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Summer Business Ideas for Kids

“I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.”
“Can you buy me this new scooter? It’s on sale right now!”
“Mom, I need some money to go to the movies with my friends tonight.”
“Dad, can I have $50? Johnny wants me to go to a concert with him this weekend.”

Summer is prime time for being told just how boring it is to not be in school all day long, while being bombarded with requests for money at the same time. This is a perfect opportunity to entertain the kids while teaching them some real-life skills.

Benefits of Having A Business

Money is an obvious benefit to starting a business, probably the one the kids look forward to most. You can help them identify a savings goal, whether it’s $29 for a new Lego set or $199 for a new gaming system, that they want to buy. The kids will be more motivated to work, even when it’s not fun, if they keep thinking of the item that they’ll buy once they have enough money.

teach-kids-to-save-money

They also learn how work really works. Maybe they are gardening and have to spend 40 hours out in the sun, weeding and watering before they earn their first $30. Or they collect money every two weeks from their lawn care clients, but blow the whole $100 in a day at the amusement park and will be penniless until the next collection day. Real life doesn’t work out as neatly as their weekly allowance, and this is a good low-risk opportunity to let them experience real life situations.

Another life lesson they’ll learn about is borrowing money, since most new businesses require at least a little start up capital. Let’s say you lend your daughter $50 to buy supplies for her sugar-free candy business. She needs to keep records of the money she borrowed, what she’s spent and her sales, so that she can repay you before she reinvests the profits to make another batch. You don’t need to go crazy and have her create a detailed profit and loss statement, but keeping some records are good so that she can see the numbers on paper.

This is also a great time to introduce the tax system. When word gets out that she’s got the best strawberry jam and sales take off, Uncle Sam is going to expect his share of the profits. Any earnings over $400 should be reported to the IRS. While it might seem awful to have to pay taxes, you can take advantage of the fact that your child is a taxpayer and open a Roth IRA for them. Imagine if they earned just $500 for five years in their teens. If they invested it in mutual funds that have an average return of 8%, 50 years later they’ll have $101,122.73! And that’s only if they never put in another cent. While it’s not enough for them to retire on, it’s a great way to get them thinking about smart money skills and motivate them to save for the future.

Find a Business Camp for kids near you >>

Business Ideas For Kids and Teens

Here are just a few ideas of businesses that young people can start to earn some spending money over the summer, and possibly beyond:

Gardener– Young green thumbs can get some reward for all the time they invest in growing tomatoes, onions, peppers and potatoes by selling the produce.

Pet Sitter– Budding veterinarians or animal lovers that can’t have a pet at home will love going to other homes and taking dogs for a short walk, playing with the cats or taking care of whatever other creatures their clients have.

pet-sitting-for-kids1

House Cleaner– Kids as young as first grade can do simple tasks like washing dishes, mopping, folding clothes and taking out the trash.

Social Media Consultant– A lot of small business owners could learn a thing or two from today’s social media savvy teens. Possibilities include teaching business owners how to effectively get involved in social media or managing their accounts on their behalf.

Tutor– Teaching kids one-on-one to improve their skills before the start of the new school year is a great way for older kids to explore a potential career path while getting paid.

Lawn Caretaker– A few basic tools–a lawn mower, rake and shovel–are all they need to maintain the lawns of their neighbors as they start out building a lawn care business.

lawn-care-jobs-for-teens

eBay Seller– Start small by selling unwanted toys and clothes that the kids have at home, and once they’ve got the hang of it, branch out and search thrift stores for high-quality new and like new items that they can resell for a profit.

Garage Sale Organizer– Kids who have a knack for organizing and managing can use their skills to help busy parents get their garage sale ready in exchange for a share of the profits.

Mother’s Helper– This is a great way for a child to get some practical child care skills while a parent is still at home. They can market their services to work-at-home moms and even stay-at-home moms who want to make progress on their never ending to-do list.

Activity Night Organizer– This is a fun way that a group of friends or siblings could make some cash; host weekly activity nights where kids come to their house and take part in activities, games and sports for a few hours.

Birthday Party Planner– Make the party a mostly hands-off event for parents by handling the invitations, RSVPs, food ordering, set-up and clean-up for them.

House Sitter– Lots of people take vacations during the summer and need a trustworthy person to collect the mail and care for pets and plants.

Party Performer– Piano players, vocalists, dancers, magician are all people that get invited to perform at parties. Since summer is full of parties, the kids can make their skills known and watch their calendars fill up.

Find a Business Camp for kids near you >>

Marketing Tips

Some low-cost ways that kids can promote their businesses:

  • Offer to work for free for a few people to get some word-of-mouth advertising going on. For example, ask the parents to hand out business cards to ten friends in exchange for a free babysitting session.
  • Have a discount card for people who use their service repeatedly. Give a free grass cutting for every five paid ones.
  • Print fliers and take them to all the neighbors and explain how their new business can help the neighbors.
  • Ask happy customers to refer you to their friends by giving them some business cards, offer a discount for referrals.

