Here at Little Cooks Co HQ we try to see the positive and remain unruffled by most of life’s events, but we found ourselves distinctly ruffled when one of our little cook’s schools announced they were running a cake sale every week until the end of term.

Our philosophy is always about moderation and of course we want to support the school’s fundraising, so sent our little cook in with some money to buy a cake. Little did we know that the left-over cakes are discounted and his friends gave him extra money…4 cakes and some sweets later we collected a rather sickly little cook.

Bake sales are becoming increasingly popular as schools look for ways to raise extra funds. However, for parents trying to manage their child’s consumption of refined sugar, or even for those with allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients, these bake sales can be a mine field.

With this in mind, we asked for the wisdom of our community to help schools think of some fun and healthy alternatives, and we received some fantastic ideas!

  • Sell edible items other than cake! For children it is not all about cake and many children would happily choose other items over cakes. Here are some ideas:
    • Hot chocolate
    • Fruit kebabs
    • Homemade gummies
    • Strawberries and cream
    • Popcorn
    • Sausage rolls / quiche
    • Homemade lemonade

As one of our big cooks told us:

“they would love a fruit sale just as much. In summer we have fresh berries and ice cream and that sells out!!”

  • Homemade dog/cat biscuits - our founder’s, Helen, son made little cook made healthy dog biscuits for his recent school charity event and he sold out in 15 mins and made £50 for the school! There are lots of easy recipe ideas online - this one is great
  • Penny wars – this was a great suggestion! Each class in the school is given a jar and children bring in spare change to school for a set period of time (usually a week or two) and pop it in their class’s jar. At the end of the collection period, the change is typically donated towards a cause or for a purchase within the school, and the class that netted the most is rewarded with a prize.
  • Raffles – the school can ask parents or local businesses for donated items of reasonable value, and then children sell raffle tickets to win!
  • Guessing jar - this is an old school classic. Fill the jar with almost anything - sweets, marbles, paper clips - then, ask parents, teachers and pupils to guess the total quantity of the jar’s contents. The person with the closest answer wins a prize.
  • Name the teddy – the children pay to suggest a name for a teddy. The names are submitted anonymously then a winner is either chosen at random or the favourite picked by teachers. The teddy can then become a newly named school mascot!
  • Non-food stalls – this can be a lovely way to encourage arts and crafts. Here are some ideas:
    • friendship bracelets
    • homemade bookmarks
    • seeds or seedlings to plant
    • bath salts – for example, 1.5 cups Epsom salt + 1 cup sea salt + 1/3 cup of bicarbonate of soda + 10 drops of lavender essential oil will make a big batch that can be divided into little jars with a ribbon around them
    • lavender cushions/eye masks
    • second hand clothes/toys/books
  • Drawathon/walkathon/sponsored read/ – while these can take a bit more organisation, they can be used to promote and encourage some really positive habits and behaviours. Children ask their friends and family to sponsor them for, as examples, their drawings/laps of the sports field/how many books they can read in a month.
  • No uniform day – children love the opportunity to wear their own clothes to school! If schools want to make a “no uniform day” a bit different they can suggest a theme or even a pyjama day!

“our school had a rainbow day to raise money for the peace spiral and they just had to wear bright clothes”

If your school is going ahead with lots of cake sales, speak to the organisers and see if they can encourage parents to use more healthy ingredients. This is working brilliantly at one school we heard about:

“Parents are asked to make healthier items (less sugar) but we also get lots of gluten and egg free etc, it’s a super selection! It’s a joy to send in money and know that whatever my kids buy I’m ok with it. It’s worth talking to the people running it and making a suggestion. Some parents will embrace it and some won’t but once they see change happening they’ll jump on board too.”

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions and we will add them to the download that can be easily printed and handed in to schools to help inspire them to explore healthier fund raising options! It can be downloaded here.

April 30, 2022


Iris Hallow said:

Thanks so much for this – just what I need as our school has gone cake sale crazy at the moment!

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