Market Day Minecraft Keychains

Last week the third graders all peddled their wares, while getting some real life exposure to supply and demand, marketing and selling, at Market Day.  The only rule was that you had to make 12-15 items and couldn’t spend more than $5-10.  Since the sign up sheet came home and went back while I was in Vegas, I was overwhelmed (is that the right word??) to learn that John signed up to make Minecraft Keychains.  He remembered me showing him a pic of some that a little friend at a different school made earlier in the year.  After a quick convo with his mother, and she even hooked us up with the keychain pieces since they would have taken a month to get here from China, he was in business!



Now, if you aren’t familiar with Perler Beads, they are really fun for making all sorts of colorful crafts and my littles are as addicted to them as they were to the Silly Bandz of yore.  They place them on peg boards to make designs.  Then you cover them with parchment paper and iron them to merge the beads together.  I let John do this for his project with strict supervision, but I still do it for the baby.

Here are links to the supplies he used:
Perler Beads
Key Chain Rings (Honey had to assist in drilling holes to attach them)
Free Printable Creeper Template (this is sized to fit under the perler bead peg board)
Mine Crafter Free Font (for signs)

Over the course of a few days, John made all 15 plus one for himself. While I was out one weekend day, I came home to find that he had made one larger creeper with a big mustache.  Of course both of the littles thought it was beyond wonderful.  When I inquired what he was going to do with just ONE, he wasn’t sure.  So with just the teensiest bit of brainstorming, he decided to give it away.  I suggested a raffle, perhaps.  He loved the idea so I dug the old fishbowl out of the garage and he cut strips of people for entry ballots.

Then it came time for the marketing (which he claimed they didn’t have to do, but that’s what I have my MBA in so I couldn’t let it pass… LOL).  He decided to sell the key chains for a starting price of 5 cents, and the raffle tickets for 1 cent, knowing that each kid only got to spend 30 cents and with the understanding (after MUCH convincing) that you can easily put things on sale but it’s much harder to raise the price later.  He also went ahead and attached his to his backpack earlier in the week to start building a buzz for his product.

I set him up on powerpoint and he made the two signs.  I asked him how he was going to display his products nicely on his desk and he had no idea.  So, I told him to hunt around the kitchen and basement and see what he could find.  The green plastic tray was perfect!


Of course I wasn’t there for the big day, but he came home thrilled that he SOLD OUT of key chains, sold enough raffle tickets to FILL the fish bowl, AND made the most money in his class.  He said he thought the raffle was the best part of his “shop” because by the time the last class came through they were practically out of money and he was sold out of key chains.  Many of them bought raffle tickets with their last few pennies for the chance to win something they couldn’t afford and wasn’t even available to buy.


He was a little disappointed that he was told “his raffle wasn’t fair because everyone didn’t have one.”  I nipped that in the bud by assuring him that having a GREAT idea (as long as you aren’t cheating the stated rules) is in fact ENTIRELY FAIR and the only way to really be successful in life.  I also never want to ever hear my boys use the reverse logic to say that it isn’t fair the next time someone has a better idea than them or outperforms them in any area.  Sometimes life for this generation is concocted to be way too “fair”, where nobody can be great and everyone is vanilla.  It drives me nuts.  Being successful because you are creative and driven and talented IS FAIR – at school, on the field, in business and everywhere else.  Okay… I need to stop this train of thought now :-)


Anyhoo… I’m super proud of the boy and think this exercise was chocked full of GREAT life lessons!!!  And THANKS to MZ for the guidance and key chain hookup.  Now, how many days till summer????

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22 thoughts on “Market Day Minecraft Keychains

  1. My son will love this! I see a peeler project in my future. I agree with you about "not fair". Great lesson to teach them while they are little.

  2. Way to go, John – a very successful market day! You are an enterprising young man, and that is great. And my boys loved the mustache keychain! ?

    Mama, I couldn't agree with you more about the everything is fair/everyone's a winner ways of today. smh

  3. Oh, you are on the same soapbox as my husband..but he calls it the "trophy generation" where everone wins a trophy for just being present~not in the real world….great life lesson and I love that your sweetie did all the work…..the smile on his face is priceless!

  4. I totally agree with you on thinking outside the box Amanda. It is something that we all can benefit from! Tell John I think his idea was perfect and congrats on winning. Of course I am sitting here wondering what the other kids came up with to sell!! I love it when teachers use a practical idea to teach supply and demand.