What kind of summer businesses have your kids started in the past? Share with us in the comments.

If your child has the entrepreneur spirit, be sure to check out the following camps!

Startup Wonder in Bay Area, CA

Camp BizSmart in San Jose, CA

Innova Fellows in Bellevue, WA

Categories
Holiday Break Camps Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

Create a Boredom-Busting Spring Break Bucket List!

Are you ready for spring break? Here’s a bucket-list plan that will keep the kids occupied and won’t break the bank.

happy father and little girl with colorful kite

Whether spring break is right around the corner or months away, it’s never too early (or late) to start planning what you’re going to do to keep the kids occupied, engaged in activities, and (shhh … don’t tell them) even learning. That’s why starting a Spring Break Bucket List today is a great idea.

Wondering why you need a special bucket list just for spring break? Isn’t one bucket list enough for a lifetime? Creating a specific list of spring break activities will help you be more intentional about your use of time. To put a finer point on it: You’ll be less likely to wind up glancing at the clock halfway through Day 3 and wonder how it got to be 4 p.m., what on earth you actually did for the last few days, and why you have virtually noting to show for it. Plus, your kids’ “what I did on spring break” essay can include more than a Netflix mega-marathon and junk food fest.

One last note before you let the kids in on your plan: While children love the idea of generating ideas for this bucket list, it’s probably best if parents have the last say on what makes the final cut. That way the elements included are more likely to be doable, affordable, and enjoyable for the whole family.

Shop for kids’ holiday camps near you > >

What Should Be on a Spring Break Bucket List?

Get your creative juices flowing with the following guidelines and ideas.

Mix it up. Choose a variety of activities that will be fun for the whole family. If you’ve got kids that span a wide range of ages, maybe have one parent do something with the older ones while the other takes the younger kids elsewhere. For instance, half of the clan might go to a local playground, while the older family members go roller skating.

Keep tasks short and less expensive. That is, compared to what you’d put on a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list. So, for instance, a three-day stay at Disney is perfect for your “lifetime” list, but “visiting three parks” might be a better fit for spring break.

Don’t take on too much. Depending on how time-intensive your activities are, you shouldn’t aim for more than three a day. Since kids still will have to do all the usual things — meals, baths, maybe even homework — consider how much time you actually have before making any promises. You might also consider devoting a day or two to chores and schoolwork (if needed) and then designate other days for bucket-list adventures.

Give back to the community. You’d be hard-pressed to find a parent who doesn’t want to teach their kids to do random acts of kindness for others. And many schools, clubs, and religious programs require a certain number of hours of volunteer service. When generating your bucket list, include activities that allow your family to help others and give back to the community. To get started, check out the ideas in Volunteer Options That Teens and Tweens <3 (Love) right here on the ActivityHero blog.

Continue to collect ideas. Tack a paper to the fridge where kids and parents can write down a new bucket-list idea when they think of one. You certainly can’t do everything during one spring break, but you’ll have plenty of ideas to stay busy during summertime or on the next three-day weekend.

Ideas for Your Spring Break Bucket List

  • Fly a kite or teach kids another low-tech activity you loved as a child.
  • Choose one bookshelf and read all of the picture books on it.
  • Research authentic cuisine from a foreign country, then prepare some of the dishes as a family.
  • Bake cookies and take them to neighbors.
  • Make homemade cards and deliver them to a nursing home.
  • Go through a drive-thru and pay for the car behind you.
  • Try a new-to-you restaurant or cafe.
  • Park the car on the main street of a nearby town, and take a walk to discover hidden gems.
  • Stay at a hotel in your own town. Choose one with a pool, if you don’t have one at home, and ask the concierge for local activities to try.
  • Have a family slumber party, complete with pizza, games, and movies at night … and chocolate chip pancakes in the morning.
  • Invite grandparents over for a meal made by the kids.
  • Deep-clean closets and dressers in prep for a family garage sale.
  • Host a neighborhood ice cream social.
  • Go to a state or national park.
  • Plant seeds for a garden — veggies, herbs, and/or flowers.
  • Visit a zoo or aquarium.
  • Play mini golf.
  • Create a music video to a favorite song and upload it to Youtube.
  • See what special programs the local ski resorts and other tourist spots are offering during break time.
  • Take a class as a family, in art or cooking or something else you all enjoy.

How to Display Your Spring Break Bucket List

Instead of writing down your ideas on a sheet of paper, you can boost everyone’s excitement by typing up the list using fun fonts in bright colors. Put a small check-box beside each item so you can X it when it’s complete.

Another option: Write down each idea on a small slip of paper, fold the papers in half, and place them in a clean bucket or sand pail. Then when someone says that they’re “boooorrrrrrrrrred,” tell them to go to the bucket and select an activity.

Shop for kids’ holiday camps near you > >

Need a Little Break Yourself?

