How My Son Raised $4,000 for School Trips Without Selling a Single Cashew

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Unique Fundraising Ideas for Kids

The F-Word Makes me Cringe

Yeah, That F-Word

FUNDRAISERS. Ugh. It seems like my kids are bringing home information about fundraisers every other month. Choir, band, Spanish class… everyone is looking for ways to earn a little extra money. My husband and I work in public schools and understand the need to get creative with funding. But there’s only so many $12 rolls of gift wrap and $20 boxes of cashews I can use.

I’ve come up a better way for my kids to raise money for school. 

My kids are at an age where their interests and activities require a lot of time and money. Lately I realized that we are doing exactly what I said we would never do: I’ve become a kid chauffeur. We run from school to piano lessons to water polo practice to gymnastics to drivers training to swim practice… and that’s just during the week.

Kids swim team

Weekends are spent driving to swim meets, water polo tournaments, and whatever social events we can squeeze in.

It’s exhausting. But it’s also really awesome.

My kids have found their passions. This is what they want to do. And while it occasionally makes me want to tear my hair out (can we please find more than one night a week to sit down and eat a meal together?!), my kids are happier and healthier when they are busy.

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The Surprising $4,000 Fundraising Idea for my Son

All these activities come with a price tag.

About a year ago, my son decided that he wanted to go on The East Coast Trip, an optional week-long trip students can take at the end of 8th grade. The cost was around $1,200. We said we would match whatever money he earned.

We helped our son brainstorm common ideas for raising money (selling candy bars, babysitting in the neighborhood, helping with yard work). He made about $100 that way. Then my dad (a retired shop teacher) had the idea to make something he could sell. Enter the idea of Yardzee – a giant version of Yahtzee. (For the record, we did not invent the game!)

fundraising ideas for kids

After they made a test version we talked about ways to sell them. I put a message out on Facebook and before we knew it, we had almost 100 orders. That’s 500 dice to cut… 3,000 sides to sand… 10,500 pips to drill… WHOA.

This definitely turned into something much larger than we anticipated, but he ended up earning almost $4,000. The money from these sets allowed him to go on The East Coast Trip AND participate on a Junior Olympic water polo travel team over the summer.

Big Fundraising Taught some Big Kid Lessons

It was frustrating and overwhelming at times (for all of us!), but he learned some incredibly valuable lessons about hard work, time management, and appreciating those things for which you commit lots of time and energy.

fundraisers for kids

He wants to participate on the same travel team this coming summer and he didn’t even ask if we expected him to help pay for it- he just assumed that would be his responsibility. Parenting win!

We are pretty much forbidden from even saying the word “Yardzee” around here, so it was time for a new concept. He and my husband have created a new product this year- it’s a solitaire marble game.

Solitaire Marble Game Fundraiser Kid Randall

He has already sold close to 20 of them which means he has already made almost half of the money he needs. He already decided that any extra money will go straight into his car fund (cue heart attack for Mom).


Looking for Ways Your Kid can Earn a Little Extra Money?

Here are some things to consider:

  • What are your child’s talents? Cooking? Woodworking? LEGO Building? Find a way to tap into their talents. Maybe it’s making something to sell, maybe it’s teaching a skill to younger kids. Get creative!
  • What is a potential need that your child could help meet? Do you have elderly people in your neighborhood that could use some help around the house? Are there families with younger kids who might need a babysitter right after school?  Yard work, babysitting, walking dogs, taking trash cans out to the curb, collecting and returning bottles and cans… think about some of the basic day to day things that people might need help with!
  • Are you fundraising for a group? There are some potential benefits to group projects- more people and ideas! Things like car washes, auctions, bake sales, 50/50 raffles, bracelet/shirt sales, and shoe drives are easier with a group. This website has more ideas.

If you’ve used an amazing fundraising idea like this, I’d love to read it in the comments!


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