Economic Lessons Through Lemonade
By Margaret Hansen
Everything you needed to learn about finance and business, you learned in Kindergarten, right? Probably not. Writing your name, coloring, following rules, listening, being respectful, all with a sprinkling of early math and reading made up most of the curriculum.
Business training was far from the lesson plan, and certainly wouldn't spark excitement in an avid kindergartener, anyway. But lemonade might.
Kids Have Amazing Ideas
What does the future hold for kids in an uncertain economy? You might want to ask Caine, a nine-year-old boy from Los Angeles who decided to spend his summer running an arcade he made from cardboard boxes and other recycled items. Business was slow at Caine's Arcade until his first customer, a film maker, showed up and things went viral.
In a similar spirit, a non-profit organization was formed to encourage and teach kids some old-fashioned business skills, while doing something they love to do in summer: make money and sell lemonade. Launched in 2007 in Houston, TX, Lemonade Day is now in 31 cities with more than 120,000 kids participating, and it's still growing.
Lemonade Day is a free, fun, experiential, business education program that teaches youth ages five to 17 how to start, own and operate their own business using a lemonade stand. On one day each year, across the U.S. and Canada, youth learn fundamental lessons about life, success and themselves.
What Kids Get
Each child that registers for the Lemonade Day program receives a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches them the 14 lessons of "Lemonade Day", such as: creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors, and giving back to the community. Along the way, they acquire skills in goal-setting and problem solving, while increasing the self-esteem critical for their future success.
What Kids Learn
Here's a quick list of what kids can take away from the program:
Financial Literacy and Economics
- Capital equipment and consumables
- Supply and demand
- Credit, debt, gross and net income
- Marginal utility
- Return on investment
- Compound interest
College Readiness and Career
- Critical thinking and collaboration
- Interest in attending college
- Civic responsibility
- Customer service
- Teamwork and problem solving
- Presentation skills and design
Life Skills/Personal Development
- Belief that attaining goals is within reach
- Personal productivity
- Self-direction and time management
- Social responsibility and charity
- High order thinking
- Social skills and self confidence
- Math calculations
- Reading and interpreting data
- Oral and written communication
Maine's Lemonade Day is June 3. Find out if a free program exists in your city, or purchase an individual kit for $10.
To kids, Lemonade Day is about having hands-on fun and earning cash right outside of their door. They might not even realize that they are: getting hooked on running a successful business, earning profits, helping charities and stimulating the local economy.
Don't forget to stop by a stand this summer and buy a cup of lemonade. You'll be investing in the future.