With Summer officially here, there’s nothing more reminiscent of our childhood, or more symbolic of a young child’s inner entrepreneur, than the classic lemonade stand. And what a perfect opportunity to pull out multiple teaching moments from this one endeavour.
Of course there’s the creative side of things:
1. How to make lemonade: Whether you are doing this from scratch or from a can, children learn how to follow simple directions, plus how to set up and clean up as needed.
2. How to attract customers: Marketing tools like a BIG, colourful sign with all the right information on it is a project in and of itself. You may also want to create several smaller signs to post around the neighbourhood. Allow your child to pipe in with suggestions – they will probably have some great ideas on how to let people know they are ready for business! Things can get as ‘pinteresting’ as you want them to. Check out this site for some ideas if you think this kind of thing is ‘easy peasy lemon squeezey’ (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
Then there’s the business side of things:
1. Location, location, location: Pick a premium spot that is visible to passing cars or people walking by, but allows for cars to safely pull over.
2. The operations crew: Is there an adult operations manager required? This would depend on the age of the child(ren) and/or the location of the stand. How many other people are on the team? It might be fun to partner up with some neighbourhood kids!
3. How much to charge for a cup: I’ve stopped at stands and paid anything from $0.25 to $2.00 for a cup. By donation with a suggested minimum is also a good way to do things. Sometimes all people have on them is a $5 bill. Score!
4. Simple math: If you do charge a set amount, simple math skills come into play when figuring out what change to give back.
And last but definitely NOT least, there’s the charity side of things! Because every business should be charitable, and there’s no better time to learn that than as a young person, this is the twist part that adds a dimension to the classic lemonade stand that will hopefully carry over into other areas of your child’s life.
1. Select a charity to donate to: Do this in the way you feel best. I like to offer two options to keep things simple, that reflect the child’s interests.
2. Figure out the percentage of sales you wish to donate. This fosters more math skills and of course, don’t forget to include this information in the marketing! Wouldn’t you be more inclined to stop for a cup of (sometimes luke-warm…let’s be honest) lemonade if you knew 50% of your donation was going to a good cause?
3. Go one step further with the donation by personally delivering or somehow involving your child in learning more about the organization you are supporting. See here for an example of how we did this with our local food bank.
Think it’s far-fetched to make a lemonade stand a charitable operation? Check out this 3 minute video of a brave little girl named Alex who left behind a legacy of hope through her lemonade stands. She lost her fight to cancer but she did amazing work with the lemons she was handed.
So, go on, grab some kids and turn this into a project you can enjoy from start to finish!