Check out ActivityHero for kids’ holiday break camps in your area! There’s something for everyone, and you can find options that last for a few hours, a whole work day, or a few days at a stretch — whatever suits your family’s needs!

Categories
After-School Activities Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

Cooking With Kids: Getting Kids Familiar with the Kitchen

The dreaded dinnertime dilemma: You suddenly realize that it’s just after five o’clock and it’s time to make dinner…again! Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else to take over the dinner preparations, or at least lend a hand from time to time? Look no further than your own children. Your toddler might not be able to pull of a three-course meal, but she can certainly help bring things to you and set the table.

Kids are always eager to learn and help, but so often we push them aside–even plopping them in front of the television–so that we can get a meal on the table without having to listen to a “drum” solo on the pots and pans, clean up extra spills because their hand-eye coordination needs more practice, make an impromptu double batch of the casserole because she accidentally put in the whole package of noodles instead of half. By taking time to embrace these teachable moments and minds, it’s possible to get kids familiar with the kitchen and basic skills from an early age.

Just as with reading, piano and soccer, with repeated practice their skills will develop and by the time they’re pre-teens they can easily cook dinner one night a month.

Safety First!

Just because toddlers can’t learn the proper way to handle a knife doesn’t mean that they should. Use common sense, and err on the side of caution, when deciding which skills you’ll teach the kids.

Younger kids can:

  • measure dry ingredients like sugar, flour, beans
  • pour milk, oil, water and broth into pans
  • stir ingredients together
  • break eggs (into a separate bowl to avoid a crunchy calcium boost to your food)
  • unwrap butter, cheese and cream cheese
  • wash fruits and vegetables
  • press granola bars into a pan
  • toast bread and bagels
  • spread jam, butter and peanut butter with a plastic knife
  • mash potatoes, bananas and cooked apples
  • use cookie cutters
  • press garlic

cooking-with-kids

Older kids can:

  • peel vegetables
  • open canned goods
  • cut fruits and vegetables
  • grate cheese
  • slice vegetables
  • use specialty appliances like blenders, waffle makers and panini presses
  • follow written recipes
  • microwave food
  • use the stove and oven

Sanitation Skills

Set a good example by pulling or pinning your hair back, putting on an apron and washing your hands thoroughly as you start each cooking session. Explain each step as you do it, rather than lecture them, and invite them to do it with you. If they choose not to, let them know that the cooking can’t commence until they’ve completed these steps. These reminders will be frequent at first, but over time donning an apron and washing their hands before cooking will become second nature.

Nutritious Nibbles

Make your first foray into cooking with the kids relatively simple and create a snack that they’ll enjoy. Some kid-friendly favorites include:

Apple Slices with Nutty Dip- Wash or peel and apple and cut it into slices. Stir together 1 cup of peanut (or other nut) butter with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese. Either dip apples or spread the dip on top of each slice.

Loaded Bagels- Toast or microwave bagels and spread with cream cheese. For fruity bagels, top with chopped strawberries and bananas, blueberries and shredded coconut. Or try veggies like colored bell pepper pieces, chopped broccoli and shredded carrots.

Berry Green Smoothies- Fill the blender with a generous handful of spinach, a banana, two cups of frozen strawberries or an assorted berry blend. Add enough milk or yogurt to blend to the desired thickness.

Expand Their Knowledge and Their Vocabulary

families-that-cook-together

Experts say that kids who are active in preparing the family’s meals tend to eat healthier. Cooking with the kids is a great time to casually discuss nutrition since you’re not competing with television commercials beckoning your kids to eat sugary-packaged snacks or magazine ads touting the newest corn syrup-laden fruit beverages that will have the kids running on high-speed all night long.

Talk about the importance of eating a balanced diet; fresh fruits rather than fruit snacks; the virtues of a heartily topped baked potato over nutrient-void potato chips.

If your family follows a way of eating that’s not mainstream–vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Paleo–this is a prime opportunity to educate your kids about your way of eating.

Take the kids grocery shopping and let them choose new-to-them fruits and vegetables. At home hop on Google to find a recipe and prepare it for dinner. Kids who are given choices in meal planning, do they want vegetable soup or chili for dinner, are often more willing to eat the foods since they feel they’ve been given some control.

When cooking use the names of the tools as you use them. Show them the difference between ‘whisk’ and ‘stir’ as you make cookies. First you whisk the eggs with the sugar, then you slowly stir in the flour. They probably won’t remember the words the first time, but heard repeatedly during regular cooking sessions, they’ll internalize the words and start using them when appropriate.

Have Fun

Most of all, don’t stress over these cooking sessions. Enjoy your time cooking with kids! Making memories and teaching them in an inconspicuous way and over time they’ll develop a vast array of skills. What are some ways that you include your kids in cooking? Share your tips in the comments!

If your child enjoys cooking, consider some of these summer camps for your little culinary geniuses!

Cooking Camp for Tweens and Teens – Palo Alto, CA

Health Hands Cooking – Novi, MI

Children’s Culinary Creations – Los Altos Hills, CA