Recently we had an unexpected preview of summer here in San Jose. My daughter decided to make lemonade. She picked the lemons, squeezed them (after I helped by cutting them in half), added sugar and water, and mixed (with a little help from me). There were only six lemons, so the total quantity of lemonade was not large. Nevertheless, she decided that she wanted to have her first lemonade stand. I said: ok, get some cups, go make a sign, and find something we can use for a table. The result is shown below.
She wanted to go to a little park near our house (more traffic than in front of our house). She brought, on her own initiative, some cones from soccer, to draw people's attention. It was a beautiful day, but there was a not a lot of traffic to our little stand. I had warned her that a) it was Super Bowl Sunday and people were busy; b) people who are out running or walking usually don't have money; and c) we don't live in a high traffic neighborhood to begin with. She said that she would not be disappointed if no one came, but of course that was easier said than done.
In the end, I texted a couple of friends from the neighborhood, and they were kind enough to stop by. Two or three other small groups, people we didn't know, were also nice enough to stop and support my daughter's efforts. One woman said: "Well, you have to stop for a kid with a lemonade stand." I do recall reading that in Life's Little Instruction Manual. I was in any case grateful to them all.
Outcome: we ran out of lemonade, and my daughter made $6. A success all around.
We did learn some business lessons. We need a bigger sign, a bigger table, and a lot more lemonade if we are going to do this again. But my daughter also got:
- Practice spelling (you'll note that I did not assist with the sign)
- Practice with math in handling the money, adding up prices for people, and making change.
- Practice with building. Her original "table" was a couple of over-sized plastic blocks propped up on empty spring water bottles. This was not stable, but was kind of cute.
- Practice measuring (adding the sugar).
She also learned valuable lessons about marketing, persistence, and (I hope) gratitude to the friends who support us.
At the end of the day my daughter noted that she had made $6, which was $1 per lemon. Not bad for a lazy Super Bowl Sunday morning. I thought that it was time well spent. And certainly a lot better than doing educational apps on the iPad.