As much as they adore school, my girls have been talking about summer for months now, and one of the most exciting things for them has been the prospect of setting up a cold drinks booth for people driving by.

Right from the beginning, they knew they wanted to donate some proceeds to charity, but they weren’t sure which charity or how much to donate.

One wanted to share with a children’s hospital, one with the local hospital (“since we were born there and Grandpa died there”) and then my brilliant grandmother suggested a compromise: they could give the money to the children’s floor at the local hospital. Decision made.

The breakdown of profits was a different discussion. Should we allow them to keep some of the money they made? They didn’t even care, but I actually thought it was important. Now let me be clear: we are not hard up for cash, and as parents we’re not touching any of the girls’ earnings ourselves. However, I really do think that from an early age it’s beneficial for kids to learn to work for their money, and let’s be honest: it’s a motivating factor for adults as well. The fact that charity was foremost on their minds tells me that we’ve done something right, and we decided it would be fair if they kept half (really 25% each) and donated the other half of the profits. (They’re not advertising any affiliation with the hospital, since not all of the money is going to them, and we didn’t get any sort of official permission.)

On the weekend, we added the girls’ drink selections (Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale and water, to start), to the grocery list at a grand total of $15, which they promised to repay as soon as possible. Grandpa was enlisted to build them a couple of plywood signs they could place at the side of the road to attract traffic, and card tables were borrowed.

This afternoon they were finally ready to open shop…and it went very well for them!

Their strategy: wave and smile at every approaching vehicle (“Who can resist this cuteness?” one of them joked). In two and a half hours, they made more than enough to repay their investment (sales were good, but the generous “tips” they received certainly helped), and they still have enough product left to go back out tomorrow (they kept a tally chart to keep track of the merchandise sold). I actually had to drag them in to have supper, they were having so much fun! They’re considering adding a table of “yard sale” type items for sale (books, toys, etc.) but I’m not sure that the clientele will be interested. We shall see!

The teacher in me is loving the math lessons offered by their new business (e.g., they learned that water has the highest profit margin, so it’s great that it sold the most), and as an added bonus, if they keep this up on a regular basis, my yard and gardens will look better than ever, since I stay outside and close enough to keep an eye on the transactions and assist in case of a problem while they’re at the table.

Have your kids tried any money-making ventures? I’d love to hear about them!

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