Children have always loved earning their own money, and summer vacation is the perfect time for them to do so. Summer jobs for kids keep them busy and introduce them to the worlds of business and money management. When I was a child, my brother and I would obsess over ways in which we could raise money, from a lemonade stand (which, in my experience, does not
work if you live in a rural area) to selling home-grown vegetables door-to-door. But times have changed, and when it comes to summer jobs for kids, there are far more options than there used to be. Note: though some kids jobs require more supervision than others, you should supervise any business venture your child undertakes.
Cooler Refreshment Stand
Do you have a popular park near your home? Do you own a large cooler? Then this could be the perfect summer job for your child. On especially hot days, your child can pack a cooler with ice, cups, Kool-aid and popsicles. Your child can list the items available and the prices with marker on a large piece of posterboard. The set-up cost would be low – the piece of posterboard, Kool-aid and a large, inexpensive box of popsicles. By keeping the prices reasonable – say, fifty cents per popsicle and a quarter per small cup of Kool-aid, your child can gather a crowd and make a profit. Plus, it teaches business skills, like keeping the customers happy with full cups and cold drinks. Your child can add additional inexpensive touches as he or she pleases, such as giving away balloons to small children to draw attention.
In spring or early summer, this is a great way for kids to earn money. A few Styrofoam cups, some potting soil and some seed packets, and your child is on his or her way to a great summer job for kids. Your child will learn to take good care of the little seedlings, and to mark the cups and keep track of which seeds are which. Once the plants are 2-3 inches high, your child can go door to door selling them. If you child wants to add a little fertilizer to each cup at the beginning, that can be an added selling point and help the plants look healthier. Marigolds and tomato plants are both good for this purpose, as they’re common and fairly hardy.
Selling Fruits or Vegetables
If your child wants to take it one step further, he or she can grow vegetables in his or her own garden and sell them in late summer or fall. The start-up costs are, again, minimal: some seed packets, gardening tools and a patch of dirt. Tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and strawberries are all good crops for selling. The only problem with this is the delayed gratification. Unfortunately, your child won’t see any monetary fruits of their labor until harvest time, so it is a long-term summer job.
Encourage Your Child’s Talents
Today, children are taking up hobbies that I, as a child, had never even heard of. This puts a new twist on the traditional summer jobs for kids. They create magnets, knit, crochet, craft items using mosaics, own little sewing machines and pottery wheels, etc. While some of these talents would have little value to their “consumers”, others would. Handmade or hand-painted pots, vases and garden ornaments could be sold. Can your child sew? My eight-year-old neighbor girl can, which surprised me. If they don’t know how, they could learn fairly easily. Have your child take samples of items he or she has mended with them (for doubtful clients) and offer to patch holes and affix buttons for a small fee. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a pile of clothing needing minor repairs that I just keep forgetting to take to the tailors. Your child can stand out when making extra summer money just by being themselves.