School might be out, but summer months are still a great time to learn about money. With a bit more free time, children can try turning pocket money jobs into mini businesses, by setting up lemonade stands, washing cars, mowing lawns, or offering a hand with gardening. Here are a few ideas to consider this summer.
🍋 Run a lemonade stand
The classic first business is still a great option for children. Check the weather for a hot afternoon, get your provisions ready, find an old table, a nice looking jug, and, if the kids are old enough, explain why they’ll have to take away the cost of the lemons and sugar from their takings, before they’ve truly made a profit.
If you want to be eco friendly, you could make sure you wash and reuse glasses. And if you want to set your stand apart, try a range of flavours; you could add berries to make pink lemonade, or try some different recipes from around the world. Some add mint, brown sugar, ginger or mint, to vary the taste. Not everyone will have the right amount of money too, so make sure someone goes to the bank to get enough coins to give everyone change.
Skills: arithmetic, marketing, cookery
Requirements: lemons,sugar, a table or stand, a sign, a jug, some cups
🚘 Wash cars
Another kids classic, washing cars is fun to do over the summer, when children don’t mind getting covered in suds. A few fresh sponges and a bucket of soap water might suit the youngest of entrepreneurs. Older kids might want to see if they can get their hands on a good pressure washer, high quality car shampoos, and maybe even some wax, to really put a shine on the vehicle. If you’ve got some handheld vacuum cleaners, and the children are competent, you could also get them to offer to clean the interior too. Just remember to change sponges and clothes after a few washes, as you can end up grinding the previous car’s dirt into your new customer’s ride, if you’re not careful
Skills: arithmetic, cleaning
Requirements: sponges, buckets, car shampoo, and/or additional cleaning supplies, if necessary
🍓 Make jam
Depending on where you live, you might find public land filled with blackberry bushes, or other fruit. The supermarket and pick-your-own farms should be filled with ripe soft fruit too. You can make sure this doesn’t go to waste, and make a little profit, by running a kids’ jam business. Save up some glass jars, buy some sugar (remember to subtract the cost of your ingredients from your takings, if you want to know how much you’ve made), get your fruit and find a recipe. A lot of homemade soft-fruit jams, such as blackberries and raspberries require an equal ratio of sugar to fruit, though find a recipe that works for you. Young kids will need help sterilising the jars and boiling up the jam mix. Finally, make sure the kids design a nice label, adding details such as the makers’ names, where the fruit came from, and when it was made. Then you could sell it from a stand, like lemonade, or to friends and family, online.
And, don’t worry if the jam doesn’t end up looking like the stuff you buy in the shops. The best thing about home made stuff is that it doesn’t look or taste like the shop-bought stuff.
Skills: arithmetic, cookery, graphic design
Requirements: fruit, sugar, access to a stove, jars, labels
🐶 Care for pets
Dogs and cats still need looking after, even when schools are out, and parents have booked holidays. If your kids are good with animals and you’re on good terms with your neighbours, there are plenty of opportunities to walk dogs, feed fish, or care for cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises, etc. Just remember, if your kids do start a dog walking business over the summer, they probably shouldn’t take out more than four dogs at once, and they’ll have to make sure they have poo bags handy. If they don’t pick up the dog’s poop they might be breaking the law. They should also be careful with simple tasks such as fish feeding; some fish can die if too much uneaten food ends up in their tank. Nevertheless, caring for other people’s pets this summer could teach the kids about the animal kingdom, and the financial world.
Skills: arithmetic, customer relations, basic animal knowledge
Requirements: poo bags!
🏡 Offer gardening work
Over a hot summer, almost everyone’s garden and lawn needs watering, and even young kids can be trusted with a hose or a lawn sprinkler. Older children, meanwhile, might be able to wheel a mower around the neighbourhood, offering to cut lawns for cash. There’s also weeding work to be done, and perhaps a little pruning, if children can be trusted with secateurs.
If you really want to make a go of it, get the kids to draw up a flyer, listing services, and perhaps even prices. The work will not only net them some cash, it should also teach them how to care for the natural environment.
Skills: arithmetic, customer relations, basic horticulture
Requirements: watering can, and other gardening implements, as required.
👮♂️ Kids, work and the law
In the UK, the youngest a child can work part time is 13, apart from in a few specially exempt areas, such as theatre, TV and modelling. Kids aged 14 and 15 can only work for a limited number of hours.
There are also laws governing street trading, food standards, and there’s insurance available to protect sellers if anyone gets sick after eating or drinking their goods. In the very unlikely event that your child takes in more than £12,570 (that’s a lot of lemonade) they’ll also have to pay income tax.
In reality, the police, government and local councils tend not to deal with children as strictly as they do adults. However, parents and kids should also remember that some adults make their money mowing lawns and walking dogs, so you might want to avoid taking work away from grown-up workers, even if it is just for the summer. Whatever you do, use common sense, try to keep your neighbours happy, and take some professional advice if you think you need it.
🐓 How NatWest Rooster Money can help
We really hope Rooster Money can help you this summer. The pocket money app’s ‘spend’, ‘save’,’goals’ and ‘give’ pots should help adults and parents manage money. If your child is starting a business, they can create a custom pot in the app, to look after business expenses, or to save takings. Find out more about that here.
How the Rooster Card can help
The Rooster Card is a great way to give kids a bit of freedom this summer. This prepaid debit card gives the chance to learn about non-cash spending, and gives you freedom, flexibility and safety. You can set spending limits, decide whether it’s used in shops, via ATMs or online, and get updates every time it’s used. They can use it to buy business supplies, or spend their earnings this summer. Find out more, and get a free one-month trial, here.
Finally, please note
here are rules and limits when it comes making payments into Rooster Money accounts. If your child receives a lot of payments they might incur a small cost. You can find out more here.