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Summer Reading When life slows down over the summer, give your kids lemons—and show them how to make lemonade!

Here are a few lessons that start out with a bowl of lemons and a poster-board sign.

Before You Start

Times aren’t as simple as they used to be, and that can even affect little ol’ lemonade stands. Before you buy supplies, build your stand, and open for business, check to make sure it’s legal. In some places, you need vendor and food permits. If you’re not sure who to get in touch with about possible legal requirements, start by calling the city clerk’s office.

Lesson 1 It’s all about the people.

From start to finish, your children will be building and exercising their PR skills.

What does that look like? Your son decides to run a lemonade stand, so he…

  • Convinces others to help him.
  • Supervises them in building the stand.
  • Gives everyone a job to keep it running.
  • Advertises to people around the neighborhood.
  • Checks up on everyone while the stand is open.
  • Shows a friendly, accommodating attitude toward the customers so they leave satisfied.
  • Gives the earnings to people—whether as divided profit or as a donation to a cause.

Encourage your kids to care about the people who come to the stand at least as much as they care about sales.

Lesson 2 Dream big, then work hard!

A lemonade stand is no picnic.

There are so many logistics to think about, and that’s why it’s so easy to say no when one of the kids asks about selling lemonade on a hot summer day.

But when you say yes, your kids get to set the goals they’ll reach for, meet people, and learn.

The first run might be a little rough, but it will teach a lifelong lesson on hard work. It could even become a contest from day to day or from year to year to figure out how to make it most successful.

Lesson 3 Keep it simple.

Lemonade Try giving your family a few of these tips to simplify their lemonade stand:

  • Add a simple secret ingredient, like honey or orange juice as a sweetener or a sprig of mint for garnish.
  • Avoid having to make change (and possibly earn more money) by offering the lemonade free and accepting tips.
  • Use a chalkboard or white board you already have for your sign, or cover a picture frame with white board or chalkboard paint to make your own!

Lesson 4 Incorporate money smarts.

What better way to teach your kids about money than by selling lemonade? They invest it in the ingredients, earn it in sales, and then maybe invest it again.

They’ll deal with profit and loss. Everyone working at the lemonade stand will learn how to advertise, present, and close a sale on the spot.

And they’ll be using those skills forever, no matter what job they end up in someday.

Lesson 5 Let go of perfect lemonade.

LemonadeA perfect lemonade stand will last for a little while, but then life happens. A little pair of hands gets a little too eager to help, or a few gray clouds come out and the lemonade stand gets rained in. Use these gentle reminders as a lesson for everyone.

These hiccups teach that life doesn’t always go as expected—that bumps and U-turns are normal. They happen to all of us.

And if there are moments when it seems overwhelming, encourage everyone to take a step back and take it one step at a time.

These are the lessons that will stay forever, long after the lemonade gets sold out and the sign is packed up in the garage.