Summer is right around the corner. For our family that means a few lazy afternoons spent on the shores of the Gulf, lots of iced tea to try and counteract the heat here in Houston, and watching tomatoes, basil and other summer specialties ripen in our backyard vegetable garden.

Summer also means that the school year is coming to an end. Are you looking for some activities for your kids to do? How about ones that also teach your children some great financial lessons?

Start a Virtual Lemonade Stand

Lemonade stands are a great tool to engage children in the art of making money, satisfying customers, etc. However, they are becoming a bit more controversial as time moves on (just search for “lemonade stand + controversy”). Instead, what about starting a virtual business on as a summer experiment? is a website where people sell gigs that cost (you guessed it) just $5. The website takes a $1 cut of your profit, and you keep the rest. There are service-oriented gigs, and information product gigs. And let me tell you, there are some truly unique ones available.

As an activity, look through this website with your child and help them brainstorm something that they can offer for just $5. How are they going to communicate this? Help them write the copy for their message, and perhaps make a video.

Then, wait and see if you get any buyers!

Note: The age allowed to sell on is not clear, so you may have to have you child’s gig through an account you create and then help them with customers.

Open Up a Joint or Custodial Savings Account and a Checking Account

Just the act of taking your child to the bank and having them watch you open up a savings account in their name is a financial lesson. By having these accounts open, you can involve your child throughout the years when you deposit any holiday or birthday money they receive. Perhaps you will teach them that they need to deposit and “save” part of their allowance each week no matter what. Or maybe you can help them understand setting a goal to save for something expensive and then making sure they put money away for it.

Give an Allowance

You can start an allowance with your child based or not based upon chores (or whatever you want to tie it to). There are several systems available that add a level of tracking onto a regular allowance and make it more interactive. For example:

  • Allowance Manager: Kids and adults can sign onto this free online tool. For adults, you can reward good behavior, discourage misbehavior, and track chores. For the kids, they can sign into the website and see how much allowance money they have accumulated.
  • Active Allowance: This free allowance tool allows you to create accounts, responsibilities, checklists, and budgets for each of your children. After the initial set up it is the kid’s responsibility to check items off of the list you’ve created. Parents then can go back in and enter totals into columns for how much the child receives for what. There are no bank accounts associated, so kids need to log in and print off a “check” made out to their parents in order to redeem money.
  • Oink: If you’d like to teach your child how to spend more wisely with their budget, then this may be the tool for you. This site teaches your child how to allocate part of their budget towards the things they want. When they are ready, kids can also make purchases from preapproved retailers within their parent-established spending limits.

Get them Started in the Stock Market

You can purchase just one stock of a company and teach your child all about investments. Purchase a stock from a company that they are really interested in and can easily identify with (like Disney). You could also pick a handful of companies you are comfortable working with during this experiment and then ask them to choose the one they would like. Track the ups, downs, and explain where the money vanishes to or grows from as you go from week-to-week. You can currently buy just one stock from over 200 companies using OneShare. You will receive a framed certificate for the kid to see and hang in their room. Also, in their MyFirstStock program you can receive a free eBook for teaching your children about stocks.

Do you have summer plans? Any activities or lessons you specifically would like to teach your children? 

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