Most of us can likely conjure up memories of lemonade stands or other entrepreneurial endeavours from our own childhoods. I recall lemonade stands, as well as a season where some friends and I sold slushies made with our Snoopy slush machine and mini donuts coated in white powdered sugar that we purchased at the grocery store. We worked hard for our money, biking to the store, picking out the best donuts, cranking that Snoopy slush machine handle round and round…
Our children (ages 3, 6, 9 and a 13 year old who helps them out) are following suit and love their annual lemonade stand out at the lake house. Lemons are squeezed, maple syrup added, stirred and fingers licked, markers and crayons are busied making signs. The kids make flyers with the date and time and go up and down the cottage area belting out the good news of the lemonade to come. There is a lot of pride in the autonomy of the whole thing, this lemonade business of theirs.
As I write this, I am reminded of some news in the past couple of years about lemonade stands being shut down. Thankfully, we haven’t dealt with that in our area of the world. Lemonade stands and other projects like this are so empowering for children, and well, just plain fun.
The following are some tips for your next lemonade stand project:
1. Try different flavours.
Our kids chose to try blueberry and strawberry to increase the appeal of their stand.
2. Let your children be the boss.
Facilitate their experience, offer suggestions if you’d like – but if they decline, let it go – they are exercising an important decision-making muscle and experiencing calling the shots!
3. Be prepared (and have fun!)
Stock up on cups and napkins (making some cloth napkins would be a fun side project), poster paper and markers, and make sure to have a float so the kids can give change if necessary. Note in their sign, that the kids chose to give a discount to any customer willing to suck on a lemon! That was a hoot!
4. Make it a learning experience.
Well, how can it not be, really? Even if you don’t go out of your way to make it happen, your children will learn so much – how to make lemonade, how to interact with customers, some money and counting skills, and depending on age possibly some more advanced business skills like marketing and budgeting. Our children kept track of their three flavours on a simple paper chart. Now they know that blueberry lagged far behind strawberry and plain, and this season they can choose to stick with the more popular two or they can add in a new flavour.
Who doesn’t love seeing little ones playing shop-keeper? These stands seem to create such a cheerful atmosphere. People come out of the woodwork to support their little neighbours, friends join in the fun, cars stop and the kids cheer. It’s a good feeling all around. If lemonade isn’t your kids’ cup of tea, consider suggesting a mini farmer’s market selling your garden produce, a yard sale where the kids choose some of their items to sell, a bake sale, etc.
We’d love to hear some of your tips and ideas!