Heat and rain. Rain and heat.
The weather has made it rough this summer for young lemonade-stand capitalists trying to make a profit before school starts.
But there’s more than one way to run a lemonade stand. Try this approach: Play a board game aptly called Lemonade Stand. In addition to some fun, it might even help your kids learn to run their curbside business a little bit better.
Geared to youngsters up to preteens, this is where neighborhood bragging rights are gained and play money is won and lost. With Lemonade Stand, players “buy” cups, lemons, sugar and ice cubes and deal with changing weather conditions and pricing strategies to beat the competition and attract customers.
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The player who makes the most money from selling wins the game. Friends who have played Lemonade Stand said it takes less than 30 minutes for a round, and there’s nothing slow about it.
In the realm of board games that teach kids about money, entrepreneurship and business smarts, Monopoly, The Game of Life and Payday (or their electronic versions) are the three classics. But Lemonade Stand and a few others that are part game, part teaching tool have also found a home on toy store shelves.
Educational games that focus on business and involve play money changing hands have always had a niche, even in this age of Minecraft and other wildly popular video games. said Kathleen McHugh, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association in Chicago.
“Either parents aren’t interested” in these types of old-school board games “or they are ultra-interested and are looking,” McHugh said.
If you’re shopping for business or money skills board games to keep your youngster entertained in the waning weeks of summer, here are a few more recommendations I found from scanning several toy stores.
Want to sharpen your kids’ math skills? Consider Money Bags, which requires counting coins and bills. Need to convert 25 cents without using dimes? Money Bags shows the way. Described as a “banking bonanza as players collect, count and exchange money all the way to the finish line,” the goal is to earn more money than other players.
Shopping Spree is another game that has trended well with parents and kids. Players move around a board and have opportunities to make purchases when they land on a store space. The goal is to make wise purchases and conserve money.
Finally, if your kids like Monopoly, they might also enjoy playing Hotel Tycoon, which has been a big seller over the years. Players buy and build hotels and compete for guests — all the while trying to make the most money or bankrupting opponents.
There are plenty of games that can be fun and engaging and help your kids master money and business skills after a few trips around the board. You never know, you might be raising the next Mark Zuckerberg.