The base level of excitement in my household tends to be above average, I think. Part of the reason for this is that my wife and I both take pride in actually following through with “crazy” ideas. A perfect example is her recent walk from Boston to Northampton with no money and no food.
We’ve got some new adventures brewing right now, and I want to give you front row seats. As most adventures do, this one originated from various conversation threads running through our home over the past few months. Topics include:
- Consumerism is wasteful and bad
- Laws are unnecessarily complex, but worth understanding
- Kids don’t get enough practice solving open-ended problems in public school
- Connecting with our local community is very important
These threads gave rise to some actionable ideas, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that things all started to come together in a big way. I was at the playground with Dax. We had made some hoop gliders and were flying them. He suggested that we try to sell them.
Dax is not quite six, and I had previously thought that it was too early to start businesses with him. But his statement made me remember how simple the idea of running a business is at its core, and how it is certainly something a six-year-old can grasp. We can get materials for cheap, assemble them into toys, and then sell the toys for a profit.
I started asking Dax some math questions. “If we pay 5 cents to make the toy, and then we sell it for 25 cents, how much money do we make?”. “If we sell 5 toys, what is our total profit?”. With a little guidance, he was able to answer the questions. Excellent!
I ran home to tell my wife about the idea. She contributed some amazing ideas herself, and after some brainstorming, the initial plans for Brookline Businesskids were in place.
Here is what we are thinking so far. We are going to set up a table each weekend in front of a grocery store in a well-trafficked area. At the table, a few kids will sell toys or crafts that they made themselves with materials that they acquired themselves. There are many awesome toy designs available at Toys from Trash.
The table will contain pamphlets with information about the club, along with a signup sheet so that new kids can join the club and reserve a future slot at the table.
All money collected is going to go to charity. If parents want their kids to actually make money, they can of course match the proceeds with money out of their own pocket. Ideally, the process of running a successful business would be a reward in itself, but I do understand the realities of how kids’ minds work. (Mine is dying to accumulate $15 so that he can spend it on an M-Lucario-EX Pokemon card, oy.)
There are also legal considerations that we need to take into account. The bylaws of Brookline state that one cannot solicit money in a public place without permission from the Chief of Police. Just a couple months ago, a homeless guy was arrested for panhandling on the sidewalk. It does seem that this guy’s first amendment rights were blatantly violated, but I digress. We are going to go ahead and write a letter to the Chief of Police, and we think that by directing the proceeds to charity, we have a better shot at being approved. If we do not get approved, I do plan on making a stink because, hey, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands.
So that’s where things stand right now. We’re on the verge of making something cool, something purely creative that came out of nowhere. There is lots of potential here in terms of having fun, learning, and connecting with people in our local community. I’m fired up!