Pennies are coins that are generally overlooked and underused. They're a monetary sum that small children can understand, and they're a good way to help older kids understand money management. Putting the focus on pennies for fund-raising opportunities helps everyone involved realize how often they may disregard this coin. Set up penny fundraisers and offer prizes or rewards that suit the event, such as jeans days for adults in the workforce and special parties or foods for kids in school.
Determine a start and finish date for a penny race. Explain that the boys and girls are racing to see which group collects the most pennies. Set up two jars in which to place the pennies. Make the jars different in shape and color, or choose identical jars and have each group of children decorate their own jar. Put the jars in a central location, one designated for boys and one for girls. At the end of the race, count the pennies and determine the race winner. Award the winners ice cream, donuts, pizza or another treat.
Divide the group into teams and design a jar for each team to collect pennies. Explain that collecting the most pennies is the object, and that any cash collected that is not of one-cent denomination is deducted from the sum of pennies when deciding a winner. Teams can "sabotage" other teams, but further help charity, by dropping nickles, dimes, quarters or dollar bills into that team's jar. Teams cannot prevent this sabotage, but they can reciprocate by putting silver coins and dollar bills into the opposing teams' jars. At the end of the allotted time, count the pennies and note the total in each jar. Count the money that is not in pennies and deduct that amount from the penny total to determine each team's final results and the winning team. Donate all the money to charity, and reward the winning team either with a candy day, a jeans day or by ordering food for a victory lunch.
Pick up several inexpensive items to sell, like pencils, erasers, bubble wands, bouncy balls and beads. Set up a penny store in a central location. Open the penny store at the same time each day or week, and let kids purchase trinkets with pennies. Ask parents or congregation members to donate items to defray costs and increase the funds raised for charity.
Penny Punch Cards
Create penny punch cards out of card stock. Make each punch card worth a specific amount, such as $5. For each $1 in pennies a child raises, she gets a punch on her punch card. When the punch card is filled, she can turn it in for a new one and a small reward, such as an inexpensive trinket or extra reading or play time. The child and class who turn in the most completed punch cards get a larger reward, like lunch with the teachers and a class pizza party or movie.