Summer is upon us which means it’s time for sun tea, popsicles and lemonade. Are you teaching your kids to be entrepreneurial in your homeschool? Here’s a lemonade stand lesson plan to help you teach your kids everything they need to know about running a small business.
I did this with my kids earlier this spring. They had a blast, and I was surprised at their restraint to not drink their profits! The kids used this lemonade stand lesson plan to learn about all their expenses, how to develop a marketing plan, and to calculate their profits. it was a great experience for them, and now they are begging to have a permanent homeschool lemonade stand.
How to Create a Business Plan for a Lemonade Stand
When your kids are brainstorming ideas for their lemonade stand, make sure they go through all the sections of a good business plan. As a small business owner myself, I think business skills are essential. Yes, we can rail against our capitalist society, but we also need to understand how to operate in it. Our generation often complains we didn’t learn money and business skills in school – so here is your chance to teach your kids!
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Brainstorm Motivations for a Lemonade Stand
The lemonade stand lesson plan I created for my kids asks them to start brainstorming and to identify their motivations. Just like most of us, kids like to focus on goals. For example, I asked them what they would do with their profits. A couple said they wanted to donate it to the homeless shelter while one said she wanted to buy candy. There is no wrong answer here – let their intrinsic motivation carry them through.
Identify Expenses for a Lemonade Stand
The next step is to have your kids write down all their expected expenses. Are they going to use real lemons or concentrate? Do they have glasses and a table? Will they offer any free perks at their lemonade stand? They should write down everything for expenses and then calculate a little bit more to account for unexpected expenses.
How to Fund a Lemonade Stand for Kids
Once the kids have written down all their expenses, ask them to identify how they will get their seed money. Do they already have cash on hand from allowances or other odd jobs? Are they expecting parents to give them the starting money? In my lemonade stand lesson plan, I gave some ideas for my kids to earn the seed money if they didn’t have it already.
Make a Marketing Plan for Your Lemonade Stand
By this point, my kids were over the planning stage. 🙂 However, they were able to come up with a few ideas for marketing their lemonade stand. We live in a neighborhood with community mailboxes, so they wanted to make signs to hang on the mailboxes. They also told everyone they met while out for a walk.
How to Build a Lemonade Stand
If you want to go all in, you can build a really cute lemonade stand with scrap wood and a bucket of paint. My kids chose to keep their costs minimal, though, and use the items we had on hand.
They “rented” a folding table from their grandma and used a table cloth we already had. Leftover poster board from some school projects served as their main table signs. They also designed and hung up flyers around the neighborhood to advertise.
Like most things in life, you can make a lemonade stand as fancy or as simplistic as you please. We chose to use the items we already have and to keep it simple. If they decided to have a lemonade stand on a regular basis, then we might invest in a more permanent or efficient structure.
The Day of the Lemonade Stand
Finally! The day to sell lemonade has arrived! My kids woke up early to start their preparation and to make their homemade lemonade. Ultimately, they ended up using a combination of concentrate and fresh lemons to save a little on costs.
They also chose to sell cookies, painted rocks, and paper world flags. They had set their own prices and calculated the profit margins in the lemonade stand lesson plan I had them fill out.
They hung up their signs and texted a few neighbors to remind them to stop by if they had time.
How Profitable Was Their Lemonade Stand?
About halfway through the day, I went out to the stand and bought myself a glass of lemonade. My youngest begged me, “Mom, please will you buy me a cup of lemonade? I’m so thirsty!”. She is a sugar addict and I truly couldn’t believe she had not had a drop of lemonade yet. Yes, I bought her a glass.
Because they had filled out the lemonade stand lesson plan, they knew exactly what their profit margin was. They also knew what they wanted to do with their profits. I think this helped them to have self-control and to focus on selling as much as they could.
In the end, they calculated they made $70 in profit. Not too shabby for a day of fun outside. They split the profit equally and each kid used or saved their lemonade stand profits as they had planned.
Lessons Learned at the Lemonade Stand
The last part of the lemonade stand lesson plan is to reflect on the day and the process. I had the kids discuss and write down things they thought went well, and things they will change if they do it again.
The biggest lesson for them was to not underestimate their neighbors – we ran out of lemonade twice! They also brainstormed other entrepreneurial ideas for homeschoolers instead of lemonade. They learned creating fresh lemonade was hard work and maybe they would prefer to focus on art work or other items that don’t have to be prepared the same day.
Business Skills for Homeschoolers
In the end, I think having this lemonade stand lesson plan helped my kids focus on all the moving parts of having a business. They explored ways to reduce expenses and how to expand their products. They also realized all the work and effort that goes into having a business.
I reiterated to my kids over and over to focus on customer service and value. They quickly figured out going the extra mile brought extra smiles (and sometimes extra cash). We also talked about other business ideas for homeschooled kids and what problems they could solve in the neighborhood.
Whether your kids have a lemonade stand or a dog-walking service, it is important to teach our kids these business skills. As homeschoolers we have the flexibility to make it a reality and are giving our kids true life skills they can carry with them.