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Lemonade stand: Turning lemons into dollars for charity

Updated on November 6, 2016

The lemonade stand: Turning lemons into dollars for charity

Lemonade stands are a fun and easy way for kids to raise money for charity. Here I'll cover the best locations, recipes, marketing ideas, and ways to make them fun and entertaining. Also how to add a TWIST to make it even more fun and profitable.

My sister and I use to have sell lemonade and cupcakes at a table in our front yard. That was before I was old enough to babysit and after I was young enough to pick up (glass) coke bottles to turn in for, I believe 2 cents each.

I never got an allowance as a kid, even though I performed a lot of chores around the hours. Consequently, I spent a lot of time searching for ways to make money. Besides babysitting, I mowed lawns, pulled weeds, hung clothes, ironed clothes, folded clothes -- boy did I get tired of clothes -- washed dishes, dusted, cleaned bathrooms, and caddied for my Dad!

The most fun I had earning money was selling lemonade and cupcakes with my sister, Jackie. We had so much fun and we learned a great deal about customer service, cash management, planning and of course cleanup.

I'll share with you what we did and give you some ideas of how to convert that info into a way to earn money for you or your favorite charity.

Read on and I'll also share our secret recipes and THE TWIST that had kids flocking to us dragging the grownups with them.

A simple lemonade stand (priced way too low!)

A simple lemonade stand (priced way too low!)
A simple lemonade stand (priced way too low!)

Keep it Simple, but have an alternative

As with anything you want to sell, keep it simple. Only have a couple of options. Why? Because if you give a person too many choices, they may not choose any. They'll say, "Let me think about it. I'll be back." And, they might mean it. But come back? They might not.

Lemonade and cupcakes worked well when I was a kid, but now due to the health revolution, I'd add bottled water and a non-sugared, low-fat cupcake as well. Maybe a blueberry or banana muffin.

For those people who just have to have "iced caffeine" you could sell Cokes and/or Pepsi. You can pick up good deals and sell them for $2 dollar each.

If you do this, make sure to have a recycle container available for the empties. You'll be able to turn those in at a recycle center and get a little more money for your charity.

Don't forget the dogs!

No matter where you go in our town, people are walking their dogs. What that means to your lemonade stand is that you should have a large bucket of water next to your table -- with a sign -- for our canine friends.

The sign could be something as simple as, "Dog water" or, "Dog Water Bucket", "For the Dogs". Or, be silly and make up something really silly.

If a dog drinks, the owner is more likely to buy something. In fact, they will probably feel obligated to. It's the Law of Reciprocity: You did something for me so I have to do something for you.

Give it a Twist

Give it a Twist
Give it a Twist

Give your lemonade stand a twist

As I mentioned earlier, my sister and I had it fairly easy in that we lived in a trailer park. One with a gaggle of kids of all ages. They came because we were the new shiny thing. But they stuck around because we were fun -- we had a twist to the normal bake sale.

They not only stuck around, but they attracted more kids and those kids attracted more yet. They also ran home to get money and many brought back their parents. And grownups just can't resist buying something from a kid -- especially an enterprising one.

What was our twist? It was pretty simple. We put a penny in the bottom of every 6th cupcake cup before we poured the batter and baked them. The person who found the penny got a free cupcake.

We had some cupcake without frosting (my favorites) and if someone won from one of those, then some kid would buy one of those thinking all of the non-frosted cupcakes had pennies. If someone won with a frosted cupcake with red sprinkles, then those sold.

We thought we were being optimistic by baking a dozen more cupcakes than the last sale. But, we literally always sold out no matter how cupcakes we baked. So, I guess we weren't optimistic enough!

People love surprises, the chance of winning and the hooting an hollering of the others when they won or lost.

So use this idea or come up with your own twist but have a twist and make it fun!

Another Twist Idea - Taste Test

Another Twist Idea - Coke vs Pepsi
Another Twist Idea - Coke vs Pepsi

Why not have a Coke vs. Pepsi taste challenge? You could have paper cups filled with Coke or Pepsi. Invite people to pay say, 25 or 50 cents to take the challenge to see if they can guess what was in the cup they tasted.

