How to Have the Ultimate Lemonade Stand

This summer, we’re teaming up with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to help raise money for pediatric-cancer research, and we hope you’ll join us! 

Wooden Lemonade Stand in Park Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Let’s be honest, it’s pretty darn hard to top the excitement of your first lemonade stand. You get to set up shop outside, make (and drink!) loads of lemonade, and yell (with permission!) to every car, bike, and walker that passes by. And when someone actually stops and gives you money? Forget it! So fun! But what if your kids’ stand could make them feel good and DO good too? We’ve got everything you need to get started, including yummy treats to sell, an easy DIY stand, and all the how-to's for joining our campaign with ALSF. Because there’s nothing more powerful than kids helping other kids!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was created in 2005 by Liz and Jay Scott, the parents of a little girl named Alex who raised more than $1 million by selling lemonade before she died from cancer at age 8. Since then, families have hosted more than 75,000 lemonade stands for the organization, helping to raise more than $150 million. The impact is irrefutable: “We’ve met kids who’ve been in the clinical trials that we funded who have gone from being incurable, like Alex was, to being cured,” says Liz. Her best advice for hosting your own stand: Don’t worry about hitting any specific amount. “Even if a family raises $5, every dollar counts—we believe in curing childhood cancer one cup at a time,” she says. Super-big cheers to that! 

Sign Up and Sell for a Good Cause

We’ve made it easy for you to join us and host  a lemonade stand to benefit ALSF. Here’s how to set the kids up for fund-raising success.

  1. Register at alexslemonade.org/familyfunmag to get an event kit in the mail, with posters and more.
  2. Create a personal landing page through the site when you register and share the URL with friends and family members on social media. If people you know can’t come to your stand in person, they can donate online!
  3. Spread the word  by hanging your posters around town at coffee shops, libraries, and churches.
  4. Get selling! Instead of listing prices, ask  for donations of  any amount—you’ll be surprised by how generous people are.

Young Girls Setting Up Fresh Lemonade Stand Outside Don Diaz

Build Your Stand 

We made our lemonade stand out of wooden crates that  we spray-painted. (Check the storage section of a big-box store; crates usually cost $10.) Secure them together with clamps or jumbo binder clips. We hung the sign with dowels attached to the stand with zip ties—so you can repurpose the materials or store it all to use again. Tie yellow balloons to twine, and glue on paper leaves to make instant lemons! 

Young Girl Holding Tray of Treats Lemonade Stand Don Diaz

4 Irresistible Treats

A lemonade stand needs lemonade, of course, but you can raise even more money by selling snacks too.

Mango Lemonade Gummies
Makes 12 servings • About 2 dozen

  • ½ cup mango cubes
  • 1½  cups lemonade 
  • 3 oz. unflavored gelatin 

1. Add mango and lemonade to a blender. Cover. Blend until smooth.
2. Place the mixture in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin; whisk. Let stand 5 minutes. Microwave on high for 1 to 1½ minutes to dissolve gelatin. Stop and whisk every 15 seconds.
3. Pour mixture into silicone molds or a plastic-wrap-lined 8x8x2-in. baking pan. Cover top of pan with waxed paper. Chill 2 to 3 hours.
4. Release gummies from molds, or lift mixture from pan and invert onto a cutting board; carefully pull back plastic wrap. Cut into squares. Chill to store.

Mini Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 24

  • 1 box lemon or vanilla cake mix
  • 1½  sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 7-oz. jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 Tbs. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed (optional)
  • ½-¾  cup powdered sugar 
  • ½  tsp. lemon extract 

1. Prepare cake mix as mini cupcakes according to package directions. Let cool completely.
2. In an extra-large mixing  bowl, beat butter with an electric  mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add marshmallow creme and lemonade concentrate, if using. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat  in ½-¾ cup powdered sugar  and the lemon extract to make  a thick, spreadable frosting.
3. Frost cupcakes generously.

Kids Young Girls Drinking Lemonade Watermelon Flavor From Straw Don Diaz

Watermelon Lemonade
Makes 1 Gallon • About 16 servings

  • 2 5-lb. seedless watermelons, cubed
  • 16  oz. bottled or fresh lemon juice
  • ½-1  cup agave nectar 
  • Crushed ice (optional)

1. Working in batches, in a food processor or blender, combine the watermelon and lemon juice. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
2. Transfer to an extra-large pitcher. Repeat with the remaining watermelon and lemon juice.
3. Stir in agave and chill. Serve over ice if desired.

Lemonade Chex Mix
Makes 10 half-cup servings

  • 4  cups Chex cereal 
  • 2  Tbs. butter 
  • 2  Tbs. sugar
  • ½  tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 cup yogurt-covered raisins
  • 1 cup reduced-sugar Craisins
  • 1 cup white-chocolate chips 
  • Sprinkles 

1. Heat oven to 300°F. Place cereal in a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Heat butter and sugar in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until melted. Stir in extract to combine. Stir into cereal. 
3. Bake 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool. Stir in raisins and Craisins.
4. Heat white chocolate in the microwave on high for 15-second intervals until melted. Spoon into  a zip-top storage bag and seal.  Cut off one corner; drizzle over the mix. Top with sprinkles and let cool.
5. Package as desired or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Pro-Tips from Super Sellers

Over the past seven summers, the Bean kids, Anabelle, 14, and Daniel, 10, of New York City, have raised nearly $20,000 for ALSF. Crazy impressive, right?! Here are their best tips:

  1. Make a plan. Write a list of what you need to do before the event, and post it where everyone in the family will see it. This will help keep the process stress-free and fun! 
  2. Play to your kids' strengths. Let the kid who loves to bake, bake. The crafty kid can go to town on the stand, and your chatty kid can get busy spreading the word about the event. “I really like cooking, so this is really fun for me,” says Anabelle.
  3. Sell a variety of treats. Daniel and his dad make their famous brownies, and Anabelle and her mom bake lemon bars and cookies. And they have cups of lemonade of course! (Clearly we took their advice when planning this story.)
  4. Talk up passersby. It’s Daniel’s job to lure in customers on their busy New York City corner with his booming voice. “We get to meet new people from all over our neighborhood, and sometimes my friends and teachers come,” he says. (Even Paul McCartney once stopped by on his way to a performance!) Let the kids take turns to avoid burnout.
  5. Solicit online donations. The Bean family emails everyone they know a link to their website, and they promote the event on social media. About half of the money they raise comes from the stand itself. The other half comes from online donations, so this is key to their big numbers—and, potentially, yours!