It’s a childhood summer tradition: a kids lemonade stand! Read up on how to make a successful lemonade stand for kids, plus DIY lemonade stand ideas and how to help kids plan and budget (bonus: summer math skills).
Be sure to check off all the fun family activities on our printable summer bucket list for kids, too, like stargazing and painting rocks and the best easy water games for hot summer days.
Want to keep the kids busy this summer, learn essential life skills, and encourage their entrepreneurial spirit? Hosting a lemonade stand for kids is a great screen-free way to spend a day — or a whole week, with planning and building included!
When the kids run a lemonade stand, they get to learn a little about running a business, practice their manners and social skills, make a little money, keep up on those important math skills, and have a great time making fond memories.
Check out these tips for how to help the kids host a lemonade stand this summer.
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1. Plan & build together.
Help the kids decide how they will make their lemonade stand and what they need to put it together. From a simple table with a bright colored table cloth to a DIY wooden stand with a lemonade stand sign up above, the only limit is the kids imagination (and your DIY skills).
DIY Lemonade Stand Ideas
The simplest lemonade stand setup is a folding table (try this one with adjustable legs for kid-height when you need it!) — just add a lemony cute tablecloth and a quick easy paper banner to make it eye-catching.
A shade canopy is helpful for keeping the drinks and kids cool, plus adding height to draw attention and add a banner or sign to the top of the stand.
If you’d like to make a DIY project of it (and what Remodelaholic does’t love a project?), grab this color-your-own cardboard lemonade stand or try these DIY kids lemonade stand ideas you can build together.
DIY Kid’s Lemonade Stand Tutorials
- Lemonade Stand Cart with Wheels (HerToolbelt) – This is a big project, but so great to reuse for summer BBQs and parties! (Plus, make the easy standing chalkboard sign here.)
- Easy Portable Lemonade Stand from Crates (HGTV) – Just a few crates, dowels, and some screws make this a quick lemonade stand with shelves that can be taken apart for transportation or storage.
- DIY Lemonade Stand and Puppet Theater (Lowe’s) – I love the curved roof awning on this lemonade stand. Wheels make it easy to move, and it easily converts to a puppet theater — so give your customers a cold drink *and* a show!
- Kids Lemonade Stand from Cedar Fence Pickets (Jaime Costiglio) – this sturdy lemonade stand is made from affordable cedar fence boards! The built-in sign holder and hanging chalkboard on the front are the perfect finishing additions.
2. Make a signature lemonade drink.
Start with fresh lemons and the basic recipe below, then let them add their own twist such as a fruit flavoring (from syrups or fruit puree), fun shaped ice (made with a special ice tray), or a piece of candy like a lemonhead or gummy bears dropped into the drink.
Basic Easy Lemonade Recipe for Kids
- 1 ½ cups freshly-squeezed juice (about 5-6 large lemons)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 8 cups water
Mix the three ingredients well and serve over ice.
More awesome summer drink recipes
- Fruity Sherbet Cream Float
- Basil Passionfruit Lemonade
- Strawberry Coconut Mocktail
- Watermelon Agua Fresca
- Red Virgin Sangria
- Island Hopper Pineapple Mocktail
Or add one of these summer smoothie recipes to your lemonade stand menu!
Here’s a tip for smoothies at a lemonade stand: blend all the ingredients except the ice beforehand, then add the ice just before serving.
3. Diversify the menu & sales offerings.
If you have lots of neighborhood kids involved, or if you have tweens who are ready for a challenge, consider adding more than just drinks to the menu.
Bake Sale Additions
Sell Handmade Items
For kids who are really motivated, spending a few weeks making extra inventory to sell can be a great way for them to learn about profit margins (see below) and get paid for a hobby they enjoy, such as making earrings or whittling.
For example, Cassity’s tween girls spent the winter and spring making handmade earrings to sell! (See our favorite crafting tools for makers here.)
They had accumulated a great inventory to sell and added some snacks and treats like cotton candy (in pre-made tubs) and small bags of chips, too.
4. Learn the basics of entrepreneurship & marketing.
Small businesses like lemonade stands are a great place for kids to start their young entrepreneurs journey. Use this kids lemonade stand as an opportunity to discuss the basics of running a business.
Who knew talking about supply and demand could be fun? Help them set a price point that people will buy at but still generates a revenue — after all, this experience is about making a few bucks, right?
Do they think they can increase profits by selling more smaller cups of lemonade? or by selling a bigger cup, with extras, at a higher price? (They might need some guidance about prices the market will bear, here!)
Can you increase the profit margin by adding inexpensive additional items (as mentioned above)? For example, making lemonade or baking brownies can fun and profitable but you can probably *also* turn a quick profit by adding ice-cold bottled water or other pre-made treats to the lemonade stand, too, for variety and convenience. (Just think of how much you pay for a bottle of water at a carnival or Disneyland!)
