An afternoon of running a lemonade stand is full of valuable learning opportunities. The iconic childhood activity should be more than time spent in the hot summer sun occupying time. Take advantage of teaching your kids the following business lessons that will help make their lemonade stands stand out.
Everything Has a Cost
Here at Biz in a Boxx, we’ve spent countless hours teaching kids all about running lemonade stands and the primary concept they have a hard time figuring out is that everything has a cost. While they see your pantry stocked with sugar, lemon juice and cups, they can’t fathom that you once purchased the items at the store (and cost you money to buy.) It would be great if businesses could get their resources for free but we all know it doesn’t work that way.
Take advantage of the leaning opportunity by charging your kids for the resources they use. If they use a pound of sugar, consider charging them $1 for it. If your kids are older, you can have them apply their math skills to determining a cost for each unit. For example, if you have 30 plastic cups on hand that cost you $3, let your kids determine that each cup costs $.10. You can also invest in their lemonade business and give them a lump sum to purchase the ingredients they need. Make sure they repay you when the day is done so that they see just how much profit they have made.
It’s Not Always About Them
Young kids still have a tendency to create a lemonade formula that appeals to their palette rather than something others might like better. This includes both taste and color. We’ve seen kids make everything from extremely sour brown lemonade to a fruity, sweet, green lemonade. It’s a good opportunity to teach them about sensory science and one way they can see others’ likes and dislikes is by creating a survey.
Encourage your kids to make several lemonade formulas for others to sample. They can gather family and friends to taste each one while asking and recording data such as taste, color, how the lemonade could taste better and whether or not the person would buy it (and for how much.) They can even collect data by age to know whether certain formulas appeal more to kids versus adults. As your kids create their surveys you can remind them that their goal is to sell lemonade and in order to do that their product must appeal to their customers.
Kids can be creative with their formulas as well. There’s the usual ingredients of lemons, lemon juice and sugar can be enhanced with berries, flavored gelatin, carbonated water and even citric acid. Food coloring will help enhance the appeal.
Ugh, the dreaded signs. We’ve all seen them – those small signs with minuscule writing posted just feet away from the stand that give the person driving by absolutely no time to notice it, make a decision to stop and buy a cup of lemonade. They’re everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
The key is to make simple signs with directional arrows leading people to the stand. Since there’s little time to grab someone’s attention and convince them to go out of their way to spot and buy, signage needs to be simple, to the point and plentiful. At the actual lemonade stand the signage can have much more description of what is being offered.
Try the following activity with your kids to drive home the concept of where to place signs.
Located in her driveway, Susie’s stand is well off the beaten path. If Susie made only two signs to advertise her lemonade stand, where should she place them (based on the information provided)? Pick two places by marking an “X” in a square that reads “lemonade”. What if Susie made four signs?
Even if your kids are selling lemonade in the driveway, have them make a map of their neighborhood so they can plot where to put them for maximum exposure. This exercise in strategic planning will go a long way towards making their stand successful.
What Kids Get
Running a lemonade stand is a great way to introduce business concepts to kids at a young age and you’ll find that many are actually good at it. This rather benign activity is the introduction to the entrepreneurial mindset that teaches them many valuable lessons, from money management to strategic planning and creativity. If your kids take a shine to entrepreneurship, be sure to pick up a Biz in Boxx to help them put together their next venture. It’s not only age-appropriate, but full if information and guidance as they practice these new skill sets.