Art With Jenny K.


5 Preschool Activities: School Fundraiser Event




My daughter’s school holds an annual International Day. This is a day full of activities that helps raise money for the school to purchase teachers’ wish-list items. This year, I offered to help plan the preschool activities for the designated “Tot Area” within this event. I wanted my planned preschool activities to be both age-appropriate and international-themed. Here’s what I came up with.


Last weekend my daughter’s school had its annual International Day. This is a day full of activities that helps raise money for the school to purchase teachers’ wish-list items. This year, I offered to help with the preschool activities for this event. The planning committee decided to try a new idea. They wanted to designate a specific space as the “Tot Area” for the kids in preschool. This turned out to be an excellent idea. It allowed the toddler activities to be reserved specifically for the little kiddos. The big kids didn’t trample the small children. Not to mention the toddler activities were very age-appropriate, so they were able to really get something developmentally appropriate out of the day.

I offered to develop a few stations of toddler activities that I knew my daughter enjoyed when she was that age. Also included in the Tot Area was a small jumping castle (also reserved just for the small kids), tricycles, and a train that the little kids could ride around the outside of the playground.

I wanted my planned preschool activities to be both age-appropriate and international-themed. Here’s what I came up with:

      • Kinetic sand with sand toys of landmarks from around the world
      • Puzzles
      • Eiffel Tower ring toss
      • Colored rice with hidden landmarks
      • Pin the flowers on Frida

These activities turned out to be perfect for this age group. There were a few things I’d change next time (I’ll talk about those things as I describe each activity below). Overall though, this was a great way to include the small children in a school-wide celebration and fundraiser, so they, too, really got something out of it! If you are doing a fundraiser at your school, maybe some of these ideas will be helpful to you. The links below that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure HERE.

#1 Kinetic Sand

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Landmarks around the world kinetic sand.

I used my water table for this preschool activity and filled it with kinetic sand and sand toys of world landmarks. The theme of the school fundraiser event was “International Day,” so I wanted to be sure that we used as many international symbols as we could. The school focuses on Spanish, French, German, and Chinese languages. Next year I’ll get more sand—3 bags was barely enough. I’d then have 2 centers with this sand activity. That way, different groups of kids could gather around and play with the sand.

This activity was especially successful—the young kids loved the tactile sensations of the sand and loved manipulating it.  And most parents were eager to join in the fun. If you’ve never used (played with!) this kinetic sand (sometimes known as moon sand, shape it sand, etc.), it is really amazing. And unlike almost every other moist play product (e.g., PlayDoh, slime), this kinetic sand virtually never dries out. I highly recommend this product!

#2 Puzzles

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Children around the world puzzle.

I was originally going to try and make a large floor puzzle of the earth for the preschool activities we were planning for this school fundraiser event. Then I thought that surely this had already been created. Before I embarked on hours of trying to figure out how to make a big puzzle myself, I looked online to see what already existed.

Of course, it did, in fact, already exist—and much nicer than I could have created. I found this floor puzzle of children from around the world by Melissa and Doug. The puzzle has 48 large pieces and measures 32″ in diameter. Best of all, it is only $11.99 (when I purchased it). So, I got two of them.

We put one on the floor for the very young children and one on a card table for the older children. It turned out that a few parents sat around the table and put the puzzle together with my daughter.

This brings me to an idea for next year. If there was a puzzle meant specifically for the parents, on a table, in the shade, this could be very nice while their children are in the jumping castle. The floor puzzle worked fine. It was just a little too easy for adults and was put together pretty quickly.

We put some foam mats near the entrance for the other floor puzzle, but since so many children had their eyes up, looking at the jumping castle, they basically just stepped on (or over) that puzzle. Next year we’ll move it to a better location!

#3 Eiffel Tower Ring Toss

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Eiffel tower ring toss.

One of the parents on the planning committee had the idea to do a ring toss on famous landmarks – like the Eiffel Tower. I thought that was pretty brilliant. So, I set off to think of how I could create an Eiffel Tower. But, again, like the puzzle, I thought that certainly, this must already exist, and if I could purchase it instead of building it, I would save a lot of time—time that I would mostly use to create my Pin-the-Flowers-on-Frida activity (you’ll see why at the end of this post).