Recommended Summer Reading
The Lemonade War
Add some literacy to your summer lemonade stand learning! The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies is about 2 siblings who set up competing lemonade stands. This is a quick read that will have kids laughing while giving parents lots of opportunities to talk about entrepreneurship and friendship.
Plus, this would be a great time to talk about what the kids will do with the profits. We suggest they keep some to spend, but also set aside certain amounts to save and to donate to a charity of their choice.
Look for a local need that your kids care about (like an animal shelter or food bank) or that they might benefit from learning about (like the local foster care support program), or you can join a national program such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to raise money for childhood cancer research.
5. Budget and shop.
Make a list of all the supplies needed and take the kids shopping. Talk about using coupons or finding things on sale since all the money spent upfront will come out of their profits in the end.
Teaching Modern Real Life Skills: Let the kids use online ordering to schedule a grocery pickup or delivery of all their supplies. We *love* our Walmart+ membership for things like this!
In addition to the lemonade, you’ll need
- cups (adding lids and straws is fun!)
- napkins, paper towels and/or wet wipes: there will be spills, so be ready to clean up the mess!
- a pitcher or two, with a stirring spoon
- a cooler: a rolling chest cooler is a great option, or put a large 5-gallon drink cooler on a wagon
- change: make sure the kids have a roll of quarters and a handful of $1 and $5 bills
Lemonade Stand Math
This is where some summer math skills come into play! To plan and run a lemonade stand, kids can practice:
- basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division: how many lemons do you need to make one batch, or 4 batches?
- money math: adding up costs, budgeting expenses vs. anticipated income and profits, and be sure to practice counting back change!
- volume: if your pitcher holds X ounces and each cup holds Y ounces, how many cups can you serve from each pitcher full of lemonade?
- time estimation: how long does it take to mix up a batch of lemonade? This will help them know when it’s time to mix up the next batch so they can keep selling!
- algebraic expressions and equations: if you want to make $X profit, how many glasses of lemonade do you need to sell? This requires some advanced problem solving that can be a good brain stretch!
Decorating a Lemonade Stand
Kid-made posters and signs are the quintessential lemonade stand decor, but you might also consider printing one of our easy printable lemonade or summer art prints! Just click each image to see the details and get the printable.
In addition to a fun tablecloth, use basic wood crates for cute and easy display shelves, add mason jars to hold straws, and add a chalkboard, light box, or whiteboard to make it easy to change your sign if needed.
6. Choose a date, time and location.
If your kids just want to do their lemonade stand right-now-right-now — any day and time and any safe location will work.
For the entrepreneurs, though, choosing a good date, time, and location for the kids lemonade stand is an important factor in sales success.
Pick a good location to let the kids set up the lemonade stand with both a lot of foot traffic (ie potential customers) and safety in mind. Your front yard would probably be the easiest place, but if it is possible, try to find a place where a large amount of people would be walking by like near a playground or park.
You may be able to combine your lemonade stand with a local event or a neighbor’s yard sale, or ask a local business if you can set up outside their storefront. This can be a win-win for both your lemonade stand and their business.
Whatever location you choose, be sure to get permission from the property owner or the city, if needed, and follow all local laws and license or permit rules for your municipality.
Also, think about the best time of day when people will be out and about. Be sure to have the kids choose a reasonable starting time *and* ending time for the lemonade stand (if they don’t sell out first).
And of course pick a day to host the lemonade stand when you have good weather. On a hot sunny day, people will be looking for a way to cool down and a glass of cold lemonade will be just the thing!
7. Get the word out.
As any small business owner knows: marketing is a big deal! Let your friends, neighbors, and community members know that the kids will be hosting a lemonade stand and ask them to help spread the word.
- Make signs for both the lemonade stand and to set up for advertising nearby, like at the end of your driveway or at the entrance to your subdivision.
- Let the kids draw or print flyers to hand out.
- If you have a neighborhood social media (such as a Facebook group), post there to help with marketing.
Make It Entertaining
Creating a fun environment is a great way to add excitement for both the kids and their customers, and also draw extra attention to your lemonade stand!
8. Let them learn!
As much as possible, let the kids run the show. Prepare them in advance and pratice making change, explaining menu options, and talking with their clientele politely, This is a great time for them to practice their social skills and manners when dealing with customers — a little customer service experience makes for a lot of empathy!
Have an adult (parent or family member) on hand for supervision and safety, but as hands-off as possible.
When they do most of the work, the kids will get the satisfaction of a job well done while learning valuable lessons, and have a fun time while doing it.
Shop Our Lemonade Stand Must-Haves
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Featured and title image via Better Homes and Gardens
First published 28 June 2015. Last Updated 17 June 2022.