Monday, November 19, 2012

Sucker Stand/Earning Money

This week I had planned a beautiful blog post that didn't happen. You see, being a mom means I am flexible. (Not the muscle type of flexible. I can't even touch my toes. Curse these genetically short hamstrings.) No, I mean scheduling flexible. Because the afternoon that I had set aside to cook with my kids and create something so desirable you'd just have to make it for your Thanksgiving dinner, my 9-year-old wanted to have a sucker stand.

A sucker stand? you ask. 
Yes. A sucker stand. I say.
It's like a lemonade stand but with suckers.  

I don't normally let my kids sell things on the side of the road. We live near a busy street that's used by a lot of strangers so I decided to park close enough to keep an eye on them but still be far enough away that I'm not hovering. Okay, I'm totally hovering but I don't look like I'm hovering. I pretend to read a book. 

By the time the big Sucker Stand Day rolled around, I thought, "How many can he actually sell?"

Turns out: ALL OF THEM!!

Colkie hired his little brother to hold a sign. He paid well so I was good with it. I think the little brother would have done it for free suckers but I didn't want to point that out. The more my kids learn about working for money the better I feel as a parent. Anywho, little brother danced around on the side of the road and waved his sign like a champ. Part of me wonders if Colkie didn't use little brother as bait because who can refuse a little kid with big blue eyes full of hope? (Colkie's smart!)

He put all the suckers in different boxes and labeled the flavors so people could easily pick the ones they liked without him having to say what they were over and over again. He spent about an hour road side (that's about all the time we have between getting off the bus and the sun setting) and came home with only four suckers. 

He was so pumped about his success that he smiled as he counted out the predetermined amount to pay for supplies. I insisted that he pay for costs. I believe this teaches him that you can't get something for nothing and that in order to have a product you have to acquire the product. It also showed him that he would have to charge enough to cover costs and make a profit. We sat down the day before and figured out how much it cost to make them and how much would be fair to charge for the suckers. We also had a good talk about who his target consumer was and what they would be willing to pay.

All in all, it was a good learning experience for a kid his age. He showed so much intelligence in the whole process that I'm thinking of encouraging him toward big business in life. Who knows, maybe he'll be the next Willy Wonka?

If you'd like to open your own sucker stand, here's the recipe we used. I think these would also make great holiday gifts for friends and neighbors. I do not recommend letting kids make the suckers themselves as the liquid can cause sever burns. It's just too hot to let them do it. What they can do is set up the molds and sucker sticks before hand. They can also help to package the suckers in individual bags.

To print this recipe click here.

Homemade Suckers


Candy thermometer
Sucker molds
Sucker sticks
Small sucker bags
Tape or twisty-ties


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon of your choice of flavoring
2 drops of your choice of food coloring


1. Stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium-sized pan.
2. Cook over medium heat until the temperature reaches 300 degrees or hard-crack stage.
3. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flavoring and coloring. I stir mine with a wooden spoon. You don't want to use a plastic spoon because it can melt into the suckers and you don't want to use a metal spoon because the sugar will harden around it and make one big sucker in your pan or hanging off your spoon.
4. Pour the liquid into the molds.
5. Insert sucker sticks.
6. Allow the suckers to cool.
7. Remove the suckers from the molds and package.

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