Yesterday we set up a Lemonade Stand in the park. This was one of the last items on my Summer 2014 bucket list and I figured with the extended-Summer-turned-Kindergarten-homeschooling fiasco (which I won’t comment on, except to say I support the teachers), I decided now would be a good time to set up shop. We chose, of course, the most dreary cold day of the week, but it did warm up while we were there.
We set up shop with homemade lemonade (lemons, lemon peel, sugar & water – lots of it!)
While Damien napped, Aiden and his buddy Zayden created the signs. I’m of the “less direction is more” artistic philosophy, as you can see. Joined by some more friends, the kids set up shop and started selling. They were a bit nervous at first, except for Damien who was happy to yell either “Lemonade Time!!” or complete gibberish at passers by, but quickly got into the act. They even started running through the park to tell people taking different paths about our lemonade stand.
I didn’t want this lemonade stand to be all about profit. The kids don’t understand the value of money yet and, even then, I think we should take the opportunities presented to teach our kids about saving and giving, not just spending. I took inspiration from The Lemonade Stand with the concept of Spending, Saving, and Sharing.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank was an obvious choice for our charity, since food is something kids can understand. I initially thought buying food would help them relate to the value of a dollar, but the Food Bank is able to purchase $3 in groceries for every $1 donated, so monetary donations go further. I printed off an picture of what $60 in groceries can buy, just to give them a better ‘feeling’ of the relation of money to food.
In the end, we received $69 from our Lemonade Stand. Today, the boys sat down and learned about money. We sorted the coins, counted the coins, added up each boys’ stack, and learned about the difference in value of each coin as it relates to a dollar. After that, I asked the boys how much they wanted to ‘Share’ with the Food Bank. Not having a grasp of the value of money, their instinct was to give almost all of it. We opted to give 50% ($35) to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, then split the remaining 50% between the 3 oldest kids.
We all took a walk to the corner store to mail the donation then partake in our ‘Spend’ activity, which was to buy a treat for each of them and their younger sibling (who helped).
Discussions were had, but not really understood, about how much to spend vs save from their bags. In the end, we steered them towards more inexpensive choices (lollipops or ring pops), and the rest they took home to save for a toy for another day. Each older sibling was asked to share part of their earnings with their younger sibling, since they helped too.
This turned out to be an amazing experience for all involved. The kids loved selling the lemonade and were so excited to count the money and go for their treat. They were very proud of themselves, as they should be, and I think they learned a lot in the process – about money and charity as well as about their own ability to be confident and courteous and helpful.
In future years, we could expand on this with the idea of ‘production costs’ too ;)