Chore Charts and an American Girl

chore charts for kids
Last week during Lydia’s rest time, she and I counted the money in her piggy bank. And by piggy bank, I mean 3 jars and a giant Snow White bank from her Papa. She has been saving her money for the last 2 years (at least) for an American Girl doll.

I knew she had about $75 in there but an American Girl is over $100! I didn’t think she was close enough even after birthday money and some happy $5 bills my aunt recently sent. We counted the cash first. When we got to $75 in cash, I was kind of shocked. She still had a load of quarters and change to go! We continued to count and suddenly we were up to 89, 90, 91, 92, 93–we got up to $96! We were dumbfounded! Lydia started giggling and running around the room with excitement.

In order to get the doll and the hardback book, Lydia needed to earn a few more bucks, so I bumped up a project that had been halfway done for a few weeks–chore charts!

I’ve tried assorted chore charts with nominal success. I researched a few and settled on one I hope will work!

diy chart for chores

It’s so simple–just a mini cookie sheet (I got mine at the dollar store), some wooden coins and small magnets (at Michael’s with the 40% off coupon!) and some stickers (I used vinyl and cut it out with my mom’s Cricut).

I couldn’t think of a better title than CHORES, so I cut that out. Then I cut out three big stars to put on the bottom.

Next, I glued magnets to wooden coins. Then wrote chores (mainly chores I hate to do and the kids are old enough to do) with money values on each coin.

kids chore chart diy

I put all the chores available on top. If the kids do one of the chores, they move the magnet under the stars and every Sunday I count them up and pay them!

This is a general all-kids chart and is kept in the kitchen for the kids to do as they please. The big rule with this chart is they only get paid if they do it on their own. If I ask them to take out the trash or clean off the stairs–no money for them. These chores have to be done at some point and if they take the initiative and do it before I make them (or do it myself!) they’ll be rewarded.

I made two other charts with the kids’ names on top instead of “chores”. The magnets on these boards have basic everyday responsibilities that they do NOT get paid for: brush teeth, make bed, do dishes, etc. Honestly, I’m still working those out because I’d like to color coat them and say all red magnets need to be done daily and blue magnets done weekly. But I haven’t figured it out quite yet!

So far this big money-making chart has been a hit! Lydia earned her last few dollars and we headed to the American Girl Store and Bistro during Spring Break. Here’s a few pictures of my sweet girl meeting her new BFF, Rebecca…

american girl store atlanta
Standing in line with the big box!

kids chores

The American Girl star sticker only given to girls who buy their own American Girl! (The cashier said, “I don’t give out many of those!”)

american girl rebecca

Together at last!

Our kids are still young, so our chores/allowance philosophy is always evolving. Lydia and I read Three Cups, a fictional story that explains the Save-Give-Spend idea. We have her three jars (which is actually four jars to include a SORT jar for when she finds money around the house or earns an odd amount that can’t be divided easily). I am sure we’ll flesh this out more as she gets older and actually wants cash jingling in her purse. But for now, this was a BIG accomplishment for our little girl!

How do you handle chores, allowances and saving for BIG items?

{ooh, I just found the post about when Lydia first started saving for her American Girl! Almost THREE years ago!}


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linked to I Can Teach My Child


  1. I just discovered your blog today but I am so proud of your daughter for working and saving up so much money! My oldest is 3 and we are about to start saving, giving & spending with him. My husband and I are both “savers” but at this point the 3 year old is definitely a “spender.” Yikes :)

  2. Amanda, thanks for your sweet commnet on my blog, I responded to you there and wanted to stop by your blog as well! The magnetic chore chart is awesome!

  3. That picture of your daughter hugging her doll made me choke up–emotional day here–but still, so sweet!

  4. Way to go, Lydia!! Love the chore chart. I’ve started one on a dry erase board & do the same thing about payment. If the girls do the chore w/out being asked, they’ll get the money, otherwise, they don’t get anything.

  5. Crafty Mama says:

    That’s amazing! :) I always wanted an American Girl when I was little, but I sure didn’t have the patience to save up the money. Your daughter rocks!

