18 Old-Fashioned Skills Kids Should Learn

There are some old-fashioned skills that kids should learn that will benefit them in life. While we often forgo teaching them to our children, thinking it’s not necessary anymore, one day they could use those skills if they have them, even if they are labeled as “old-fashioned.”

skills every kid should know

Every generation changes. Things become old-fashioned and are replaced with new items. The same goes for skills. Some skills may seem out-dated and replaced with newer things to learn.

I definitely don’t want to minimize the importance of learning new skills for things that are more modern. It’s so important. Take for instance computers, and all that goes with it. Our kids need to learn their way around a computer because pretty much the only way they’ll avoid needing to use one in their lifetime is if they became Amish. And I hear that’s not easy to do.

However, there are also old-fashioned skills that are becoming “lost skills.” It used to be that many of us would learn these things from our parents and grandparents, but somewhere along the way we are losing those skills to teach.

The awesome thing about learning more modern skills is that they can help you learn old-fashioned skills. What do I mean by that? Well, for me I didn’t have a grandparent or a parent to teach me things like sewing, cooking, canning, crocheting, or gardening. So what did I do? I turned to the internet of course. 🙂

Over the years I have watched many Youtube videos and read many tutorials to learn new things. So the great thing is, you can always learn something new these days!

There are some old-fashioned skills that I think are important for kids to learn. Even if you don’t know how to do these skills, you can turn to the internet, or a friend who may be able to help you get started.


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Write a letter.

I get it, the internet makes it so easy for us to just send an e-mail. However, do you remember the feeling of getting a letter in the mail? There is something about hand-written mail that is so special.  You can even get your child started on letter writing with some cute stationery that will make it fun to send letters!

Write in cursive.

Many schools are no longer teaching cursive. Some say people don’t use it anymore so kids don’t need to. Here’s my thought on that. Even if my kids never write cursive a day in their life as they get older, they will be able to read historic documents. They will be able to read old letters they find in a relative’s attic. If you can’t write in cursive you won’t be able to read it.  Check out these free cursive worksheets you can print off.

Make a phone call.

It’s crazy to think how this is becoming an old-fashioned skill. However, with the rise of texting, messaging, and emailing, phone calls are rarely made. Look, I totally get this one – I don’t like the phone at all and I dread making phone calls. But if I absolutely have to, I can make one. Our kids will one day need to call to make their own appointments and arrangements in their life, so let’s teach them how to use the phone.

How to budget.

There’s a reason you can find cute t-shirts on this blog about how saving money is a superpower – because that’s how strongly I believe in what budgeting can do for you and your family and it’s a message we want to pass on to our children.  This is one of those things that is so insanely important. Many of us left high school and went off to college without ever sitting down with a pencil and a paper to make a budget. Learning how to make a budget can save a lot of financial hardship down the road.

How to do basic sewing.

When it comes to sewing, I’ve got nothing to brag about. Actually, I’m quite horrible at it. But, I can sew on a button if need be, and I can sew a straight line which means I can hem pants, and I even made curtains for a trailer once. You can learn basic sewing skills from Youtube very easily.

How to cook.

Kids need to learn how to cook. They don’t need to know how to make fancy meals, but they should know the basics so they can cook for themselves. Of course, depending on their age will be how much you teach them, but the older they get the more they should learn.  Check out this book of recipes for kids to help you get started.

How to grow something.

No matter where your child goes in life, they can always have the opportunity to grow their own food. They could live in an apartment and still grow a pot of tomatoes. This is such a good skill to have.  There are many starter kits for kids if you want to go that route, and personally I love this pizza garden kit for all the kids who adore pizza!

How to preserve food.

Every year there is so much food waste. I know I’m guilty of it. Learning how to preserve food not only cuts back on waste, but can help your child save money on that budget they learned how to do. 🙂 Teach them how to do some canning, or how to freeze things for proper storage, or how to dehydrate certain foods. Don’t know how to do it yourself? Again, this is something I learned from the internet.