    1. One of my favorites was a paddle ball game made with two paper plates and paint stirring sticks glued on to them to make paddles. The kit included a balloon for the ball! The rest of the things he brought home were strange… but he's kind of like that. One was a ball of tin foil that he said is really hard to make and takes a long time. Hmmm… sounds like excellent marketing :-)

    2. LOL….did not know a ball of tin foil was so marketable!! Thanks for taking time to tell me what they sold. Sounds as if John really put some thought into his project! I would have purchased one of his key chains.

  5. What a fun project! I agree entirely about the "not fair" thing. I have a FIVE year old who says, "That's not fair!" often. Where did he even learn it? We've talked a LOT about life not being fair. ;)

  6. What a great project! What an exciting event for him. This may be the birth of a real entrepreneur. Last Christmas we gave my oldest son the book "What Do You Do With An Idea?" and it fits with this so perfectly. A book about nurturing your ideas even when other people don't "get it". In the end, your idea could change the world. We have a young creative mind also (the one doing the GT camp). We don't want him to have his creative ideas beaten down by a need to fit in with everyone else. I couldn't agree with you more! Happy countdown to summer! I'm counting down too :-)

  7. What a great idea! I love that you taught him about being a hard worker and an entrepreneur instead of just plain old vanilla.
    We need that kind of thinking again these days!!!

  8. "Sometimes life for this generation is concocted to be way too “fair”, where nobody can be great and everyone is vanilla. It drives me nuts."

    YES to this a millions times!!!!

  9. My 3 year old started saying "It's not fair!" one day when he came home from "school". I couldn't believe my ears! It wasn't even in the right context when he said it so we quickly nipped that in the bud. The last thing I want is for either of my children to think life is fair. It's not. We have to do the best we can, work hard and if things go our way then great. If not, then you have to just keep going forward and keep working hard. I'm so sad for John that his good idea was taken away because it wasn't deemed "fair" but I'm glad for him to have a good learning experience from it. Life is full of these character building type of experiences. Sounds like you turned it around and made it a good learning experience for him. Way to go Mama!

  10. Thumbs up to you both! How special that the children also learned that they could still be involved with just a penny! That is good old-fashioned fun and added a whole other level by creating a buzz for your shop. Congratulations, John! My brother used to sell labels (charged by the letter!) that he made with the old, circular, "click" type gadget and he kept a ledger of his "business". It was so fun and then we both started selling "Fun Flowers" and "Creepy Crawlers" that we made (anyone remember Plastic Goop?!). You may have started something that could kick off summer with a bang! Maybe he should try monograms! And with Whit in on the action, J&W's Witty Bag Tags will be flourishing! :-) I have my nickel ready! Jane ~ San Diego

  11. We say "Fair is where pigs and pies can win first place!" Totally agree with your thinking. Good explanation too.

  12. I love his chosen item to market and sell and I really appreciate the lesson that came with it. I totally agree and in our house it is "fair" for the winner to be the one who does the best job.

  13. It never ceases to amaze me that a student who goes the extra mile to produce a terrific report or project is made to feel badly for the effort. If everyone accepted the path of minimal requirement there would never be innovation and positive change in the world. Twenty years ago this economics lesson was limited to students in sixth grade Target classes. The wonderful thing was that those students were encouraged to think outside the box in hopes of selling out and making the most money. Some students created great packaging for their products, advertised prior to sale day, and were rewarded with good grades for great effort. I'm so happy to know that all students can learn from and enjoy market day now. Congratulations to John for producing a product that proved to be in much demand. His creativity and ingenuity should have been fairly rewarded. I hope you will include a photo of the aluminum foil product in a future Musings blog post. I'm dying of curiosity!

  14. What a fabulous product (and terrific idea for the raffle)!! Congrats to John!! We just finished our fourth grade businesses at school. It's such a fun project, but we, too, deal with a lot of "that's not fair". Ours work in groups, which also presents "unfair" voting. I try to explain while my candidate for President might not become elected, that's just all part of it….because life's not fair. I agree wholeheartedly with you!!

  15. Fantastic job on the key chains & raising the most money, he did a great job! Perhaps he'd make a few extras to sell on your Etsy shop? My son would love the creeper with the mustache, you know, the "unfair" one. I'd buy one and I have a feeling he'd sell them all out again. Have a wonderful week!

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