  6. Wow, you’re awesome, Lydia! (and Momma!) I know so many people who get their girls these for bdays and Christmas…even had a lady brag between her three girls they owned almost every doll! A sore spot for me as I refuse to spend $100 for a doll…but how awesome to have your daughter save up her own money! How special for her. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Great blog, and kudos to your daughter (and you!) on her accomplishment! We do the “three jars” as well, and I’m keen to try out this chore chart idea…thanks for pointing us to the links on Pinterest as well!

  8. Yay for both of you!! Such a great way to do it & and you can tell how proud she is of her hard work!
    I love seeing how y’all implement the extra chores. We’ve finally gotten the “responsibilities” chart down so I think we definitely need to add this step next. Thanks for showing us how!
    I also wanted to tell you about a system we use to teach our kiddos about $$. One of the “Titus Moms” in my MOPS group created a program called “Faith & Finances” for kids that we LOVE!! Their system actually uses a four-bank system that includes giving, savings, “emergency fund” (if you’re familiar with the Dave Ramsey system) & spending. Anyway, we have had a lot of success with it and believe she’s created a very effective faith-based system for finances. Here’s her link in case you’re interested:

  9. I am in awe of your daughter’s patience! Almost 3 years of saving?! That is awesome. My daughter always says she’s saving, but then spends some. She always has about $5 in her jar, but she can’t save it or she’ll go nuts. LOL!

  10. Lydia is going to treasure that doll so much more than if it had been a gift. I bought my American Doll way back when with my own money as well. She’s packed away to bring out someday for my girls.

    I’ve been trying to figure out a chore chart idea. I like this one. I also like your daily chart idea as well. I need to think about that too.

    • How fun! I love that you’re saving it for a surprise!

      I think chore charts evolve. And maybe even only work for short periods of times before you have to switch them. At least that’s how I am for my own housecleaning checklists! 😉


  11. This is awesome! I pinned this- my son is only 1 and would love to use your methods in the future. Teaching about money is so valuable and you are a doing a great job! Think how much more she appreciates that doll because she worked hard for it then if it were just given to her. What an awesome accomplishment at a young age! (btw, you need a pin it button!! :)

    • :) I thought I had a pin it button on there! Oops!

      I do think she appreciates it more. And I think she’s kinda too young to even know what a great accomplishment it is but now she’ll always have it in her pocket as something she’s always done and will continue to do.

  12. I love the idea for paying them for chores that they do on their own and I love how I never have to waste time looking at other sites. I always come here and find great ideas! My little boy is 4 and I think we’re going try your fruits of the spirit activities this summer. What activities did you do when Lydia was 4? I love your scripture abc and feel a little bad that I missed them with my older son, but I can’t wait to do them with my younger son. I like how you incorporated learning with scripture. Did you do something along this line when Lydia was 4. Thanks so much!

    • I think I started doing the ABC crafts w/Lydia when she was 2! And the Fruit of the Spirit crafts were probably b/w 3-4. I think almost anything I’ve posted can be modified for younger and older. And sometimes I did stuff that was too old for them (or too young) and they still got something out of it! The most important thing is that you’re just doing SOMETHING!

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

  13. Two of my girls got American Girl dolls for Christmas. What a wonderful gift for girls.

    I love the way your daughter saved for her doll. What a great way to teach her a necessary life skill.

  14. Bravo lydia! your hard work payed off!

    We call our “Chores” “Work Jobs”. I like the idea of instilling a love for hard work, and my boys love the correlation between their jobs and their daddy’s job.

  15. Love this! I just reserved this book at the library after reading this post. My daughter is saving for a Doc McStuffins house (wooden playhouse) It’s $2000! But she can’t be deterred so I guess we will let her keep saving!
    I’m good about having her do chores but stink at remembering to pay her. I like that you assigned $ to each job. That might be easier to keep up with.

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  1. […] Chore Charts and an American Girl – Impress Your Kids Amanda shares a great DIY chore chart for kids (and the story of her daughter saving her money for an American Girl doll.) […]

  2. […] Chore Charts and an American Girl – Impress Your Kids Amanda shares a great DIY chore chart for kids (and the story of her daughter saving her money for an American Girl doll.) […]

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