How to light a fire.

Whether it be for camping, a wood stove, or a fireplace, lighting a fire can literally save their life in an emergency. I actually only learned how to light a fire two years ago when we finally moved out to our homestead. It was embarrassing that I didn’t know how to do it before.

Caring for animals.

Whether it be as a pet or for farming, there is so much benefit in a child learning to care for an animal. Pet-wise it gives them a sense of responsibility, and farm-wise it helps them become a part of caring for their food. Having some laying hens to teach kids where their food comes from is an easy place to start. Of course, if you don’t have a place to keep chickens, there are plenty of 4-h programs kids can get involved in.

Cleaning the home.

I have to admit, I drop the ball on this one A LOT. But our kids need to know how to properly clean a home so that they will be able to keep their own home one day. And it has to go beyond just doing it in front of them and hoping they learn that way. They have to be able to actually do the chore themselves. Otherwise, they will struggle to learn as an adult. This has definitely been my own personal experience.

Use basic tools.

Kids should learn how to use things like a screw driver, a hammer, even a power drill (under parent supervision of course.) I’ve met people who weren’t even sure how to hammer a nail into a wall as adults. It may seem like something everyone knows, but unless someone shows them how to do it, it’s easy for it to be a skill that they just don’t know.

Bake bread.

Okay, I get that you could go your whole life without ever baking bread, but have you had homemade bread? It’s a skill kids need to learn in my opinion. Plus, once you teach them, guess who you can ask to make you a loaf of fresh goodness? Along with bread it’s a good idea to teach them how to bake in general.  Check out my tutorial on how to bake bread.

Read a map.

Yes, GPS is an amazing invention. And Yes, my gps has steered me wrong many times. (It may have something to do with the fact that it’s over 10 years old.) Point is, there may be a time they don’t have access to GPS, or their GPS is failing them. So, map reading is super important.  Get your child started with map reading with this awesome book.

How to iron.

Honestly, I rarely iron. But see that key-word in there? Rarely. Which means that sometimes I do. And more than likely your child will need to iron a shirt one day too.

How to “push through.”

I wouldn’t really categorize this as an old-fashioned skill necessarily, but it definitely isn’t a modern one either. When I’m talking about pushing through, I mean finishing a task they hate, following through on a commitment they made even though they want to give up, or graciously accepting the fact that they lost (a sport, an award, a job position) and that not everyone gets a participation medal.

How to do laundry.

Years ago when I worked at a camp there was a teen who was trying to do her laundry. She had shoved all the clothes into the washer as tightly as they could, not realizing you couldn’t do that. Again, another skill that if we don’t teach them, how will they know how to do it properly? And let’s be real here – everyone needs clean clothes.

How to use the library.

With the rise of eBooks and the popularity of the internet, there are many kids who haven’t stepped into their public library. Not only should kids know how to use the library and to get their own library card, but they should read good old-fashioned hard copy books. I have nothing against eReaders, but I think if we never pick up actual books we are missing out on a beautiful experience.


So there you have it. 18 old-fashioned skills kids need to learn. And hey, if you don’t know how to do any of those skills, it’s never too late to learn them for yourself as well. Don’t feel intimidated by the fact that you may not know how to do something as there are so many others in your position.

That’s why all it takes is a quick google search of basically anything you want to learn, and more than likely you’ll have hundreds and even thousands of results on how to learn those things because there is clearly a demand for it.

2 thoughts on “18 Old-Fashioned Skills Kids Should Learn”

  1. I love your list of skills, and am glad that as I read the post I could check off every one of them! We have 8 children, and these things are all just part of our daily life (not all at the same time, mind you, but seasonally). These skills are so important to feel comfortable in doing them. What has been really fun to watch is how each of our children develop real strengths in one or more of these areas as their interests guide them to pursue more knowledge and grow in their skills.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Yes, it’s so fun watching our children grow more confident in the skills needed to get them ahead in life one day. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job with your kids, even with being so busy with 8. 🙂

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