If they are correct, then they get a FREE drink of their choice -- Coke, Pepsi or Lemonade. People love these contests. Everyone is positive that they can tell which is which. But can they? I've seen these done and quite frankly, most people don't know the difference.

It will draw attention to your lemonade stand and more business. If it looks like more people get it right, just quietly close down the contest and sell the canned Coke and Pepsi. No one will be the wiser.

Oh yeah, don't forget to code the bottom of the cup as to what you put in it -- Coke or Pepsi.

Location, Location, Location

When we held our lemonade stands, we lived in family trailer parks with lots of kids just looking for something to do.

Other great locations would be any place where a lot of people are socializing. For instance...

In front of a busy business

Safeway in my town often allows non-profits to hold fundraisers.

Youth Sporting events

In the small town of Fort Bragg, CA, annually there is are soccer playouts where teams from all over California come to participate. It's a perfect place for holding a lemonade stand to raise money.

Garage sales

Garage or yard sales are another perfect place to have a lemonade stand. I've attended many and I always buy something from the kids even if I'm not hungry or thirsty.

Farmers Market

During the summer months Fort Bragg and Mendocino, a neighboring town, hold farmers markets. These are good locations. You'd have to check, they may charge you for participating, but it may just be worth it. Who can resist a kid with a lemonade stand?

Busy parks

Go to any busy park where parents are there with their kids on a hot day. Lots of kids, hot day, lemonade and cupcakes. What's not perfect about that?

Small town parades

Small towns seem to hold parades for just about any reason and my town is no exception. We have at least 3 every year. You could set up on any street in the town. You may even live on a street that people have to park or walk by to get to the parade.

Dog parks

where there are many dogs exercising their people. Set up near the water fountains -- make it like the water-cooler at work where people can stop and chat with other dog lovers.

Maybe make dog cookies too.They'd sell great!

RECIPE: best lemonade EVER!

This is the recipe we used for lemonade and it was so good, we had to keep ourselves from drinking our profits!

What really makes this recipe so good is making the syrup first - try it, you'll LOVE it!


24 4-oz servings OR 12 8-oz servings


2 cup sugar

2 cup water

2 cup lemon juice

7-8 cups cold water

1. Make a syrup by putting the sugar and 2 cups of water into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely - stir often.

2. Juice 8 to 12 lemons, enough for 2 cups of juice.

3 Add the juice and the sugar syrup to a large pitcher or gallon jar. Add 7-8 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength.

4. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.


If it's too sweet or weak for you, add a little straight lemon juice.

Serve over ice.

The perfect mini-cupcake pan

Cuisinart AMB-24MMP Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware 24-Cup Mini Muffin Pan, Silver
Cuisinart AMB-24MMP Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware 24-Cup Mini Muffin Pan, Silver
This non-stick mini-cupcake pan is perfect for those tiny, bite-size cupcakes. Great whether you're baking for a sale or at home.

RECIPE: The best yellow cupcakes ever

When we were kids, we used a Betty Crocker cake mix to make the cupcakes. These mixes are still a good choice today. They work especially well for younger children to make.

If however, you'd prefer homemade, which really can't be beat, this is my favorite recipe. These cupcakes taste great and but require a little more effort than a mix.

Makes: 2 dozen

Preheat oven to 350


5-1/3 cups sifted flour (cake flour preferred)

1 tsp salt

4-1/2 tsp baking powder

2 cups milk

3 tsp vanilla

1 pound butter or margarine (4 sticks unsalted)

3 cups sugar

8 egg yolks

8 egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar


1. Sift together the four, baking powder and salt.

2. Add milk and vanilla to the mixture and mix well.

3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy (20-30 seconds).

