Toddlers love to help out.

How to Make a Magnetic Chore Chart

by Shara JJ Cooper

Your house is a mess. It's ok. It happens to all of us. Your kids tear behind you as you clean, leaving a bigger disaster than if you had never started cleaning. The good news is that even toddlers can help you clean. Give them a chore chart as soon as they are able to manage small tasks like sweeping or picking up their toys. They don't have to do them well, and they probably won't: They just need to make a decent attempt. This paves the way for excellent chore completion skills in the future and it all starts with a chore chart.

Chore Chart

Calculate how big you want your chore chart. If you are only using it for one child, an 12- by- 18 inch chart works well, unless you are hoping he'll sterilize the whole house. Then, you'll need a much larger one.

Ask the staff at your home supply store to cut a piece of sheet metal to size. This is much easier and much safer than doing it yourself. Store personnel often do this for free or for a nominal fee, if you ask nicely or look particularly frazzled.

Paint lettering and lines on the chipboard using a stencil and enamel spray paint. Cover the surfaces where you don't want paint with newspaper or the stencil, and paint the remaining area. Use short, even strokes of spray pain to coat the sheetmetal. Allow it to dry according to package instructions. You won't want to smudge this stuff, it's hard to remove.

Coat the sheetmetal in three coats of a polyurethane protective spray to keep the enamel paint from chipping. Let the polyurethane dry between coats according to the instructions. For many brands, this means that it's dry enough to touch.

Mount your sheetmetal in a 12-by-18 inch picture frame. This gives the edges a finished touch and prevents your little ones from catching their fingers on it. It also makes it ridiculously easy to hang.


Print out a list of chores you want your preschooler to do. Don't get overly ambitious, they won't be able to do everything. Instead of words, use small graphics of the chore and print those out. Some simple chores are: Get dressed, make your bed, sweep the floor and pick up toys. A picture of clothes, a bed, broom and toy chest are good images for these chores. Modify the chore magnets to include words when your child is ready to read.

Cut out each chore to fit around a glass disc. Cover the back of the disc with thin layer of repositionable glue and paste the paper on so that you see the graphic through the glass disc.

Cut strips of magnetic paper to fit the back of the glass discs. Remove the adhesive paper and put a dab of hot glue on to reinforce the adhesive. Stick the magnets to the back of the glass disc.

Items you will need

  • Thin sheetmetal
  • Enamel spray paint
  • Stencil
  • Newspaper
  • Polyurethane spray
  • Picture frame
  • Glass discs
  • Repositionable glue
  • Magnetic strips
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun

About the Author

Shara JJ Cooper graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2000, and has worked professionally ever since. She has a passion for community journalism, but likes to mix it up by writing for a variety of publications. Cooper is the owner/editor of the Boundary Sentinel, a web-based newspaper.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images