There's something wonderful about setting up an old-fashioned, do-it-yourself lemonade stand on a summer afternoon. Even nicer: watching a group of eager, smiling children selling drinks and treats on the lawn and giving the money they earn to charity. Not only do the kids feel the satisfaction of helping a worthy cause, they also get to practice math skills and have a great time mixing and sampling recipes. In fact, it's a perfect excuse to throw a casual kids' party, inviting your child's friends to join the festivities.
Announce the gathering by sending out invitations on recipe cards: Print the party details on one side of a 3-by-5 index card and a recipe for lemonade on the other side, making it clear that the kids will make the lemonade at the party and don't need to bring anything from home. The day before the sale, have your child help make a batch of brownies and blondies to offer alongside the drinks. A sweet extra: Choose two or three fruit-flavored syrups kids can add to individual glasses just before serving.
Guests should arrive about an hour before you plan to open for business. Older children can assist in assembling the lemonade stand and painting a display banner. For the selling area, we used a plain rectangular tabletop over two trestles, both from Ikea; you can also put out a card table and cover it with a colorful vinyl tablecloth. Reserve one end of the table for the bank (we used a cardboard storage box from Ikea; kids could also decorate a shoebox), and provide a roll of quarters for making change. Position the stand to be visible from the street, and have an adult in the selling area at all times to make sure young children stay in the yard.
To make an eye-catching sign, outline the word lemonade on a 6-foot length of butcher paper or white cotton twill and let kids fill it in with paint. Staple the ends of the paper to 8-foot garden stakes and press the stakes into the grass behind the table. Place a smaller sign on the table with prices and the name of the charity that will benefit. Set out plastic or paper cups and colorful accessories like straws and napkins, and store extra ice nearby in a large cooler.
Assign guests to wrap brownies and blondies in cellophane and make lemonade. An adult may want to use a juicer to speed the process, but let each child squeeze a few lemons and stir in the sugar. A punch bowl works well for mixing big batches, and the finished lemonade can be transferred to plastic pitchers as needed. Place fruit syrups in plastic squeeze bottles to be added to cups of lemonade at customers' request.
Build excitement by arranging for a few patrons -- parents and friends of the party guests -- to stop by just as the stand opens. For a festive touch, rent a helium tank from a party store and have an adult blow up a balloon and write the name of each patron on the side with a marker. Display balloons at the stand to show off who has donated to charity, or let kid customers take them home.
Keep boredom at bay by rotating responsibilities: pouring lemonade, adding squirts of flavored syrup, handing out brownies, and serving as the banker. Kids can work in shifts, with time off to enjoy a snack themselves. After a selling period of 60 to 90 minutes, count the proceeds and let every child sign a donation letter (prepared in advance) that will be sent to the chosen charity. Guests can go home with extra balloons, leftover brownies, and a feeling of pride at helping out a good cause. What a special way to celebrate the summer!
Makes: 16Prep Time: 20 minutesCooking Time: 25-35 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Step 1: Spray a 9" by 13" baking pan with canola oil; set aside. In a medium bowl, microwave unsweetened chocolate and butter on high power for about a minute, until melted. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: In another bowl, combine eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add chocolate chips and raisins or nuts.
Step 3: Combine the two mixtures and pour batter into pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until slightly soft. Allow to cool in pan, and then cut brownies into 2" squares.
Each Brownie: 376 calories, 5 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat (10 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 84 mg cholesterol, 32 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 88 mg sodium.
Makes: 32Prep Time: 10 minutesCooking Time: 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Step 1: Spray a 9" by 13" baking pan with canola oil spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Step 2: Add canola oil and eggs to dry mixture; beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Step 3: Scrape dough into prepared pan; run water over a rubber spatula and smooth the top to spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out with just a bit of chocolate on it. Allow to cool in pan, then cut blondies into 2" squares.
Each Blondie: 247 calories, 2 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat (4 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 27 mg cholesterol, 22 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 75 mg sodium.
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (roll lemons on a hard surface before cutting, pressing down as you roll, to get the most juice from them), 1 cup extra-fine sugar, and 1 cup water. Stir well to combine. Pour mixture into a large pitcher. Add 2 quarts water; mix well. Serve lemonade over crushed ice. Makes 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups).
Each cup: 86 calories, 0 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg calcium, 0 mg iron, 1 mg sodium.