Even though summer has arrived, my wife and I do not plan to slow down our children’s learning activities. We might, however, make many of our lessons less traditional. Summer at our house isn’t really the time to tell the kids, “Sit at the kitchen table and finish your multiplication.” (Actually, we rarely do that during any season).
Instead, we try to devise fun activities that will get them where they want to be: outside and interacting with others. And nothing is better than the quintessential summer job for kids: running a lemonade stand.
Our girls are delightfully capitalistic. They always want to figure out ways of making money or starting their own business. They don’t beg for spare change from us; they don’t expect a free allowance. No, they enjoy earning money through their own hard work an ingenuity. And they are always itching to open up a lemonade stand. Even on a rainy day!
So, in the coming weeks, we will be operating a lemonade stand — and in the process the girls will be learning about spending, saving, and investing.
First, they need a lemonade stand to set-up shop. In the past, Sunkist has offered free lemonade stands, however due to popular demand, they have since run out of their promotional stands. However, it’s good to be on the look out — check online and see what you can find. The girls came up with the idea to get free boxes from their local Costco. Not a bad idea — and it will be fun to watch them build their own homemade stand.
Next, the girls will be pooling their money together to buy the lemonade ingredients as well as the cups, napkins, and additional supplies. I think it’s important that the kids purchase these items with their money, and not have the parents buy the material. My girls will be creating an account sheet, with an itemized list of purchases and expenses. That way, they’ll know how much they need to earn to break even.
Third step: figure out price. There’s a classic game called “Lemonade Stand” that has been around since the early days of personal computers. Best of all, there’s a free version that you can play right now! This game helps kids learn about pricing. How much should they charge? How much is too expensive? Too cheap? Of course, the game is quite different than real-life… but it will help with the initial choices regarding price. One thing I want the girls to figure out for themselves: how much lemonade should be in each cup? That’s something I hope they’ll learn through trial and error. (Because if they sell 12 oz of lemonade for a mere quarter, they’ll run out of supplies mighty quick!)
Finally, at the end of the day it will be time to count up their profits (or lack thereof.) The girls will tally up the numbers, and then decide what their plan of action will be for their next lemonade adventure.
And, of course, the girls might not simply be seeking their own financial gain. There is a wonderful charity called Alex’s Lemonade Stand. It was started by a young girl who started a lemonade stand to help children (like herself) who are diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, Alex passed in 2004. However, her charity organization lives on and kids all over the country donate some or all of their proceeds to help fight cancer.