Monday, August 26, 2013

When life gives you a lemonade stand...teach kids about money

Sabrina's been wanting to do a lemonade stand all summer long, and we finally got around to it this weekend. Max was into it, too, both because he loves lemonade and he's been wanting to raise money to purchase batteries for the Cars 2 Talking Lightning McQueen he wants for his birthday (so considerate of him).

I had it in mind that we'd donate money to a charity. Then I read about Lief, a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy whose parents are fundraising to cover his therapy this fall at the Anat Baniel Center in L.A. I talked with the kids about him, showed them photos and explained that Lief has CP, like Max, and he needed to get therapy that cost a lot of money. We decided we'd give most of the proceeds to him. "That's nice!" Max said. 

Until this year, Max didn't care much about money one way or another. He knew the different currencies, but it took him awhile to get that money can buy stuff people need and want (I suspect the Lightning McQueen car qualifies as both for him). I thought donating money to Lief would help him better understand that we can give money to help other people. 

At the end of last summer, I'd snagged a Discovery Kids lemonade stand kit on sale at CVS, so I just hauled it out of storage. I hate it when the cardboard box proclaims "Easy assembly!" and it takes you and your husband a good 15 minutes to figure out, leaving you feeling like the world's biggest blockheads. 

What to charge was a big debate. If a cup cost $1, the kids and I discussed, they could get a higher price—but if they sold it for fifty cents, they could sell more cups.

Their first major business decision

Getting it all together

Taste-testing (Max downed several cups, just to be sure)

Waiting for customers


I nearly keeled over from all the cuteness. Also: They got along amazingly well, a rare feat. When people asked how much a cup cost if they didn't notice the sign, Max would say "eh-eh ense" and Sabrina would translate (we didn't bring the iPad/speech app to avoid it getting baptized by lemonade). Sabrina would hold the cup, Max would pull up the tab on the jug's dispenser to let out lemonade and add a straw, and she'd hand it off. 

Me: "Sabrina, can I get a discount on a cup?"
Sabrina: "No, but you can have two straws!" 

When people asked if we'd made the stand, I'd say "We bought it ourselves!" and when they asked if we'd made the lemonade, Sabrina would say "We mixed it ourselves!" (Thank you, Country Time.) One neighbor said it was the best "hand-mixed" brew ever. 

The kids drank so much of the stuff I think they'll be on a sugar high till they go to college.

Bicycle break

Cute dog break

We were out there for a few hours. We met two families in our neighborhood we'd never seen before, an unexpected bonus. The kids raked in $20; they each kept $2.50, and we went online to Lief's YouCaring page and donated the rest.

Max put his money away in his Cars 2 wallet. Sabrina is saving up to get a dog (well, this week, anyway; next week she might be back to wanting a baby). Meanwhile, both kids are asking when we can do this again. I sense a fall hot cider sale coming on.


  1. Adorable!

    FYI, there's a book called The Lemonade War, about a brother and sister competing to sell the most lemonade, that's really smart (about both relationships and finance) and could help her ponder other pressing issues such as lemonade stand placement and marketing.

    1. LOVE it. Ordered! I think Sabrina would be really into this because of the business bent. She is not a big fiction lover right now.

    2. I was going to say, The Lemonade War was one of the kids' book club picks at the library I work at recently. I've been wanting to read it myself, actually. ;)

      Congrats on the successful lemonade stand! (And that picture of Sabrina on her "cute dog break" was adorable!)

  2. Cool!

    Bur I wanted to know about the brand of Max's bike. It looks awesome!

    1. Triaid TMX bike, gifted to us via a program Max is involved in. I wrote about it here: He LOVES it. Still can't work the brakes, so we stick to flat ground. :)

  3. So awesome! I love that you had them donate some of the money to charity too...You are raising amazing children (but you already knew that!)! I lovelovelove the taste-testing picture too, by the way! Too cute!

  4. Killing two birds with one stone teaching kids about finance and philanthropy I LOVE it!

  5. Hi Ellen,
    I'm amazed at how well Sabrina and Max cooperate in the business process. It's lovely that you donated most of the money to Lief.

  6. There are so many things I love about this - how Max and Sabrina worked together so beautifully, how totally cute they both look behind the lemonade stand, and how you taught them to think of others and to give to others. I am really proud of all of you (including Dave for assembling the lemonade stand).

  7. That is awesome! I am always glad to see kids doing something old-fashioned and wholesome like having a lemonade stand. And it is great that they also learned a lesson about helping others by donating it to another child who needed help! If you guys lived near me, I would totally come buy your lemonade or cider or whatever else you're selling!


Thanks for sharing!

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