Monday, September 17, 2012

The Garage Sale for Kids: Teaching the Value of Work

Finally, it was time to open the cupboards, clear the basements, and air out the closets. We needed to have a garage sale! Kat and I had one this weekend and we let the wee ones participate. It seemed like a good learning experience for them.

From the beginning the girls, helped sort some of their things for the sale. This was hard because they did not want to give up a lot of their things--even baby toys! But, I think they both came around (well, a little bit) and became engaged in helping with the sale.

Working on the dollhouse!
My daughter stumbled on an old dollhouse a couple of weeks ago. The previous owner gave it to her to sell at the garage sale. With a little bit of elbow grease, my daughter was able to clean it up for the sale. Admittedly, I was a little nervous when my daughter was first given said dollhouse--I thought for sure that she would want keep it. Then, I thought it would be a great learning experience for her. Of course, she did ask to keep it. Then, I reminded her of her promise. From then on, she worked on cleaning it without asking to keep it. Check!

The girls also had a lemonade stand. We figured that it was a good way that they could help and possibly draw some customers in with their cute smiles! The girls were so excited about their lemonade stand that they wanted to set it up at 9:00AM. We had quite a time getting them to delay opening until 11:00AM. We also had to curb them from badgering customers---although, I do admire their persistence!

Lemonade Stand!
Additionally, the girls helped with sorting and organizing the merchandise.While sorting and organizing may become tiring for some of us, the girls treated it with exuberance. They were excited to be helping! They also helped putting things away after the sale.

Now, they did not sell the doll house and they only had a handful of patrons at the lemonade stand but, I do think that they learned quite a bit about the process. They learned the value of finding new purpose for old items--whether it be selling them or giving them to someone else who needed the item. They also learned about making a product to sell to others and how to help customers. I think that they also learned about how much work goes into the sale--setting it up, making the merchandise presentable, and straightening up items after customers have had a look.

There are quite few things kids can do to help with a garage sale. In fact, I think that the girls did a lot more than I thought they would. (This not to say that there weren't times when they got bored and we had to find something else not sale-related for them to do!) Here are some things kids can do during the sale:
  • Help with set up and take down.
  • Arrange items in displays.
  • Straighten items after customers have searched through them.
  • Man a lemonade stand.
  • Bring water or food out for the "sale clerks."
  • Work on signs.
  • Demonstrate toys for customers.
When things do get slow or the kids get particularly antsy, you can set up a movie for them to watch or set them to a task that will take them awhile to complete. Also, have someone around that is unencumbered by the sale and can help you with the kids.

Overall, the garage sale was fun. However, it is a lot of work, so I am not sure that we will be doing another one again soon!

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