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Children in santa hats in the snow

The always up-to-date guide to Christmas fair game and stall ideas

Are you stuck for stall and game inspiration for your fair? Never fear! We've compiled a list of every stall idea we can think of to inspire you. Think we've missed any? Email editorial@pta.co.uk with your suggestions and we'll add them!

Adopt an animal

Ask for donations of good-quality soft toys or source free ones on Gumtree. Stick them through the washing machine, then attach a name tag around their necks and put all the names in a hat. Children pull out a name and win the corresponding animal. Alternatively, try this 'pull a teddy' idea from Mandy Harris: 'We tie a string onto lots of teddies and cuddlies. The participant pulls the string, and they get the teddy that's on the end of the string.'

Advent calendar

Let children choose a numbered envelope with a card inside which tells them what prize they have won, or that they've been unlucky. Keep it simple by having small prizes or tokens for other stalls (i.e. free cake from the cake stall), or secure bigger prizes such as vouchers for local attractions. How much you charge will depend on the prizes offered. Keep swapping the cards around.

Bauble bobbing

Similar to a 'hook the duck' game, fill a paddling pool with styrofoam shapes and Christmas baubles. Participants hook the baubles out of the pool. Each has a different coloured spot, representing a prize of varying worth. See also 'hook a cracker'.

Bats in the bell tower

Create a tower from a cardboard box, with an archway for a target. Fix little bells that jingle when a successful toss into the tower is made. Position a ladder leading to your bell tower and challenge players to throw a bean bag into each space between the rungs of the ladder. If they manage it, they can try to throw the last one through the door of the bell tower. Get all the bags in the right places to win a prize.

Bottle tombola

Susan Farrell Smith: 'Our best seller is a 'bottle bag grab'. Ask for people to donate bottle bags with bottles of anything inside - shampoo, sauce, juice, washing up liquid, wine, etc. Seal the bags at the top and participants pay £1 for a bag - they may get a Fruit Shoot or a bottle of wine!' Remember that if you have alcoholic prizes, only over 18s can play - but you could run a child-friendly version too with different drinks for 50p a bag.

Bucket ball

Have three plastic buckets of differing sizes, with the largest nearest to the player and the smallest furthest away. Set up a firing line and allow each contestant three shots at throwing a ball, so it stays in a bucket. Give a prize if they get all three in a bucket, or if they get one in the smallest bucket.

DMS LB

Burst a balloon

'Blow up lots of balloons, putting folded paper stars in some before tying. Colour the stars for different prizes. We use mini chocolate bars and two medium-size selection boxes as prizes. Attach the balloons to a board and use a pin fastened to the end of a stick to pop the balloons. The children love bursting the balloons, and we have had no accidents so far! We charge 50p for two pops.' Suzanne Jones, PTA Treasurer, Burwell Village College (440 pupils) 

Choco card

Lay one pack of cards out on a table, placing a wrapped chocolate on some of the cards, with booby prizes or nothing on the others. The children choose a card from another pack and win whatever is on the corresponding card.

Chocolate/sweet jar tombola

Ask parents to donate boxes of chocolates or jars of sweets in the months running up to the fair (you could hold a mufti day and ask children to bring in chocolate or sweets). Stick raffle tickets on top of each prize and have the same numbers - and more - in the tombola. Spin the tombola and the player pulls out a number. The player wins whichever prize corresponds with their number.

Decorate a Christmas jar

'We ask pupils to fill a jar with sweets then decorate it in any way they like. It can be any size jar and any sweets they choose. We also ask them to do a Christmassy decoration on the jar, and there are prizes for the best-decorated. These are put on a tombola stall, and there is a prize every time, at 50p a go. It's all profit for the school and a fun stall for children.' Shirley Smith, PTA member, Rosemellin CP School, Camborne (300 pupils)

Ho Ho Hole

Prop up a large sheet of hardboard with Santa's face painted on with a hole where his mouth should be. Participants aim small (preferably Christmas-themed) dog toys, like mince pies, at his mouth. Have infants standing closer to the hardboard, juniors further away, and real experts standing at an angle to make it even trickier!

Hook a cracker

'This idea is so simple! Get a load of crackers when on offer (or ask for donations). Hole punch the crackers and attach a paper clip, formed into a loop. Put the crackers into boxes, standing up, and use 'hook a duck' sticks and charge 50p a go. The participants win every time - a cracker!' Ann Davies, Ridgeway Primary School PTFA, Burntwood, Staffordshire.  See also 'bauble bobbing'.

Human fruit machine

Set up three child-sized boxes with holes cut out at chest height. Within each one there should be a bowl of fruit with matching items - banana, orange, grapes, apple, kiwi, etc. Three children (the fruit machines) stand in the three boxes, and at the same time, show one piece of fruit - if all three fruits match, the player wins! You can make it easier by having runner-up prizes for two matching fruit. Use plastic fruit/laminated images for less mess!

