There are lots of children’s activities that spring to mind at the mention of “Summer,” but few are as classic as the lemonade stand. Lemonade stands are a fun outdoor activity that will not only keep your kids occupied for an afternoon, but will also teach them a surprising number of lessons. Here are a few key areas to bear in mind when helping your child build their beverage empire:
Planning – A great life lesson from starting a lemonade stand is the importance of making and executing a plan. Successful juice stands don’t just happen you know! You have to pick a location for your stand that is both safe (not too close to the street) but also has customers. An intersection or park can have these qualities, but be sure to check what your town’s rules are on the subject. In front of your home is also a popular option.
Next, you’ll need to get a table and chairs together for your stand. Once those are set up, spruce them up with a table cloth and decorations. Remember, you want your stand to be inviting to people who walk or drive past. People should immediately know that this is a lemonade stand, so make sure you have a large sign that proclaims you are selling lemonade and its price (after you’ve determined what the price is, of course). All so be sure to have cups to serve the lemonade in and napkins in case of any accidents.
Recipes – Once your stand is ready, it’s time to mix up some lemonade to sell. Lemonade from concentrate or powder is a simple way to stock your stand’s inventory. Or you can make a gallon of lemonade from scratch! Just mix one gallon of water, two cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice–careful not to let it squirt in your eyes!–and two cups of white sugar. Stir until it is mixed evenly. From there, you can experiment with more lemon juice or sugar, to create your own signature taste.
Money – Handling money is a key piece of running any small business. First you’ll need to decide the sales price of your lemonade. This should be based on the time and money that goes into making it. If you’re selling lemonade made from concentrate or powder, 25 to 50 cents is usually appropriate. But for lemonade made from fresh ingredients or sold in large cups, a dollar is a fair price. Remember, while you probably won’t be getting rich from your lemonade stand, you don’t want to be losing money either. Find the balance between cost and profit.
You’ll also want to have some starting money on hand to make change for customers. If you’re not charging an even dollar amount for your lemonade, be sure to have appropriate coinage and a container to hold the money. Make a note of how much starting money you have, so it will be easy to keep track of any profits.
Customer Service – Speaking to the customers who visit your stand is a skill that is often overlooked. Once they come to you and say they want lemonade, the rest should take care of itself, right? But interacting with people in a simple transaction setting like this is a great opportunity to teach professional social skills to your children. Go over with your kids all of the important things you should say to each customer. For example, “The lemonade costs 1 dollar,” or “Thank you and please tell your friends.” When giving customers their change, have your child practice counting it out for them. And above all else, be friendly and welcoming to people who visit your stand.
By following these simple guidelines, you and your family should be well on their way to a successful lemonade stand. And keep in mind, a lemonade stand’s success is not measured just in money earned, but in following through on what you set out to do. And even if the stand makes no money, your children will have learned lessons that are applicable beyond the word of lemonade. And we can all drink to that!
Photo credit: Keith Syvinski