Last summer, my girls wanted to have a lemonade stand. They’ve never had one before, and pretty soon, it turned into a summer project — and morphed into a neon snow cone stand to benefit The Confetti Foundation. We’ve turned this into an annual event, and I’ll share my best tips for planning a successful bake sale — with your kids — in seven pretty darn easy steps.
We decided to support The Confetti Foundation again. The Confetti Foundation provides birthday party kits to children who spend their birthdays in the hospital. Through the party kits, children of all ages are celebrated and honored on their special day.
Step 1: Planning Day
I never want to design the same party twice. So, last year’s snow cone stand expanded into this year’s bake sale. My first step was to force myself to NOT choose all chocolate treats. (I don’t really understand people who spend their sweets calories on flavors others than chocolate, but I acknowledge that these people exist.) We decided to offer:
- Peanut butter
- Candy (is candy a flavor? oh well)
Those flavors translated into:
- Dark chocolate brownies
- S’mores snack mix
- Peanut butter cup cookies
- Salted caramel cupcakes
- Oreo popcorn
- Lemon cookies
- Candy-coated Rice Krispies treats
- Jolly Rancher lollipops
These treats also gave us a good mix of items that would be (1) heat-resistant on an 80+ degree day, (2) not too labor-intensive, and (3) possible to make ahead of time. We also offered snow cones, lemonade and iced coffee.
We chose red and turquoise as our colors and found amazing baking party printables by Chickabug, who very sweetly customized them for our party. (Thank you, Heather!!) All we needed for this party were:
- “Bake Sale” banner
- Treats labels
- Price tags
- Thank you tag
- Street corner signs
- “All proceeds to …” sign
Printing tip: Heather offers a great service where you can choose to purchase your invitation as an image file. That lets you upload the invitation to an online photo printer. I sent my invites to WalMart, chose a matte finish and was beyond thrilled that I didn’t have to hand trim 50 invitations all by myself. (And it only cost $0.09 per print for a 4″x6″ size.)
Step 2: Shopping Day
My best party advice is this: shop at home first. I am all about saving time, so my next stop is usually Amazon to see what Prime can whisk to me in two days. Finally, it’s about the coupons, the car, and local shopping. I like to try to knock-out all my shopping in one running-around day. Here’s what you’d need to re-create this party (aside from the groceries):
- Bake sale printables
- Two folding tables, different sizes
- Cash box
- Polyester tablecloths (about $8 from a source like TableClothFactory.com)
- Fabric to use as a table runner
- Pom-pom trim to hide the rough edge of the table runner
- Paper mache letters and paint (optional)
- Red grosgrain ribbon for the printables
- Thin white ribbon for treat bags
- Beverage dispensers and risers (mine were from the Better Homes & Gardens line at WalMart)
- Serving trays (also from the Better Homes & Gardens line at WalMart)
- Serving stands and cookie jars
- Snow cone machine
- Lollipop sticks
- Plastic treat bags in various sizes
- Plates, napkins, spoons, cups
- Table number stands (for holding food labels)
- T-shirts and hats for uniforms (optional)
Step 3: Baking Week
I think you need at least two baking days if you are doing a bake sale all on your own. (Better idea: team up with another mom!) But if it’s just you, start with the items that will keep fresh the longest. So, I baked in this order: Jolly Rancher lollipops, s’mores snack mix, Oreo popcorn, Rice Krispy treats, brownies, cupcakes, cookies.
Of course, you also may want to save some of the simpler items for the sleepover (see Step 5). Jolly Rancher lollipops, s’mores snack mix, Oreo popcorn and brownies are all easy for the kids to help with.
Step 4: Advertising
We did four things to drum up attendance at the bake sale:
- Invites tucked into mail box flags the day before the sale (so it would be top of mind for the neighbors).
- Facebook post on my personal page.
- Facebook post in our community page.
- Bake sale signs at key corners in our subdivision. We just had these printed 11×17 and taped them to the kind of sign frames you use for garage sales.
Step 5: Sleepover!
I know this step may seem a little counter-intuitive, but hear me out: your kids will probably want to help bake. You will need help baking. So, have them invite a friend over to help bake the night before, and help sell at the booth.
This worked out really well for us, because — and I’m sure this never happens with your kids — but my kids tend to quibble with each other. OK, they fight. But when a friend is over, everyone gets along famously. The friend actually makes everything easier. (Clearly, these three are total goobers.)
Step 6: Pricing
Our bake sale was for charity, so I got a little bold with our pricing strategy. Everything was either $0.50, $1 or $2, which also made creating change easier for the girls. (The BTW, the prices don’t have anything to do with the cost of ingredients because I donated those. It really had more to do with either effort to make the treat or size of the treat.)
- Dark chocolate brownies = $2
- S’mores snack mix = $1
- Peanut butter cup cookies = $0.50
- Salted caramel cupcakes = $2
- Oreo popcorn = $1
- Lemon cookies = $0.50
- Candy-coated Rice Krispies treats = $2
- Jolly Rancher lollipops = $0.50
- Lemonade = $1
- Iced coffee = $1
- Snow cones = $1
Our neighbors rock. The girls raised $96, which I’ll match for a $192 donation to The Confetti Foundation. I’m so proud of my little sellers! Each party kit costs $22, so eight children will have bedside birthday parties soon!
Step 7: Bake Sale Day!
A cheap, craft store t-shirt makes an instant uniform for the bake sale and makes the kids feel a bit official. This year, I tried to sell these retro-style diner hats, but they only lasted for one photo.
And then this happened.
I hope this helps you plan your next bake sale! For even more bake sale ideas and recipes, check out my Pinterest board.
(This post was originally published at Design Dazzle on July 3, 2015 as part of the Summer Camp series.)