Sure enough, I found an Eiffel Tower “statue” from Home Depot online (of all places). I then purchased some 5″ rings for the kids to try tossing onto the Eiffel Tower. The brightly colored rings contrasted beautifully against the black Eiffel Tower. I searched high and low for other landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Statue of Liberty, but I couldn’t find any in the right sizes. There is still another year before the next International Day school fundraiser, so you know what I’m going to be on the lookout for during the coming year!

I’ll note that the 5″ rings were a bit too small for most kids to get to land on the Eiffel Tower model I had. Next time, I’ll try to track down some larger ones.

#4 Colored Rice with Hidden Landmarks

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Sensory bin - colored rice.

When my daughter was little, I colored a bunch of rice and hid little goodies in it to create a sensory bin. When I was thinking of what preschool activities we could do this year, I remembered that sensory bin. For this event, my daughter, my friend, and her two children all helped color 25 lbs of white rice with food coloring. To do this, I first divided the rice into individual bags. Then I put some food coloring in a small cup with just a little water to pour into the bags. The kids had a great time mixing the bags to get all of the rice covered. I left the bags open to dry.

I purchased small little world landmark toys to hide inside the rainbow rice on the day of our event. Then I created a quarter-page graphic of the collection of landmarks in the bin. I also gave the kids a strip of small stickers. As they looked for each toy, they put a sticker on the landmark they found as they tried to find them all.

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Sensory bin - colored rice.

This was perhaps the most favorite of the preschool activities. The kids sat there for a long time looking through the rice and just playing with it. Next year I’d definitely have one or even two more rice sensory bins so more people could sit around them and play with the rice. It seemed very soothing to the families!

#5 Pin the Flowers on Frida

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Pin the flowers on Frida.

One of the reasons I purchased so many pre-made supplies for the preschool activities this year was to spend my time on the Frida activity. This was an idea I had originally played around with for my daughter’s last birthday. Then, I drew a smaller picture of Frida so the kids could “pin” flowers in her hair. For this year’s school fundraiser event, I took that idea up several notches! I used some of the same techniques from when I painted a similar mural on our own home. You can read about that project here.

For this project, my husband cut a piece of plywood to 3′ x 4′ for my daughter and me to paint on. We primed it with white paint, and then I projected Frida onto the wood, traced it with a pencil, and again with permanent markers. My daughter and I then spent many evenings painting Frida. This was an enjoyable project for us to do together. I’d outline the areas, and she’d paint inside of them. We first started using the house paint we had used on my home mural, but I quickly realized that regular acrylic paints would be much better. Plus, it was much easier than having to open the cans of house paint and stir them.

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Pin the flowers on Frida.

After Frida was painted, then I glued felt pieces in various spots of her hair. I also cut out pieces of felt to create flowers that I sewed Velcro tabs to the back of them.

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Pin the flowers on Frida.

The idea was for the small children to find where on Frida the flowers could stick. They got to be creative about how they put the flowers on Frida.

5 Preschool Activities for a school fundraiser event. Pin the flowers on Frida.

My husband attached a stand to the back of the painting so it would stay up easily. On the day of the event, the kids had a great time putting the flowers on Frida. I enjoyed watching how the kids figured out where to put the flowers—some would overlap them and pile them on top of themselves, and others would spread them out. All had fun and the little kids really seemed to enjoy this activity – parents snapped photos of their children putting the flowers on Frida.

While the kids were pinning flowers, we asked them about Frida and enjoyed talking to them about her! Overall, this year was a great and successful International Day at my daughter’s school. I was so happy to have been able to be a part of it by helping with the preschool activities. There are many ways you could modify these preschool activities to fit other themes –  if you are looking for ideas for your school fundraiser events.

If you have any questions about any of these preschool activities, please feel free to email me. You can reach me at [email protected]

Thanks for reading and for making art with your kids!

Jenny K.

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