10 Pioneer Skills Every 12 Year Old Should Know

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Here are 10 pioneer skills every 12-year-old should know. I have grandkids and I know their parents have taught them well, and for this, I am very proud.  I also realize we need to brush up on some of these 10 pioneer skills so the entire family can work on them together. Here’s the deal, our kids or grandkids will not have to use first aid skills every day, I get it. But, we want them to be self-reliant so if we are not around they will know what to do if someone is cut, scraped or even sunburned. This will give them the confidence to deal with these 10 pioneer skills without feeling quite as scared or nervous.

Related: 10 Important Pioneer Skills that We Need

I realize some parents are both working, and there are single parents who are working one or two jobs just to make ends meet. It’s expensive to feed a large family compared to when I had children. I honestly do not know how some people feed their families with the price of food these days. I know, I can hear you, we raised our family on beans and rice and Mark and I still eat those items to this day. I love beans, just so you know, and the price of them is fabulous! I have these 10 pioneer skills and I will add yours if you have some I should add to my list.

10 Pioneer Skills:


Every child needs to learn to cook from scratch and not just how to open a can of food, although that would be great too! Hopefully, at this age, they know how to boil water, cook pasta, make salad dressing from scratch, to name just a few.  I have seen 12-year old kids that can make boiled eggs, biscuits, homemade bread, and to make a complete dinner. I love this!

2.Wash Clothes

By the age of 12, or younger, the kids can do their own laundry, help with the family wash, and transfer the wash from the washer to the dryer. Pioneers didn’t have this luxury, but we do. But laundry is laundry, being self-reliant makes a child happy and confident. It’s surprising how much cleaner their rooms are if they have to do their own laundry, or it can be worse because they are expected to their laundry! I have to laugh because I know this from experience, and those involved will remain nameless.

3.First Aid

Doesn’t feel wonderful when we see that an older child has cleaned a sibling’s wound, applied a salve complete with a band-aid if needed? This makes a mom and dad proud! Now in order to achieve this goal with a few first aid skills, the kids will need to know where the supplies are stashed. I use containers with drawers and they are labeled with stickers to show what is in each drawer, like band-aids, Neosporin, etc. I highly recommend this book where the kids can look through it when needed, or just to study before the information is really needed. Medical Handbook

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4.Canning and Preserving Food

My family grew up canning and dehydrating everything we could possibly grow or pick. We grew, picked, washed and snapped green beans and then canned them. Oh, peaches were our favorite, they were easy to can in quart mason jars. Cherries were okay, but we liked them fresh. We made grape juice with the grapes we raised, tomatoes were easy to can in quart jars as well. There is something about making salsa together and spaghetti sauce as a family. I bet you can picture the whole family lined up with their particular job to preserve the items so we had food stored for the year. It seems like we have preserved every fruit and vegetable known to man. This year is the first year I pressured canned meat. Unfortunately, my daughters have not carried on this tradition but they all work hard raising their families and teaching them so many other skills they need to use as they leave the nest, so to speak.


I love it when my granddaughters and grandsons come and want to learn how to sew and quilt. I purchased a sewing machine for two daughters so when I go to their house if they need help with a sewing project I can help them. It makes me smile when I see my two grandsons and granddaughters sewing or mending their own clothes. They buy clothes from thrift stores and alter them, woohoo! Way to go by saving money!


This is a great skill whether they go to a garage sale or they are overcharged at a local grocery store. They need to know it’s okay to speak up if they are overcharged even $.25. We need to teach them money is money, learning to watch your pennies is a critical skill because we need that $.25 more than the store who may accidentally overcharge us needs it.

7.Being Polite

Wow, I don’t know where to start on this one. I am shocked at what I see at some of my local grocery stores, some of the kids are running all over while their mom or dad is talking on the phone. I feel we need to teach the art of saying please, thank you and the skill of being grateful for what we have. I have seen a lot of children who are so darn cute and polite, doesn’t it just melt your heart? I raised my girls to use a napkin at the table, whether paper or cloth. It’s the little things like teaching children to eat with their mouths closed. It’s critical to teach them to say excuse me or pardon me when walking in front of someone. I was so proud of one of my granddaughters mentioning she was surprised her date didn’t open the car door for her, she was used to her dad doing this for her. A good example of a parent is everything, right? Teach our children that bullying is wrong.

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This one is so different today compared to when I was raising my kids. We didn’t have cell phones with texting or using the phone in the car. I have seen young girls filling their gas tanks talking on the phone unaware of what’s going on around them. I listened to a woman who gave a talk about how her husband was killed and she was critically injured because a woman was texting and hit them with her car while they were holding hands walking on the sidewalk.