4. Gradually add the sugar on high speed to the butter.

5. Add the mixture from #1 and 2 above to the butter and sugar mixture and beat on high speed for 4 minutes.

6. Beat the egg yolks together in another bowl.

7. Slowly add the egg yolks to the mixture.

8. Beat the egg whites in a glass bowl until peaks form.

9. Fold the egg whites into the mixture -- do not beat.

10. Pour into muffin pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes -- until a toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.


Cool before frosting.

RECIPE: Butter Cream frosting like Mom used to make

Frosts 2 dozen cupcakes


1-1/3 cup soft butter or margarine

6 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar

3 tsp vanilla

4 tablespoons milk


1. Blend butter and sugar well.

2. Add vanilla and milk.

3. Beat until smooth.


If too stiff, add milk -- a drop at a time until desired consistency.

RECIPE: Simple but delicious Banana Muffins

A healthy alternative

This recipe is very simple but very good and good for you!

Makes: 2 dozen

Preheat oven to 360


6 ripe bananas

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup oil (canola or olive)

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda


2 cups walnuts chopped


1. Mash and cream the bananas in a large bowl

2. Add oil and sugar to the mixture and mix well.

3. Sift remaining dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) together then add to the banana mixture.

4. If adding walnuts, gently fold them into dough.

5. Pour into muffin pans and bake for approximately 10 minutes -- until a toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.

NOTES: One thing you might do is make 1 dozen without walnuts, then add the walnuts to the 2nd dozen. Put a walnut half on top of the ones with walnuts so you can tell which is which.

Something for everyone

Something for everyone
Something for everyone

Mini-cupcakes -- something for everyone

Mini-cupcakes could be a big seller for you. There are many people on restricted diets and can only have a small amount of sweets.

Others may be dieting to lose weight and the mini-cupcakes appeals to them -- it allows them to be bad, but not that bad.

And then there are the kids that show up with a couple of quarters and really want to buy something to help the animals -- or whatever charity your raising money for.

Mini-cupcakes allow you to have something for everyone.

FIV Cat Rescue
FIV Cat Rescue | Source

Don't Forget Your Charity's Handouts

Don't forget to have handouts: newsletters, flyers or other informational items for your charity out for interested parties. Maybe even a donation can.

Call and ask your charity for materials. They'll be more than happy to provide you with some for your lemondade stand. They might even give you an item to sell such as t-shirts, hats or other merchandise with their name on it.

Sunkist, yes of lemon fame, has a program to help kids take a stand and help a charity. On the Take a Stand web site, you can get Tools, Tips and Recipes.

"Get help selecting a charity, tips for running a successful stand, printable signs, refreshing lemonade recipes, food safety tips and more."

You can also get:

Lemonade For Sale Poster

Stand Price Sign

Stand Sales Tracker

How to Price Your Product

What more do you need? A TWIST!

For complete information, click, Take a Stand

Lemonade Stand Books for Younger Readers On Amazon

© 2008 Frankie Kangas

Guest Book For Reader Feedback

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    • Spiderlily321 profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great lens. There are some really good ideas on here. Thank you for sharing! Angel blessed~

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great lens. It has lots of excellent ideas for kids to learn about selling and giving. Thanks

    • Franksterk profile imageAUTHOR

      Frankie Kangas 

      7 years ago from California

      @AstroGremlin: I agree. I sold many cupcakes and lemonade during my youth. Learned a lot about business and marketing very young.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Selling lemonade (or anything) is good experience for kids.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      8 years ago

      Happy 1st Day of Summer! Great ideas and wonderful plan for fundraisers!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      8 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I did this when I was little. And I taught my girls to do it too. We made gingerbread cookies and lemonade. They are big now - when the grandkids come I will teach them too - it's a nice beginning.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great post,I like it very much. It's helpful to me.By the way would please give some advise to my lens uefa champions league 2010.Thanks a lot.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a delicious page ... I was thinking, "man, I could sure use a stiff hot toddy" and then I happened upon lemons - er - lemonade. I would say lemonade is my favorite non-alcoholic beverage of all time; preferably pink, definitely tart! Hugs to you my dear Frankie! May your days be bright.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great, interesting lens Frankster! I love lemonade! And come on, Pepsi hands down.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      How cool to draw on your sweet childhood experience to encourage charity and they you even provide the best recipes for success!

