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Learn While You Earn! Ideas for Educational Fundraisers

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Updated on Oct 5, 2010

If you didn’t love your kids and value education, you wouldn’t bother fundraising, so why not pick a fundraiser that reflects the mission? Here are some great ideas for fundraisers that will keep you learning while you have fun fundraising!

Read-A-Thon. Kids gather pledges from friends, family and neighbors and collect a per-book-read donation at the end of a two-week period. Your kids will be excited to be reading for a cause and they'll get tons of reading practice as the flip through pages for funding.

Foreign Language Fair. Pick a language, say, Spanish. Play regional music and decorate the school with borrowed souvenirs from Spanish-speaking countries: woven blankets, ceramics, colorful flags. When guests arrive and pay the admission fee, hand them a “passport” made with a blue construction paper cover and blank interior. Each classroom can be decorated in the theme of a different country  - one for Spain, one for Brazil, and so on. Or you can choose one country for the entire fair. Guests can collect stamps on their passport at each “country” or classroom they visit. Depending on the students’ age, appropriate activities might include learning to flamenco dance, listening to a reading of Ferdinand the Bull, having a brief conversation with a volunteer (in Spanish!), decorating a flag from a Spanish-speaking country, doing a Spanish worksheet, or browsing a gallery filled with copies of paintings by artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali, who all hail from Spain.

Travelers can flash their completed passport for entrance to the food hall, stocked with treats prepared and served by volunteers. Think beyond chips and salsa: quesadillas, paella, flan, Cuban sandwiches, black beans, arepas (similar to a cornmeal pancake) and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) are all easy to prepare for large groups and serve in small portions. Ole!

Family Spelling Bee. Inspired by movies like “Spellbound” and “Akeela and the Bee,” adults have gotten into the competitive spirit of spelling contests. Why not make it a family affair? Instead of individual contestants, each family pays, enters, and competes as a team against other families. You’ll need to borrow the school auditorium, a microphone, and get plenty of chairs. For a list of spelling bee words by grade, see http://www.everydayspelling.com/lists/listindex.html. For adults and older kids, check out the 794 page long list of every word ever used in the National Spelling Bee, available at http://www.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules/scripps-consolidated-word-lists.html. For some extra fun, you can even test the adults on some of the kids' spelling words. There's a good chance you'll be surprised by the results!

Adults vs. Kids Game Show. Start gaming! An objective non-competitor will need to assemble lists of age-appropriate trivia questions to create an even playing field. (If the kids are really young, you may even allow them to study their questions in advance, or base your questions on subjects they’re studying in school.) Set up teams to face off against each other on the school stage, and remind adult contestants that they’re competing for the most precious parental perk of all – the right to say, “I told you so!” Try a family and school friendly versions of Jeopardy! and quiz the kids on subjects in their grades. You can even try a school-subject-themed version of Pictionary, where teams try to clue related to a subject in school. Use your imagination and get creative with your gaming!

No matter which direction you decide to take your fundraiser in, when you make academics part of the process, you teach kids that fundraising is about more than dollars and cents. It reflects a commitment to education, to the school, and to lifelong learning...And it can be fun for the whole family.

 

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