Youth entrepreneurial gift giving: A gift that gives back in multiple ways

Creating holiday gifts cultivates creativity and helps save costs.

Youth entrepreneurial gift giving: A gift that gives back in multiple ways

If you want to educate youth to take initiative and gain entrepreneurial skills, why not try it out during the holidays? This year, encourage your child to come up with holiday gifts and services that can be sold to make money or to be given as gifts. Here are some of the benefits that can come from this.

  1. It can help youth be creative and explore some of their talents. Are they good at art, crafts, construction or have a hidden talent? They may be able to produce an innovative product or design their own. Their creativity can also go beyond just the design or meeting the need of the customers; they can also be creative as to what resources they use and how they package or present that product. Plus, being creative and imaginative are beneficial traits in the workplace and need to be cultivated.
  2. They can explore new interests and passions. What better way to try their hand at a new skill or a possible career path than now? Is woodworking in their future? How about a poet, plowman or marketing manager? Whatever the field or area of interest, they will get a taste of what it is like to own their own business or sell their services.
  3. Youth gain entrepreneurial skills as well. Skills like innovation, product design, marketing, selling, packaging, distribution and risk taking. They gain “soft skills” that are very much what employers are looking for and can benefit them in future employment opportunities.
  4. Youth learn to plan and budget. If they are saving up to buy gifts or just saving money, they will need to figure out their expenses and income or savings. Learning how to budget their money or get a return on their investment is a valuable skill. They may need to purchase the materials up front, but look for cost comparisons on what it would be to buy the gift at the store. They may also look for cost savings by using recycled resources. Refurbishing old ornaments, using scraps around the house or utilizing a thrift shop helps them look for ways to save. Improving on these wasted products are just a few ideas where they might be creative in cutting costs.
  5. By making or providing their own gifts, youth can get a sense of accomplishment and social good. They may feel proud that they made it with their own hands and they know all the effort and thought that went into it. They will gain a sense of accomplishment in reaching their goal. They will also gain a greater understanding of what is takes to produce that product or preform that service. In addition, appreciate the hard work it takes to do that job. They may also receive the satisfaction of seeing someone enjoy what they had produced.

There are endless ideas of products and services youth can do for their family or community. Work with them to come up with those ideas and put them into motion so they can not only give out a gift, but receive a gift that never stops giving. It’s all about education and experiences.

To help further develop these skills, many of which are also aligned with the 21st Century Skills needed for youth to be successful, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s pages on Youth Entrepreneurship and 4-H Youth Development.

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