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19 Summer Jobs for Kids (Aged 13 and Younger)

Does your child want to earn money this summer? I’ve put together a list of 19 summer jobs for kids, plus discuss child labor laws.

How can a kid make money in the summer?

girl child with pigtails watering garden, text overlay "19 summer jobs for kids 13 and under - plus what you need to know about child labor laws"

It seems like most of the summer jobs for kids articles are geared towards teens and college students.

Which is understandable, since there are labor laws in place for this sort of thing (we’ll touch on this in a minute).

Not to worry, though – there are many jobs for the taking for kids 13 and younger.

We’re going to go over kid job opportunities:

  • At home
  • In your neighborhood
  • With an outside employer

But before we dive in? Let’s touch on those labor laws so that you know what your child can and cannot do in terms of work.

Kid Labor Laws You Need to Know

Can a 12-year-old get a summer job? How about a 10-year-old?

Yes, but there are child labor laws that need to be taken into consideration.

Fair wages, number of hours your child is allowed to work, and job safety requirements are all regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

A few things to point out (you should definitely read into this yourself):

  • Non-Agricultural Jobs for Kids Under 14: The only jobs allowed by an outside employer for kids under the age of 14 are babysitting on a casual basis, delivering newspapers, working as an actor or performer, working as a homeworker gathering evergreens and making evergreen wreaths (really specific and odd…but that’s the language), perform minor chores around a private home, and work for a business entirely owned by the parents (though there are a few restrictions here, too).
  • Agricultural Jobs for Kids: There’s much more leeway for this category, and you can read about it here

Not only that, but if your state has a law that is stricter than the FLSA, then your state’s law wins.

Here’s a handy chart for the different youth labor laws in your state.

Soooo…doesn’t seem like there’s much left, right?

Well, let me show you there’s still many options for your child to earn extra cash this summer.

Summer Jobs for Kids – Outside of the Home

Summer is the perfect time for kids to make some extra cash – I know I always used my summers to do this.

I was raised on a dairy farm, and so there was always opportunity to make extra money both around our farm and with farmer neighbors.

More so than that, I did other jobs as a kid. Before I turned 13, I had:

  • Taken shifts at our roadside pumpkin stand
  • Babysat my cousins on Friday nights
  • Mucked horse stalls at our local veterinarian’s house
  • Tried to start a bean-bag business with my friend (we failed! But it was fun)
  • Etc.

Nowadays? There are UMPTEEN number of ways for kids to make money in summertime. And I’m excited to share them with you!

1. Work on a Local Farm

I can’t tell you the number of teens and kids we had working odd jobs on our farm over the years…including ourselves.

Small farmers need help, and they likely have some jobs they can throw your child’s way for extra cash.

Off the top of my head (feel free to suggest some of these to your local farmer – it’s usually helpful to point out to others where you can fit in to help):

  • Farm cleanup
  • Harvesting
  • Stacking hay (oh my word…the amount of hay I’ve stacked in my lifetime…)
  • Babysitting younger kids while parents and older kids work on the farm
  • Getting cows in and out of the barn for milking times
  • Feeding cattle
  • Standing in for a farm roadside stand
  • Etc.

Here are the child labor rules for agricultural jobs for kids.

2. Amusement Park Helper for Mothers and Local Groups

This is a new twist on babysitting.

Lots of families and some groups go to amusement parks and water parks over the summertime.

For mothers and group leaders, having a tween or kid come along and help keep an eye on everyone (plus maybe ride some rides with a child who wants to go, as a buddy system, while the other kids do something else) can be really helpful.

3. Pet Sit for Neighbors

I can’t tell you how much money I earned as a child pet-sitting…but it was probably $500 or more.

In fact, I continued doing this in college!

If your child is at least 13 years old, then you can use Petsitter.com together to find local pet-sitting jobs. Could involve dog walking.

4. Plant Watering Service for the Neighbors

Offer your neighbors a plant watering service. Kids can bring their own watering pail, and/or use the outside hose on site.

Help your child to work out a schedule to go through each week for the households that sign up, and communicate to those neighbors what happens on a rainy day/week (for example: we’ll wait two days after a rainy day to do any watering, or something like that).

5. Do Door-to-Door Sales with a Parent

Some states allow kids under 13 to do door-to-door sales, mostly if a parent or guardian is present.

I actually did this as a teen, with Tupperware. My sister was a consultant, so she got me selling under her. I went door-to-door for two afternoons, and made $75 in profit!

That was cool.

Also, I can’t tell you how many lessons I learned about business, making money, and confidence while doing this.

6. Become a Mother’s Helper

When I was attempting to work with an infant and toddler, I learned about this thing called “Mother’s Helper”. I was intrigued.

Basically, it’s paying a younger kid and tween who is not ready to watch a child on their own, to help around the house with your kids and such.

While you’re there.

I never went through with it, but this would be seriously helpful for your child to do for other mothers with younger kids who still want to be around for the day, but need some breathing space.

