Raising kids on a homestead means they will grow up knowing how to do things many of their adult peers know nothing about.
But, like most things when it comes to parenting, it’s up to you to teach them.
Most homesteading skills for kids are things you are likely already doing without realizing it. Kids learn from watching and doing.
Even if your kids are too young to take part in the “doing,” they are still observing you and learning from the lifestyle choices you make.
If you regularly practice sustainable living, your kids will learn to live sustainably. They won’t know anything different.
With that being said, there are some essential homesteading skills for kids that you need to make sure you’ve covered before they leave the nest.
Use this as a basic checklist of homesteading skills for kids.
1. Sewing and Mending
According to The Guardian, “Seven out of 10 young adults do not know how to sew a button and many struggle with other basic tasks which are costing them an estimated £120,000 over a lifetime.”
In a separate article, they report, “A mere four in 10 of us can muster the attention span or ability to replace a button on an item of clothing, while half of us go creeping to mum with sewing woes.”
Part of sustainable living is taking care of your stuff and not replacing it just because it needs a little fix—hence, sewing and mending clothes.
This is one of the basic homesteading skills for kids that is easy to teach. Begin by teaching your kids to sew on a button. Move on to making a pillowcase.
Continue teaching them new techniques until they master the basics of sewing and mending.
2. Cooking from Scratch
One of the homesteading skills for kids that will serve them throughout their lives is knowing how to cook from scratch.
As soon as your kids are able, allow them to be in the kitchen with you when you are cooking. Give them kid-friendly utensils and allow them to chop the vegetables you grew in your garden.
As they get older, teach them how to cook from scratch and bake bread.
As another bonus, kids will take pride in what they cook, which means fewer fights about what they will eat and fewer battles with picky eaters.
The number of people who don’t garden or grow their own food is alarming.
The Guardian reports:
- 93 percent have never grown their own herbs
- 73 percent spend very little on maintaining their garden or outside space
Kids raised on a homestead will never be part of those high numbers of people who don’t know how to grow their own food.
Even the youngest kids can be involved in your family’s garden, whether it is planting or harvesting.
This is one of the homesteading skills for kids that is hands-on and enjoyable at every age.
4. Tending Animals
Some homesteaders have acres of land and farm animals. Others are urban homesteaders in apartments.
No matter your situation, tending animals is a homesteading skill for kids that needs to be taught. Kids need to learn how to care for animals.
This often starts with the family pet, but it should eventually involve taking care of animals that are part of your homestead’s sustainability.
For example, if you have chickens, involve your children in feeding them and collecting eggs. If you have a beehive on the top of your apartment complex, teach kids the intricacies of beekeeping and the rewards it reaps.
5. Starting a Fire
Fire is essential for survival, but it isn’t a skill many parents teach their children.
Fire is necessary on the homestead for warmth and dealing with debris.
But knowing how to start a fire isn’t just for keeping the homestead warm and clean. It is a survival skill.
Should your kids ever find themselves in a survival situation, knowing how to start a fire may be the difference between life and death.
6. Finding Food in Nature
Many kids take food sources for granted. The food appears on their plates, and they enjoy it. They see food in the grocery store, but they don’t understand how it gets there.
Lord help them if they need to find food for themselves in nature!
One of the most important homesteading skills for kids is knowing how to find food for themselves. For many homesteaders, butchering their own meat is part of their lifestyle.
However, even if your family doesn’t have the ability to raise your own meat, your kids still need to know how to feed themselves without the grocery store.
Teach kids to fish and hunt. Kids need to learn to respect nature and what it provides us, as well as how to handle the tools we use to hunt, fish, and butcher animals.
Additionally, spend time pointing out safe berries and nuts when you are on family hikes, giving your kid some basic knowledge of foraging.
[Related Read: Foraging 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Gathering]
7. Using Basic Tools
Homesteading often involves doing your own home repairs. This is the perfect opportunity to teach homesteading skills for kids.
All kids should know how to identify and use different tools.
For example, teach your kids when they are young the saying, “Rightie tightie, leftie loosie,” and they’ll never forget it.
In addition to teaching them how to identify and use basic tools, give them opportunities to build and repair things around the homestead.
Composting is good for the environment and great for the garden. Make composting a regular part of your homestead routines, and kids will continue to compost when they move out on their own.
9. Identifying Herbal Medicines
Another way to teach kids to respect nature is to show them how nature heals.
When your kids have a cold, bug bites, or small cuts, take advantage of the plants and herbs you grow on the homestead.
Explain to your kids that you could go to a drugstore to get medicine, but you don’t need to because you have nature’s healers right at home.
Before your kids leave home, they should know how to clean and take care of the house.
But for homesteaders, this may look a bit different.
For example, one of the useful homesteading skills for kids is knowing how to make your own cleaning products.
This added step will help them continue to live sustainably once they are on their own.
[Related Read: Homesteader’s Guide to Making DIY Cleaning Products from Scratch]
11. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
When it comes to sustainability, one of the go-to phrases is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” This is another lifestyle choice that your children will learn simply from observing your choices.
If your family makes a point to use items until you can’t use them anymore or strives to upcycle items, your kids will do the same.
If you make it easy for kids to recycle, such as having separate bins and encouraging them to use them, they’ll think recycling is just what people do.
If you stick to reusable products—such as water bottles, cleaning cloths, and storage jars—kids will see you making an effort to reduce your waste.
12. Simple DIY
One of the more fun homesteading skills for kids is learning how to do simple DIY projects.
This is varied and wide open.
For example, kids may enjoy learning how to knit or crochet. Some kids may enjoy learning how to make soap or candles.
They can then give their DIY projects away as gifts, or try selling them.
When they learn they can make something useful, they will feel empowered to continue doing so.
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