Of all the get-rich-quick schemes concocted by America’s children, perhaps none is so beloved as the lemonade stand. For more than 100 years, this tried and true business venture has provided thousands of children with a valuable lesson in entrepreneurism and the value of a dollar. And while lemonade stands might not be as prominent today as they were back in the old days, they can still be a great way to teach your kids about commerce this summer – especially if you get creative with the business model. For instance, here are a few tips you can use to help your kids operate the coolest lemonade stand in the neighborhood.

  • Dress up the drinks. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to lemonade. Make your product appeal to a wider audience – and teach your kids the value of upselling – by adding a few refreshing flavor options to the tried-and-true recipe of ice, water, sugar and lemon juice. Use cheap flavor mix-ins like Monin syrup to create blueberry and raspberry lemonade. You might even want to add a trendy seasonal flavor like hibiscus to the mix. The more options you have, the more customers you’ll attract and the more money you’ll be able to make.
  • Make it eco-friendly. Going green is a great way to make your lemonade more appealing and it can provide a valuable teaching moment for the concepts of sustainability and environmental awareness.  There are several ways you can do this. For instance, instead of purchasing wood to build the stand, try to build it out of salvaged timbers and shipping pallets instead. Additionally, you might want to offer recyclable glass bottles to customers rather than paper or Styrofoam cups, like these girls did.
  • Accept credit cards. Not many people carry cash these days. However, with the number of credit card processing options available for smart phones and tablets, that shouldn’t be a problem for your children. Rather than downloading the mainstream apps, though, consider getting a simpler, cheaper alternative to PayPal like WePay. While you should ideally process all credit cards yourself, if your kids are manning the fort by themselves you can teach them how to write down credit card numbers and expiration dates in a logbook so that you can enter them later when you have time.
  • Get it noticed. A good location is the foundation of a good lemonade stand, but there are a few other tricks you can use to drum up business as well. Get a photographer to come and take a picture of your stand, and have any writers or bloggers you know interview your kids for a story. It’ll be good for their self-esteem, and people will notice that they’re a “big deal” and will be more inclined to purchase a drink.

The key to running a successful lemonade stand these days is creativity. When setting up shop for your kids, use these tips to help them build a hip, eco-friendly operation that’s sure to attract a lot of customers. They’ll have the coolest lemonade stand on the block, and even if it doesn’t earn them a fortune you’ll still be able to treasure the memory when they get older.