Great Business Ideas for Kids

Check out these great business ideas for your kids. It's more than just a way to make money: having a business, even a kid-sized one, helps  develop problem-solving skills, social skills, financial responsibility and builds a child's self confidence.

Are your kids looking for a way to earn money this summer but bored with baby-sitting and lemonade stands? There's no reason they have to be limited to the traditional "kid jobs" when there are options out there to fit almost every interest. It's more than just a way to make money: having a business, even a kid-sized one, helps develop problem-solving skills, social skills and financial responsibility and builds a child's self-confidence. The kid business ideas here are recommended for ages 10 and up, but the age appropriateness naturally depends on individual maturity level. You as a parent or guardian know best what your child is ready for and can help kdis decide wisely.

Pet Sitting
Pet sitting is a less stressful alternative to baby-sitting. This works well in the summer months when people go on vacation but don't want to put the pets in a kennel. Depending on your child's skill with animals, it can involve as much as feeding, walking, and grooming several dogs or as little as feeding some fish. For older children who know about horse care, this may be another option if there's a stable nearby.

Lawn Clean-up and Outdoor Services
Outdoor jobs are a good prospect for those who dislike monotonous work. In the spring, this service usually involves pulling weeds, tilling and planting. In autumn, it's all about raking leaves and putting down mulch. Winter may bring work shoveling snow. Your child will probably be able to borrow the garden-owner's tools, but it's best if they have a basic set of their own. With some number stencils, a can of bright-colored paint and a brush, your child can go door to door and offer to paint house numbers on driveways.

Car Wash
This is great for young people with a lot of energy but who aren't much for planning. All they'll need is a parking lot with easy access (both in and out), running water, car soap and sponges and one or two friends. For better results, they might want to put up some fliers a week before the car wash and, of course, some big, bright signs near the car wash itself.

Errands and Assisting
Your child can either offer a general errand service (pick up groceries, take letters to the post office) or offer their services as a party assistant or garage-sale assistant or for other event-specific work. A lot of small jobs are overlooked when we're organizing something major, and there's always room for a responsible young person who can pick up the loose ends.

Lunch Delivery Service
Few office workers have time to go out for lunch these days, so making lunch runs between offices and a good, nearby sandwich shop can be a profitable part-time business. Simply talk to the main receptionist at smaller local businesses about the possibility of starting a delivery service. (It's best to go with them for this, as reception may be a little suspicious). One or two small offices (10 to 15 people) should be enough. When taking orders they can either use a notebook or create individual order sheets (or use the sandwich shop's menus). There's no investment required. Money can be collected when the orders are taken and used to buy the lunches. You may want to make sure the child knows how much everything will cost before they start offering the service, so they're clear on what their profit will be (and so they don't actually lose money). Also, your child should make sure the shop can fill a large order quickly; otherwise, they can start taking orders around 10 or 11 AM to give the shop time to fill the order.

Entertaining: Puppet Shows, Clown Acts and Face Painting
Puppet shows are ideal for sociable kids who love attention and don't mind a bit of planning. Your child and a few friends can build a puppet stand out of scrap pieces of plywood or cardboard, set it up outdoors and offer performances. Puppets can either be made from scraps or bought, and kids can either make up their own skits to perform or find some at the library. They can advertise the upcoming show for free with colorful fliers in libraries, day care centers and anywhere parents of small children might be. Set up seats or blankets in front of the stand and have one child on duty to take admission.

For an older child who enjoys entertaining younger ones, being a party clown can be a fun way to make money. Because so many little ones are afraid of adult-sized clowns, there is a niche for child performers. Costumes can be made out of old clothes and scraps, and with a little library research, your child can find some entertaining balloon animals, magic tricks and the like.

Children who are less active but are artistic might enjoy face painting. Your child will need only a high-traffic area (a public market or the local park, but check regulations first), a stand with the necessary makeup and two stools. They can charge per face or offer a list of standard faces (lion, princess, etc.) with prices and take requests as well.

Arts and Crafts
If your child is skilled in arts and crafts, they might be able to sell their work. They can set up a stand in a high-traffic area or ask around at smaller craft shops to see if they can sell their finished crafts on consignment. If your child's a dabbler in crafts, look around together for a specific craft that might sell well, such as beaded jewelry, handmade greeting cards, candles, soap, etc. Remember, making crafts takes time and skill, even from a child, so encourage your child not to sell his or her work too cheaply.

Gift Box Services
Make up some order sheets with themed gift box ideas, such as gourmet foods or body care, and market the service with fliers in gift shops. They can even add extras like balloons. It doesn't require an investment; your child can collect the money when they take the order and use it to buy the items for the gift box, then hand-deliver it. Here, too, check that they know how much everything will cost before they offer the service. If this is a bit too much, there's the simpler, short-term option of a Christmastime gift-wrapping stand. In early September or before, your child can ask the management of small to mid-sized department stores to find one that would like to offer a Christmas gift-wrapping service to their customers in the late afternoon (i.e., after school) hours.

Of course, this list is only the beginning. Every community has its own needs and opportunities for kids to try their hand at business. Encourage your kids to look around for jobs that need to be done around town and they may well come up with something on their own.If you live near a well-used golf course and your child already knows or is interested in learning something about golf, they can talk with the club management to see if they already have a program that they can join. If they don't, your child can ask to either stay there and wait for someone needing a caddy (this works only on very busy courses) or put up a flier and wait for calls.

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