Summer fun for young entrepreneurs—how to host a perfect lemonade stand

Planning a perfect lemonade stand goes far beyond just Pinterest worthy. These middle-school-bound Temecula girls worked together to build their backyard business at a local park. Ashley Ludwig photo
Planning a perfect lemonade stand goes far beyond just Pinterest worthy. These middle-school-bound Temecula girls worked together to build their backyard business at a local park. Ashley Ludwig photo

Summer is here, and warmer days and sunshine outdoor playtime should beckon but if your children are anything like mine – tween-agers – chances are they are more interested in Minecrafting or playing Slither.io on the computer. That said, a reminder that they want to earn some money for fun shopping adventures was the only nudge they needed to get their entrepreneurial wheels turning. So, how does a tween make money for things they want over the summer? That idea sped them straight toward hosting a lemonade stand and the perfect opportunity for both of them to learn a few handy lessons.

A lemonade stand offers everything from self-reliance to a quick lesson in business 101. At the age of 10, they were more than capable of working out the simple math needed to estimate how much they put in and determine what they needed to make to be profitable in their venture. This was the perfect time for the children to learn the cost of ingredients, how much they needed to make before they earned a profit and even a little lesson in measuring and baking. What they ended up with was a priceless bonding experience (as mama was mostly hands off this project) and a sense of achievement that couldn’t be matched.

A neighborhood lemonade stand serves multiple purposes. First, it takes teamwork to put one together. Second, there is a math lesson to be had behind managing both the cost of the products you wish to sell and the profits to be made by what you are selling. Third, there is a whole lot of fun in the process of earning all of your funds. An added lesson for these two was the drive to make homemade cookies to sell with their sweet drinks.

We happen to have a tried and true lemonade recipe that calls for simple sugar, fresh juiced lemons which are bountiful in the summer from neighbor’s trees, and is impossible to resist. This lemonade has been served at park birthday parties, is always in the refrigerator and is a family staple during the hot summer days. To match the lemonade, a little something to munch – in my daughter’s opinion – was just the thing to get customers to return with more friends and family.

Searching the Internet for recipes, she selected an easy, gluten-free cookie recipe. The ingredients – peanut butter, sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt and vanilla extract – along with simple instructions made this one a winner in my book. This quick peanut butter cookie recipe was simple enough instructions for a 10-year-old to follow, and the cookies were delightfully delicious enough that the tiny businesswoman requested a whole second batch to keep at home.

Now that the products were decided upon, it was time to develop their lemonade stand. Thanks to the Pinterest parents, your typical lemonade stands of years gone by are over. Gone is merely the act of setting up a card table along with a little sign announcing prices per cup. Now, Pinterest offers a plethora of ideas for creating a miniature shop for your stand complete with décor, chalkboard sign styles, tablecloths and striped paper straws.

Not being a complete helicopter mom, I decided to give them a basic idea and let their imaginations go wild for the rest. With older children, such as my daughter and her best friend, I recommended they dig through the party supplies I keep on hand, and then make a list for what they needed at the Dollar Store to complete the look and feel they wanted for their display. The donated items they decided upon included, the folding table, a tablecloth, baskets for their baked goods and the lemonade drink dispenser.

A pitcher of lemonade is an ideal summer treat—made with simple syrup, fresh squeezed lemons and ice cold water it is a delight for the senses on a summer day. Courtesy photo
A pitcher of lemonade is an ideal summer treat—made with simple syrup, fresh squeezed lemons and ice cold water it is a delight for the senses on a summer day. Courtesy photo

The children needed to purchase poster board for signs, cups for the drinks, a bag of ice, as well as ingredients for the baked goods they wanted to make and sell. Setting to work, they prearranged a paper drop table cloth, decorated it with sparkly party decorations that would capture the sunlight and organized how many cups they would need out to sell enough products to make their efforts profitable.

Finally, the location of the lemonade stand was the last piece of their entrepreneurial puzzle. Many children will choose a street corner for their stand, but the girls decided to maximize their visibility by locating their stand at a neighborhood park under a shady tree. With a little team work, the table and decorations were moved into place and finally the baked treats and lemonade dispenser.

Left to their own devices, parental supervision not-withstanding, the girls sold their handmade goodies for a little over two hours on a summer afternoon. Fuzzy math of actual expenditures aside, each split their profits for their summer fun-budget and future lemonade stands are in planning stages, with new and delicious baked treats to try.

Letting your kids enjoy the outdoors as well as testing their wings with supervised cooking and baking, enables them to get the most out of their summer days.

PITCHER PERFECT LEMONADE

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water (for the simple syrup)
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 8 cups of cold water (dilute to taste)

Steps

Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 12 lemons, enough for two cups of juice.

Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Water can be replaced with half-water, half-ice, for quick cooling. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more lemon juice.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons. Serves 12.

 

The familiar fork-pressed crisscross on peanut butter cookies, this easy recipe is gluten free and delicious for all. Ashley Ludwig photo
The familiar fork-pressed crisscross on peanut butter cookies, this easy recipe is gluten free and delicious for all. Ashley Ludwig photo

PERFECT PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES—Gluten Free!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Steps:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In mixer bowl, stir together peanut butter and sugar until smooth consistency. Beat eggs in separate bowl, add vanilla. Pour into mixer, until combined.

In another bowl, blend dry ingredients together. Pour dry ingredients, a little bit at a time, to the wet ingredients, until a dough forms.

Plates of covered cookies are the perfect complement to the ice cold lemonade at your neighborhood lemonade stand. Ashley Ludwig photo
Plates of covered cookies are the perfect complement to the ice cold lemonade at your neighborhood lemonade stand. Ashley Ludwig photo

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased or parchment covered cookie sheets. Use a fork to create crisscross pattern on top of cookie balls. NOTE: The cookies may crumble.

Bake at 350-degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool further.

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