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You’ve met, discussed, and decided – it’s bake sale time. Now what? Well, you want to strategize a bake sale that hits the mark! Although homemade goodies are all kinds of delicious, it takes a bit more than extra chocolate chips to ensure your bake sale is popular and helps you hit your goal (which is raising money, of course!).
Beyond a wide array of treats, there are a lot of things that go into a successful bake sale. Decor, timing, atmosphere, the volume of the light jazz in the background… You name it! If you’re feeling a little stumped for ideas, well, we might be able to help. Keep reading for 15 ideas to take your elementary school bake sale to the next level.
See also: more food fundraising ideas
Get the Kids Involved
There’s nothing a child loves more than being included, especially younger ones! Think about how often you catch your little one watching you intently when you’re doing some grown-up stuff, and how excited they get when you ask them if they want to try.
A bake sale is only as good as the treats being sold, and a “Made by the Kids for the Kids” slogan is a surefire way to play into the emotions of your fellow parents. Having a preemptive event where parents and their kids can attend to help make up all the goods for the sale isn’t just a great marketing strategy – it guarantees you’ll have lots of stock to sell!
Add Some Healthy Competition
When it comes to kids, a contest is a great way to ensure everyone gets excited about participating. With elementary school kids, it’s easy to come up with some fun contest ideas and give each class or grade a task to complete to “win.”
An example would be for each class to use a specific ingredient creatively with prizes for the most unique treat. Not only will the kids come up with some awesome goodies, but you’ll also have a fun way to promote the sale itself!
Local Celebrities are Celebrities Too
One way to get the attention of your neighbours is to add some star power to the sale. Reach out to some local celebrities, like news anchors, law enforcement, or athletes on the community sports teams to come down to the sale and judge some of the goodies. Getting someone popular in your town or city isn’t just good networking, it’s a great way to spread the word (and guarantee another sale!).
Work in a Holiday
If you plan your bake sale around a time when parents and families will already be baking, you’ll have a surefire way to get some great themed goodies and a ton of participation. You’ll be able to make the event festive and fun – think of a Christmas bake sale with kids dressed up with elves, someone playing Santa, and games to win candy canes!
There are tons of holidays in the year that warrant baking homemade goodies, so why not use it to your advantage?
Sign Up Sheets
Want some accountability for your bake sale? Post some signup sheets around the school for kids and parents to sign up for a certain type of baked good. That way you can have organized tables for the sale itself, with cookies, cakes, and any other type of treats you’re wanting to sell. Plus, you’ll be able to plan for exact quantities, volunteers, and know who you can count on to bring what!
The Great Elementary School Bake Off
Take a page out of some popular baking shows, like The Great British Bake Off. Pick some of your favourite recipes from the show and task some classes or grades with their take on them! You’ll draw out some awesome creativity, and have a fun theme to promote throughout the school.
This specific theme will allow you to pick some faculty to judge the goodies, too! Winners can be awarded fun prizes to add a bit of healthy competition to the mix.
Think about all the fun cultural desserts that are local delicacies in different countries. Go around the world and get the kids and their families to make some treats from different parts of the world. Bonus points if they use a family recipe!
Not only will you be able to try some cool goodies you may have never tried before, but the kids will get a chance to learn a little about different countries!
The cool thing about baking desserts is that you can add food colouring and fruits to basically anything and make them a fun colour! Having a bake sale with a rainbow theme makes room for all kinds of great decorations that can get the kids and parents involved, plus bright pink, purple, and blue goodies always look just that much more delicious!
You can even go one step further and get every grade or class to dress up in the colour they are assigned to bake, making for a truly exciting event.
Rollercoasters and Cotton Candy
Who doesn’t love amusement rides and midway food? A carnival-themed event is a fun way to get people excited about the sale, plus with a little extra planning, you can work in a few other pay-to-play attractions to raise some funds.
Treats can be themed, with churros, cotton candy, and candy apples a-plenty. You can also rent a pony for rides and invite a clown with balloon-animal-making skills to really spice up the sale.
Break Out Grandma’s Recipe
The best tried-and-true treats are passed down for generations, and a great draw to a sale is to only sell family recipes! Challenge the kids and their families to make their grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies or date squares and bring them for everyone to try! You can also bring in some competition by having a few people judge certain types of popular treats.
This idea is great to keep old traditions alive and get kids involved with their families to make the goodies.
Pick Your Favourite Book or Movie
Ever read a book or watch a movie that features something sweet that makes your mouth water? That’s a perfect theme for your bake sale! Get the kids to pick a couple of books, TV, or movie series’ and make their favourite treats! Turkish delight from The Chronicles of Narnia, chocolate frogs from Harry Potter, or peach pie from James and the Giant Peach are great ideas to get the ball rolling!
Not everyone has time for breakfast, so promoting an event where parents and their kids can get some treats great for the morning is sure to bring in business. You can involve healthy and decadent breakfast-time goodies for a balanced bake sale. Have kids bring in muffins, cinnamon rolls, and doughnuts – you might even want to bring a griddle for some fresh-made pancakes!
Keep it Simple
Challenge participants to use minimal ingredients for their goods. Limit the amount to 3 or 4 ingredients to get creative juices flowing and help parents want to participate simply for the easy preparation! Who knows, someone might come up with the next s’more!
Accompany a Sports Team
If your school has field hockey, soccer, or other sports teams, think about working the bake sale into a big game. This may work best if the game is earlier in the morning, and bring in some fresh croissants, fruit, and muffins to fuel the kids and their parents. Up your game by offering tea or coffee for the parents, and watch the sales roll in!
Make it a Drive-Thru!
Parents dropping off and picking up their children before and after school are sure to go for the convenience of a drive-thru bake sale! Set up stands along the road for easy access, and be sure to set up an easy form of payment for drivers to quickly tap their card or phone for a plate of cookies. Make big menus that people can read from the road with simple prices (think 3 for $5 kind of deals).
Sort Out the Behind the Scenes
Although a bake sale is only as good as the treats being sold, it still takes a ton of planning behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. Having easy ways to organize volunteers, take payments, and an integrated communication system are just a few ways to keep your focus on the important things – raising money!
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