Life changed in an instant for them. I really wish the state I live in would make texting or calling on a cell phone while driving a misdemeanor, or whatever is needed to teach them a lesson. A young girl 16 years old was texting while driving her car and died after driving off an embankment near our neighborhood. Life will never be the same for her family. Luckily no one else was hurt. Please teach your children to be aware of their surroundings, not to be fearful, but be aware of what’s going on around them.


It’s very important that our families know where to navigate in our community and have the confidence to know how to make it home safely if they need to because of a disaster, flood or unforeseen emergency.


In Utah, we have a lot of game meat hunter’s, so it’s important that our children respect a weapon and what it can do. Please keep them locked up and out of the reach of children. A safe is a great place to keep them, along with the ammunition. Please teach them how to shoot, load, and clean a weapon if you use them. Safety is everything.

I only talked about these 10 pioneer skills today in order to teach the next generation to keep these skills going forward. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected, may God bless this world.

Vintage Skills

First Aid Kit

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

14 thoughts on “10 Pioneer Skills Every 12 Year Old Should Know

  • July 17, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Everyone that cans need to remember to BE CAREFUL. I have canned for 25 to 30 years and everything
    has turned out great but this year I burned myself. I mean 2nd degree burns. I was taking a jar out of the boiling water and it slipped out of my hand and back into the water and it splashed out on me. I lifted my shirt
    to find my skin peeling off. I grabbed an ice cube and rubbed on it. I finished canning and sat with ice
    on my burn then put Neosporen on it and covered it up so I could hopefully sleep. I ended up at the Doctor
    the next day. I haven’t been in much pain but now that it’s healing and the burn is on my stomach where
    my pants hit I have pain at times now. Like I said out of all these years nothing now this, just BE VERY CAREFUL.

    • July 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Hi, June, oh my gosh, that has never happened to me either! OUCH! Great tip for all of us to be careful with the boiling water and the HOT jars! Wow, I hope you get better really soon. Burns hurt! Hugs, Linda

  • July 17, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Great list! My kids are learning to do all of these except two. They’ve seen me canning and sewing, but I’ve never really taken the time to involve them and teach them these two skills. Thank you for the reminder that I need to teach and not just do. 🙂

    • July 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Hi, Cindy, I remember thinking when my girls were young I need to do the laundry so it will be done right. I finally had to say, when are they going to learn to do it right? What is right, anyway? LOL! I love your comment! Linda

  • July 17, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I would like to share the name of a wonderful product. It is called BURN FREE!!! Saw it purchased it at our Spring Fair, many years ago. I keep some in the kitchen & bathroom.
    I accidently was falling & caught myself on a red hot burner with my open hand!!! Crabbed the burn free & it immediately stopped the pain! Put it on several times & my hand didn’t even blister!!! When this was demonstrated to us at the Fair, the man showing us the product smeared it on & ran a blow torch over it on his arm & he didn’t even turn red!! Another thing you can use is Vanilla Extract. This is a hint from my German grandma. I keep a wide mouth half pint with vanilla (cheap from the $ store) in my cupboard when I’m baking. Thanks for the hints. My family always canned together. 1 son & 2 daughters & husband.

    • July 17, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Hi LaRene, I have Burn Free and love it! I did not know about the Vanilla Extract, I love old pioneer tips from our ancestors! Hugs, girlfriend! Linda

  • July 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Linda, you don’t look old enough to have a granddaughter that is dating!!!

    • July 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Hi Val, I’m 67 and have 17 grandkids! You are so nice! Hugs! Linda

      • July 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        Well in that case I think you should do a post on what all your secrets are!!!

  • July 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I believe I read on your post that you can’t knit or crochet because you are left handed. I am in the same boat, I just googled and there are a lot of sites where they teach it. I just thought of googling it, don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

    • July 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Val, why didn’t I think of doing that? We will have to compare notes if we learn how to knit or crochet!! Love it! Linda

      • July 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

        Absolutely, except you will probably get to it before me, as I have just got into the prepping so that is way down on my list.
        But be sure to let me know if you succeed and what the best website is, if you will please.
        Keep up the great posts, absolutely love them they are so informative.


        • July 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm

          Hi, Val, prepping is very easy. It’s actually a way of life for me. I say, buy an extra can or two of food and one or two gallons of water as you can afford them. My biggest concern is where I live. I probably won’t learn how to knit or crochet anytime soon so I can teach the world to be prepared. LOL! Linda


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