to get things accomplished. Your child could charge by the job, by the day, or by the hour.
- Start a worm farm and sell the worms and the vermicompost.
When it comes to summer jobs for country kids, starting a worm farm is a great opportunity, even for very young children. Worms are easy and fun to care for, and the initial investment is very small. Kids can learn pretty much everything that they need to learn about caring for worms and having a worm farm by searching on the internet. There are tons of videos on YouTube about the topic. Our son has had a worm farm since he was 7! You can read about his adventures and about why we encourage our kids to start hobby businesses here.
- Keep rabbits and sell the droppings.
If your kids enjoy taking care of animals, consider letting them get a few rabbits. Rabbits are fairly easy to take care of, they don’t smell bad, and their droppings are worth actual money! My daughter collects her pet rabbits droppings, scoops them into empty dog food bags, and sells them for $5 to local gardeners. People love it because it doesn’t have an unpleasant odor, and it is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which plants need for healthy growth. Rabbit droppings can be placed directly onto a garden, or made into compost. If your child wants to offer even more choices to their customers, they can also make a compost tea from the droppings.
- Collect scrap metal.
This opportunity may be best suited for older kids that don’t mind getting dirty. Scrap metal prices go up and down, but our kids have made several hundred dollars over the past couple of summers. Many country people have scrap metal laying around, and most are happy to part with it…if they don’t have to clean it up themselves! Invest in a good set of gloves, and watch out for bees. Prime “scrapping” season is early Spring before the weeds grow too high, and late Fall after the weather cools down.
- Keep chickens and sell the eggs.
Not everyone in the country keeps their own chickens, but a lot of people (me included) love fresh eggs. Even if you live way out in the country, and don’t have much traffic on your road, your kids can still sell extra eggs. Check out prices in your area, and have family and friends save egg cartons for your kids. It’s not unrealistic to think that they could sell a few dozen eggs each week, giving them some extra spending money.
Babysitting is one of my favorite summer jobs for country kids. I hear about people needing childcare for a few hours all the time, and many parents prefer having a regular sitter come to their homes. This is only a good opportunity if your teens are good with smaller children. The Red Cross offers basic babysitting courses, and having that certificate may help your teen get babysitting jobs with your neighbors.
- Start a craft business.
If your child is crafty, encourage them to start a small craft business. Our daughter paints light switches and sells them to friends, family and neighbors. People love them because they are unique, and the fact that they were made by a kid only adds to their value! As they get older, and as their crafting abilities improve, your kids may even want to turn their childhood hobby business into an actual career! A large part of our income comes from our crafting business, so we obviously have a special place in our hearts for crafting kids! There are some easy steps to take after a hobby business is made official, and you can read about them here.
The good old days of roadside lemonade stands may be gone in many areas, but there are still plenty of summer jobs for country kids out there!
Encouraging our kids to earn some of their own spending money when they are young helps them develop good work ethics, learn responsibility and feel good about themselves.
Do you have any other ideas for summer jobs for country kids? Please leave me a comment…and share this with your friends…so we can all get more ideas!
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