Lemonade a classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2000

When school’s out children face a big problem: what to do with all the new found free time.

Tuesday, August 01, 2000

When school’s out children face a big problem: what to do with all the new found free time.

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Most children are creative enough to remedy this quite easily in their back yard every day.

Some build forts and others play cops and robbers.

The neighbor kid becomes a second child.

But when it comes to getting a little spending money for trips to the candy store and popcorn at the pool, kids begin to get really creative. They know with the hot summer sun come a lot of thirsty, overheated pedestrians.

So out come the paper cups, advertising posters and a big pitcher of ice cold lemonade. Lemonade stands are a popular way for kids to earn a little pocket money and pass away the time on a lazy summer day.

Lemonade began as a medicine-like drink used by sailors to ward off scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

While no American can really have problems finding vitamin C today, lemonade has instead become a traditional thirst-quencher for the summertime. And with the easy powder mixes on the market children can mix up a batch of lemonade with little adult assistance.

This only increases the appeal of a summertime lemonade stand.

As easy as this type of employment sounds, there are a few things that parents can do to help their children out.

The stand will attract the most customers when people are the thirstiest. So try to sell lemonade on really hot, sunny days between 1-3 p.m. when the day is at its hottest.

Keep the lemonade cold by using plenty of ice to make it as refreshing as possible on a hot day. But keep the stand in the shade. You want the day to be hot, not the refreshment stand.

Set up near places where there is a lot of traffic. Trying to sell at a place where no one is around is just a waste of lemonade. But make sure the stand isn’t too close to the traffic; keep the children are safe from passing cars.

The attraction of the lemonade stand is that you can get a refreshing drink for pocket change, so don’t charge too much. But make sure to have change for those who don’t have pocket change and want to buy a 25-cent glass with a five-dollar bill.

Decorating the lemonade cups can be a fun project for the kids and a good way to personalize their stand. Another way for children to put their crayons to good use is in advertising posters. Leaving signs around the neighborhood to advertise the stand gives people another way to find out about the stand besides just chancing upon it in passing.

When the day is over and children are pocketing their earnings from the day, parents can seize the opportunity to give a modified lesson in finance. Encourage children to save some of their money instead of spending it all to feed their sweet tooth.

Vicky Helland, Program Coordinator at the Parenting Resource Center, Inc. of Austin has some advice on childhood income.

"I think it’s good for children to learn the responsibility of money," Helland said. "But it’s also good for children to be children and not to overload. They have the rest of their lives to make money."

Lemonade stands are a good way for children to earn a little summer income, just don’t let them forget that there are a lot of other fun ways to spend their time as well.