    • Jack2205 profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent information. Blessed by the Charity Angel.

    • NanLT profile image


      9 years ago from London, UK

      I didn't know kids even still had lemonade stands. My cousin and I used to set one up every summer.

      Added to "Another 100 Lenses for my 200th Lens".

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This was so helpful to me! Our church, The Adventure, is trying to raise $5,000 for Blood:Water Missions Organization-It works to provide clean water and new wells to people in Africa. We are doing this through Lemon Aid campaign so we need some great ideas to get us started. Thanks again!

    • Franksterk profile imageAUTHOR

      Frankie Kangas 

      10 years ago from California

      @OhMe: You know, it is a great idea for a playground. Good luck! Bear hugs, Frankie

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oops I forgot to congratulate you on that pretty purple star! Well done!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great lens about Lemonade Stands. My grandson has set up one at our local Farmers Market. I am lensrolling this to Friends of the Park because I think you have given me an idea for the playground.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Congrats on the purple star!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Awesome lens! Congrats on the Purple Star.


    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA


    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      11 years ago from Canada

      Beautifully done & blessed. I've added your lens to my lens, The Best-Ever Lemon Cupcakes Recipe ~~ An Adventure Story and lensrolled it, too!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      11 years ago

      This lens was featured on A Day of 100 Squid Angel Blessings.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 

      11 years ago from Australia

      Beautifully crafted lens. Fun facts, good information, lovely images, 5*

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! great lens.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      what an impressing lens.

      Got lots of ideas from it.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I always support the kids with lemonade stands. It teaches them so much. 5 stars.

    • oneskms profile image


      11 years ago

      Great ideas and lens. 5* and favourite

    • ZenandChic profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens! Putting a penny in cupcakes is such a great idea. I also liked the idea you had of having a water bowl for the dogs. Very cool!

    • ltraider profile image


      11 years ago

      Great ideas. My daughters had a lemonade sale this summer to raise money for the SPCA. They were just as happy doing this as they would have been keeping the money for themselves.

    • teamlane profile image


      11 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel today! :)

      Colleen ~

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Even at the young age, they are determined to help others. What an amazing kiddo and a great example for other kids out there!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens and interesting ideas. I especially like the idea of locations for the lemonade stand.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Love the lens! Cute ideas that I would have never thought of, even something for our four-legged friends. Five stars and a new favorite. Keep up the great work Frankie.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great page. The twist ideas and the mini-cupcakes are my favorites. And it's nice that you give links to the Sunkist place for sign and stuff. 5 stars and a favorite.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Fun idea -- especially providing the dog water! Delightful!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      11 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Welcome to the Squidoo Activists Group!

    • AndiEnns profile image


      11 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • profile image

      The Homeopath 

      11 years ago

      You were indeed one very clever kiddo!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Way to take a simple idea and turn it into a great leaning tool for kids. Bravo!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great Lens and Great Idea

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This site was not only informative, but a lot of fun! Good Job

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great idea! Great lens!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another excellent lens, Frankie. 5 stars and a favorite. I never had a lemonade stand growing up. I can see where it teaches kids valuable lessons about life.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      What a lens! Your twist is a diamond. 5 stars and stumbled.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      11 years ago from Northern California

      Great job. Be sure to add the Lemonade Stand to the Squidoo Activists Group.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great idea, and a good way for young entreprenuers to get a start. 5 Stars for you!

    • BFunivcom profile image

      Allan R. Wallace 

      11 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      I stopped at a lemonade stand the other day, and boy were the kids having fun. It's a great tool for learning new ways to relate to people.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      11 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Lemonade is really good (and healthy) sweetened with agave nectar. I love it when I see kids set up a lemonade stand, especially in the Texas heat. Nothing is better to quench your thirst. For a quarter? What a steal! 5*s


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