Just Precious

A Successful Preschool BINGO Night

Posted in education by Julie Meyers Pron on November 5, 2009

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This week our preschool hosted its first BINGO night. It won’t be the last. We had a fabulous turnout and the excitement was electric. Kudos go to BINGO chairperson, Stephanie, and her committee. They were so together that when Stephanie couldn’t attend at the last minute due to a family emergency, the committee ran the event nearly flawlessly.

BINGO Night was run as both a family/community event and a fundraiser. Usually, we classify events into actvities or fundraisers. BINGO qualified as both, which makes budgetting more difficult. We listed it as a fundraiser in our books. 

Announcements went out over a month in advance and we started taking reservations right then so that we could plan our purchases. Usually RSVPs and checks are hard to come-by so far ahead, so we offered an incentive: Families who registered 1 month in advance were entered into a  raffle: the winning family was given 4 tickets to see Disney on Ice, courtesy of Feld Entertainment and Just Precious. We drew in 21 registrants in less than 5 days. People who RSVPed within 2 weeks were offered extra raffle tickets to our raffle prizes that were being awarded during BINGO night. (Over 2/3 of our RSVPs were received within 2 weeks.)

The decor was bright, colorful and preschool-friendly. The circle tables were lined in plastic tablecloths that were red, blue and yellow and balloons of the same colors served as centerpieces. We love using balloons for several reasons: they’re bright, decorate with height, serve as great party favors and they’re raised above the tables so that kids can see across. Also in the centers of the tables were cups of Froot Loops and small pretzels to serve as BINGO markers. A few people commented that the kids would rather eat them the markers than play with them, but regular marker chips are choking hazards, candy is worse to eat than cereal and using an ink stamp would be a cause for the need of many copies of the boards (which is costly and eco-unfriendly.)

Our committee selected a BINGO game with pictures of common preschool words like “bed”, “dog” and “pencils.” There were only 9 spaces on each card which allowed faster games. We purchased several game boxes that will be used again in the future. When the number of children out-numbered our game boards, we made a few photocopies.  We also didn’t clear boards for each winner, there were about 10 winners (at least) before it was announced to clear the cards. Upon winning, the kids yelled our “BINGO” and walked to the prize basket to claim a prize. Prizes were an assortment of toy novelties from Oriental Trading Company.

Following about 1/2 hour of playtime, the raffle prizes were drawn. We raffled 2 $50 gift cards to GAP, a $25 grocery gift card to Shop Rite and a set of DVDs by Scholastic Storybook Treasures. The grand prize was  the 50/50 drawing where the winner won $87.50. (Raffle tickets were sold to families as they checked in. Ticket cost was $1 per ticket, 6 tickets for $5 or 18 tickets for $10.)

Finally, the families celebrated the evening with an ice cream party. Our committee pre-scooped vanilla ice cream into plastic cups and provided sprinkles and syrups.

The event lasted about an hour and raised around $300 for the school. Perhaps more importantly, the families enjoyed a night of fun while getting to know other families at the school.

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