7. Digitize Old Photograph Service

Many people have tons of old photos that need to be scanned and digitized (meaning, scanned and made into a .jpg file).

What a great service your child could work on! Check to see if your printer (if you have one) has a scanner included on it (you can also use a smartphone). Help your child learn how to scan in a photograph, and anything else needed. They’ll also need to learn how to price a project out, of various sizes.

Market their new service to friends and family first, as they practice and get better at it.

Hint: here’s an article on how to digitize printed photos.

8. Local Theater Production Role

By law, kids are allowed to earn money through not only acting, but through radio or local theater production.

Check out your local theaters and ask if they have a role for a child. Even a back-up role. Could be a really fun summer project for your child!

9. Work at the Local Plant Nursery

Is there a nursery around you, where your child could work with plants? They could water and feed plants, do various cleanup activities, and other agricultural-based jobs. 

10. Make and Sell Kid DIY Things

I’ve written an entire article on things for kids to make and sell, as well as have a free market day lesson plan on how to calculate what they should price their creation in order to make a profit.

Find things like:

  • Donut-shaped soaps
  • iPhone background screen designs
  • Ice cream cone body butters
  • Etc.

11. Create a Neighborhood Park Hour

Do you live in a neighborhood with a decent amount of young kids (and there happens to be a playground)?

Your child can make up a flyer and get mothers interested in paying for “Park Hour”. This means they still bring their children to the park and stay there with them, but they get to sit on the sidelines and read, work, or do whatever else they’d like while your child plays with the kids.

Summer Jobs for Kids – Around the Home

Around your home are many opportunities for kids to earn money this summer.

Let me show you some great options – the kind that will help out both the family and your child.

1. Wash the Family Car

I used to do this for my parents, as our car would get totally disgusting (and they’d much rather pay me $10 to do it than do it themselves).

This can be a real win-win, as you’d have to pay to have someone clean your car anyway, right (well, unless you want to do this yourself)?

Hook up your vacuum cleaner to your outside outlet, give them rags/soap and tools you want them to use, and check out the results to see if there’s anything missed.

Hint: this is especially helpful right before leaving for a road trip…and right after getting home. And your kids can use the extra cash earned as vacation money!

2. Weed the Flower Beds

I don’t know about your gardens, but no matter if we put black tarp paper down or not, we would still get weeds popping up.

It was frustrating.

Your child can help you and make a little extra cash this summer by choosing a yard zone (like the flower garden, or vegetable garden) to keep weed-free.

3. Do a Food Expiration Overhaul

I can’t be the only one who periodically pulls out a (very) expired ingredient from my pantry, right?

Have your child go through your big ole’ pantry, and make a pile of everything that is expired (yes…they’ll need to go into the dark corners!).

They don’t have to stop there – they can also go through your condiments in the fridge.

4. Morning Helper to Younger Siblings

Do you have younger kids, too? If your older child/tween is decently organized and can get through their own schedule in the morning, then they may be able to help out their younger siblings (and you!) by doing things like:

  • Supervising
  • Making sure they eat their breakfast (by eating with them)
  • Helping them make their bed/wipe off their place at the table
  • Etc.

5. Put Kid Sets Back Together

Have you ever been totally frustrated with keeping all of the various toys and book sets together in your home?

I do a pretty good job of this…but I would love to pay a child a small amount to spend the time to put each set back together (to the best that they can, meaning, some parts might never be found again!).

They could dig through all of the toy bins and toy areas and make piles of each separate set. Same with books from the same set, which sometimes end up all over the place.

Their job, at the end of the day, is to organize all of these sets back together again (as best they can).

And after they make these piles? You can help them to put each set away (either in the original container they came in, or in new bins labeled with the toy set type so that it’s easier to keep up with moving forward).

Easy Ways to Make Money for Kids (without a Formal Job)

Soooo…is your child just looking to make some extra cash (and not really have a formal job)?

I’ve got some easy ways to make extra cash for kids.

1. Scan in All Household Receipts for Cashback

Let your kids earn extra cash received from them scanning in your grocery, restaurant, gas, and other receipts throughout the summer.

They won’t make a fortune, but it’s a great supplement to an allowance or chore commissions!

My favorite apps (I use them both with each receipt):

2. Search the Internet Using Swagbucks

Have you ever heard of the search engine Swagbucks? They pay you “Bucks” when you search the internet. And guess what? You can use them as young as 13!

Your child can simply switch their internet search engine from google to them, and then earn a little extra money as they go about their internet dealings.

3. Introduce a Chore Commission Penalty

Have multiple kids? And do you pay them for chores (or pay their allowance partly based on them doing their chores)?

Set up a summer system where you deduct the money from one child's allowance for chores they do not complete, then offer those chores up for completion + earnings to another child in the family.

I hope I've shown you some great options for summer jobs for kids – whether you're looking to employ them around your own house, or to help them find cash-making opportunities in the neighborhood and locally.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.