If you’re an entrepreneur, you might have similar career hopes for your children. Maybe you want to teach them how to use their own talents, ideas, and perspectives to support themselves. Maybe you’re interested in teaching them something about the rewards of hard work.

In any case, you know that there are valuable lessons to be learned from starting a business venture. That’s what makes a summer business perfect for kids – it gives them something to work toward during the often-unstructured summer months and gives them a tangible reward for their efforts.

Best of all, it lets them experience what it’s like to “run” a business and make money with their own idea. If that doesn’t pass on the entrepreneurial bug, nothing will!

First, here are 4 lessons kids learn when they start a summer business. Next, check out 15 ideas for summer businesses kids can start on their own (or with a little help from you).

4 Lessons Kids Learn When They Start a Summer Business

1. You can set goals and work to achieve them. This might not be their first lesson in goal-setting, but it will certainly be a positive reinforcement. When a child or teen starts a summer business, they learn that their goal (earning money) can be met by working hard (making the lemonade, babysitting the neighbor’s daughter, etc.).

It’s no longer an abstract concept – they do the work, do the work properly, and they get rewarded for it. This is how children learn best, and that’s what drives this lesson home.

2. Running a business can put a lot of pressure on you. The long line forming at their lemonade stand, the screaming toddler they’re babysitting, the growing list of neighbors who need their yards mowed – even kids’ summer businesses can be stressful. But pressure is just a part of running a business, so it’s an essential lesson to learn early on.

Dealing with the pressure effectively is a valuable skill to learn early in life (and that’s why you might offer to occasionally help with the summer business).

3. Treating customers with respect is as important as what you sell. A child that scowls at every customer that walks up will soon learn that bad attitudes repel customers, while positive attitudes entice them.

Treating customers with respect is just as important as the quality of the product or service you sell. You can’t have one without the other!

4. To sell something, you need to know it really well. If you ask your child to run a yard sale with knick-knacks and pictures from around the house, chances are, they won’t do very well. They don’t know enough about the product to do a very good job of selling it.

But have a child sell cookies at a bake sale, their babysitting services, or their old toys and games at a yard sale, and you may see a sales prodigy emerge. Running a summer business teaches kids that in order to sell something, you need to know it really well.

15 summer business ideas for kids

Not sure where to start? The tried-and-true lemonade stand may not make your kids rich, but it will certainly teach them about the rewards that come from hard work (insert inspirational quote about life throwing lemons, making lemonade).

But don’t be afraid to get creative as you help your kids determine how they’ll make their extra money this summer – here are 15 summer business ideas for kids and teens that want to earn some cash without clocking in for a “real” summer job.

  1. Tutoring service
  2. Lemonade/iced tea/juice stand
  3. Sports lessons for younger kids
  4. An instrument, dance, or voice lessons for younger kids
  5. Deliver groceries to elderly or busy neighbors
  6. Customize/paint fidget spinners and sell them
  7. Dog walker or pet sitter
  8. Lawn maintenance and light landscaping
  9. Offer babysitting services
  10. Create handmade and custom jewelry
  11. Start a home bakery (give a menu to all your neighbors!)
  12. Sell crafts, art, or pottery
  13. Wash and detail cars and trucks
  14. Hold weekend yard sales (Tip: Sell refreshments, too)
  15. Help scrape/paint exteriors

We wish you the best of luck with your summer business ventures – there’s no better time of year to harness the freedom of entrepreneurship, and no better time to teach your kids about the ups and downs of going into a business solo. Happy selling, and don’t forget to take a few breaks to swim, sleep in, and spend time with friends!