Early earning ideas for an 11-year old?
January 15, 2013 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What are some ideas for real earning activities for an 11-year old? Our son would love to find something he can do to top up his pocket money. Preferably something real-world, or even virtual; he likes things that have a purpose.

For context:large European city; child employment as un-legal here as anywhere; house-work is not an option.
posted by progosk to Work & Money (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Dog walking? Or, depending on the season, raking leaves or shoveling snow.
posted by something something at 3:10 PM on January 15, 2013

Dog-walking or pet care? Could even include pet sitting with your help, I think.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:10 PM on January 15, 2013

Best answer: When I was his age I use to earn money when my neighbors would go out of town - watering plants, picking up mail and papers, etc.

I had Better than a Lemonade Stand as a kid which was pretty helpful.

It would help if you could tell us how mature he is and what he is interested in. If he likes animals and is trustworthy, maybe he could do some light pet-sitting.
posted by radioamy at 3:11 PM on January 15, 2013

Amazon Mechanical Turk, although he could only get paid in Amazon gift certificates and I don't know if there is a minimum age.
posted by jacalata at 3:19 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: He's very into animals (the whole gamut from insects to dogs), and has kept a-many, though he does tend to be pretty... fantasy-speculative about and with them, so though very loving, not always 100% rationally responsible. He has a thing for sketching funny comic strips and elaborate drawings (either nature or combat scenes), and is passionate about discovering and saving the planet (so geo-caching/WWF/collaborative science projects are things he's into); apart from which, Nerf and Minecraft, Lego and some pottery every now and then.
posted by progosk at 3:30 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a kid in our neighborhood who sets out a stand and makes balloon animals. A novel idea and if he's there, we always buy a few.

I love that kid.
posted by 26.2 at 3:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Mechanical Turk has a minimum age of 18. Sorry.
posted by Nomyte at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a kid in our neighborhood who sets out a stand and makes balloon animals. A novel idea and if he's there, we always buy a few.

It sounds ridiculous, but you need to be careful of local bylaws or municipal ordinances that regulate selling on the street. Not a big deal, but you never know.

We live in an urban neighbourhood at the edge of the tourist district, and during the summer cruise ship passengers walk about a mile or so from the cruise ship terminal through our neighbourhood (there is a lot of greenery and Victorian architecture), and our corner is adjacent to a large museum and the legislature precincts.

So my son has put up a lemonade stand, and the tourists will often give him a dollar, five bucks or whatever for a glass of lemonade.

He can make a hundred bucks in a weekend, which makes me nervous about bylaw officers.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2013

Maybe some light landscaping work for some neighbors, or maybe more specifically assisting in light manual work, such as weeding, dragging away branches, carting off things in a wheelbarrow.
posted by kuanes at 4:38 PM on January 15, 2013

Best answer: My mother and I are paying my nephew to scan old family photos (and name them with any labels currently on them). I'm helping him learn how to make a website with basic info so he can offer to do this for others.
posted by adorap0621 at 5:15 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My nephew and his mom needed to think of some jobs he could offer to do for people in the neighborhood. She called a couple of nice neighbors and told them about it. "I'm not asking you to hire him. Would you be willing to talk with him for ten minutes and suggest ways he can give other neighbors a hand?" So he went very seriously and 'interviewed' them, got a lot of ideas, and each one did call on him to do yard work, help clean out the garage, that sort of thing. After quizzing those two neighbors, he had a litte more confidence about approaching other people.

I just checked with him, and here are some things he's done: ripping CDs for people who wanted the music on their computer; shoveling snow; washing garbage, recycling, and compost bins with soap and water; cleaning out litter box; standing by with trash bags and boxes for a neighbor who was weeding out closets, and then carrying stuff to the attic, the car, and the curb.
posted by wryly at 7:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Online business! Have him do some reading and learning about it, and come up with a product for kids or adults.
posted by 3491again at 8:02 PM on January 15, 2013

Best answer: is passionate about discovering and saving the planet

Do any of your neighbors need help with gardening? Composting? Building bird/bat houses? Replanting things? Perhaps an older neighbor with bad knees? If he likes books, you could also see if there is anyone (especially an older person) who could use a companion for help with reading the newspaper or things like that.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:05 PM on January 15, 2013

Scanning photos idea reminded me that tech savvy nephew made some good money transferring elderly friends' music to iTunes for them, and then trained them to use the software to move things around and make playlists.
posted by chapps at 9:20 PM on January 15, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions - especially liking the idea of getting him to poll the neighbors; will come back with what worked out.
posted by progosk at 10:01 PM on January 15, 2013

When I was a kid, my family lived in an apartment building. My sister and I had a THRIVING business of going door to door after dinner and offering to take people's trash out.

It helped that we lived in a college community, but we made a regular thing out of it. First we'd take our own trash to the dumpster, then we'd go door to door. We lived in a 60 unit building and at a nickel a bag (Most paid more) we'd clear around $2.00 per night. Not bad for 1972. We took about an hour or so every night.

You could charge about a quarter a bag now, most people will pay more, and you can get a regular clientele.

This is primarily for places where the garbage is a minimal hassle to get to.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:20 AM on January 16, 2013

I pay a 9-near-old neigbor to catsit when I'm out of town. He comes by twice a day to feed them and scoop the litterbox, and each time he comes he gets a Lego minifig I've bought and set out for him to grab. We both feel like we're getting a deal.

The catch: his mom comes along with him. She's fine with this, because she sees it as an educational and professional opportunity for her son.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:39 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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