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4 Summer job ideas for kids

While many kids are looking forward to the summer break as a chance to relax and have fun, some might want to earn some play money. Summer jobs are usually thought of as lawn mowing and lifeguarding, but I have some other things your teen may want to try.

Early work experience builds skills

Having a job is more than just a paycheck—it’s an opportunity for teens to be productive and engaged in the community, offers social engagement and encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. Working is a great chance to develop soft skills – essential things employers are looking for at any job. Here are a few soft skills kids might learn in a work environment and some ideas of how to practice at home.

  • Communication – Role play through different work scenarios like requesting time off, calling in sick or working through a peer conflict.
  • Teamwork – Practice by organizing an activity at home such as cooking a meal together. Assign roles and discuss how everyone can communicate and work together.
  • Problem-solving – When your child is dealing with a challenge at home, opt to let them find a solution on their own before offering help. Talk through mock scenarios of common issues in a work environment (i.e., not knowing how to do a task, making a mistake, etc.) and work through ideas to manage.
  • Professionalism – Practice cell phone etiquette when you order takeout or having them make their own doctor’s appointment with your supervision, talk about/practice writing professional emails and ways to be respectful with customers and peers.
  • Adaptability – When doing typical tasks at home like cleaning, cooking, or day planning, try to create a situation where something is out of routine or different than normal—perhaps a key ingredient is missing from a recipe or their transportation to work was unavailable. Then, walk through possible solutions or ways to adapt.             

Summer job ideas for teens

1. Seasonal work – There are many opportunities for short-term job opportunities. Here are a few ideas.

  • Worlds of Fun
  • Local pools
  • KC Zoo
  • Youth sports referee
  • Golf course attendants
  • Summer camp counselors
  • Nanny or babysit in-home or a local daycare
  • Dog walker or pet sitter
  • Landscaper
  • Tutor
  • Restaurant server/host
  1. Internships – Shift your thinking to applying for jobs, to internships. A chance to learn on the job, a great resume-builder, and some might even pay. Do a quick search for “summer high school internships near me” and see what interests your student!
  2. Youth programs – Along the lines of thinking outside the box, consider work-study programs and workforce partnerships. Here are a few places to start.
  1. Volunteer – I know, I know - It won’t come with a paycheck, but volunteering would give back to the community, provide an opportunity to learn important work skills and would facilitate valuable connections and networking opportunities.

Bonus idea: there are also great programs to help teens explore different careers. A way to test the waters for future jobs to help them explore their interests. 

As your teen is considering what to do this summer, remember downtime is a good thing, too. Resting and recharging before the start of another school year is a great way to de-stress and a chance to get ready to learn again.

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Project RISE Manager