Knock down wall

'Save large empty boxes and Pringles tubes. Paint the boxes with a brick pattern to look like sections of a wall. Fill the Pringles tubes with newspaper to weigh them down slightly, and paint them white. Set up your wall, complete with Pringles towers. Put festive cuddly toys in between the towers or on top of the boxes. Give children three balls with which to knock the toys off the wall. Award a prize if they knock them all off, or a sweet if they don't. Use larger boxes to make it easier and quicker to reassemble the wall if they knock it all down; small boxes would take ages to put back up. I'd recommend having at least two people to run the stall. It is very popular with the older children.' Beki Herzberg, chair of Friends of King Edwards, Tyne and Wear (500 pupils)

Knock Santa down the chimney

'To make the game, you need a cardboard box painted to look like a brick chimney stack, a large Santa cuddly toy and soft white balls - ideally that look like snowballs! We charge children 60p to play. For this, they are given three 'snowballs' to throw at Santa. If they knock him down the chimney, they get a small prize!' Stephanie Scott, PC Member, St. Josephs RC Primary, Aberdeen (380 pupils)

Lemon balance

Float a lemon in a jug of water and challenge fairgoers to balance a 20p on the lemon. Obviously this game costs 20p a go! If it balances they win £1 - they may be tempted to spend their winnings having another go! It's harder than it looks! See also: penny drop.

Lucky (Lapland) squares

Print out a map of Lapland and divide it into squares. Pick a winning square (which is the secret location where Santa has hidden the presents!) and charge a fee to guess which square it is, taking down a name and class or contact number. At the end of the fair, reveal the winner and award a prize.

Marble pots

How many marbles can the children spoon into the hole on the bottom of ceramic plant pots in one minute? Paint the pots with festive decorations to fit the theme!

Money tree

Send envelopes home, asking parents to donate between 20p and £1. Punch a hole in each one and hang them on a Christmas tree with ribbon. Charge 50p to choose an envelope (pointing at them with a wand to avoid cheating). Top prize is £5, but fill some with chocolate coins too.

Name the...

What's the name of the snowman or reindeer? Have a plush cuddly toy, and a clipboard with a range of options - ask the school to provide a list of pupils' first names on a numbered spreadsheet - children will often choose their own name or that of a friend! Using random.org, generate three numbers to determine the winning name (and two alternatives). Announce the winner at the end of the event.

Penny drop

'Put a laminated (in case it gets wet) colour picture of Rudolf under a fish tank full of water. Rudolf's nose must be red and just big enough for the largest size of a coin to lie on it with a little room to spare. Players drop the coin in, and if it lands entirely on Rudolf's red nose, then the player doubles their money. No prizes are needed, as winners simply win money back. Provide the stall minder with a towel for when they have to fish the money out. It's a surprisingly difficult game that has adults and kids coming back to play again and again!' Carrie Cooper, Great Easton Primary School PTA, Essex.  See also: lemon balance.

Pie Face

'Inspired by the popular board game Pie Face, we persuaded teachers to sign up to 15-minute time slots and sold paper plates of squirty cream for 50p each. Children had to stand behind a throwing line so that no-one went up and shoved a plate in anyone's face!' Sarah Everson, Secretary, Friends of Halsford Park Primary, East Grinstead, West Sussex (415 pupils)

Pick a lolly

Zoe Bullock, PTA chair, The Firs Primary School: 'Cover a cardboard box in wrapping paper and push lollies into it. Colour some of the lolly sticks with pen. We charge 30p a go. Children get to keep the lolly, but coloured sticks win an extra prize. Our last "Lolly Lottery" made £140!'

Pick your nose!

Fill a deep tray with sand. Get around 30 carrots (snowman noses), paint five of them gold on the tips. Those who pick out a golden carrot win a prize. 

Pin the nose on Rudolf

'It's the same concept as pin the tail on the donkey except we have a big Rudolf face with a big red nose for the children to pin on! We are fortunate that one of the dads made us a big wooden Rudolf face one year, so we use it time and time again. The children win if they get anywhere near the nose area, and get a penny sweet for having a go if they don't win. They love it!' Natalie Corcoran, Telford Infant School PTA, Leamington Spa

Piggy racing

Julie Caines: "We bought four battery-operated pig toys from Hawkins Bazaar. We marked lanes with tape on a table and held races! We charged 50p a go. The piggies were a bit expensive at £15 each, but we made our money back the first time we did it which isn't bad, around £50 each time."

Play your cards right

Jacqueline Jordon: 'Play your cards right is a variation on the 'shove ha'penny' game. Using oversized playing cards, players roll a penny, and if it lands on an even/odd number or a card of a certain colour, they win a prize.'

Pluck a turkey

Just like 'pick a straw', but with an added Christmas twist! Make a giant papier-mache turkey, and, instead of straws, use feathers with coloured spots on the bottom. Each colour represents a different prize. Once you've made it, you can reuse it each year. 

Punch pot

Vanessa Harris: 'We use 20 plastic flower pots and put one prize in every 10th pot. Cover all the pots in Christmas tissue paper secured with an elastic band. Charge 30p a go for children to punch through the paper. Replace the tissue paper/prize as necessary.'

Rudolf hoopla

Hang a large sheet of hardboard with Rudolf's head painted on with tinsel-covered hooks on the antlers. Make hoops out of bent tinsel-covered coat hangers for participants to throw. The higher the hook, the better the prize.

Snowball scavenge

Fill a paddling pool full of shredded paper, hide ping pong balls (snowballs) amongst the paper. We offer a lolly every time and bigger prizes if children choose a ball featuring the words 'ho ho ho'. The younger children love it.' Louise Skitt, Willow Tree Primary School PTFA, Harrogate (509 pupils)

Snowman snap and snowman smash

Paola Armstrong, PTA committee member, St Patrick's RC school, Shropshire (200 pupils):  We had a load of empty Yazoo milkshake bottles from pupils' packed lunches. We stripped off the covers and decorated them to look like snowmen using paint for the lids (hats) and Sharpie pens to do the rest. The snowmen were used for two games:

Snowman snap: paint different colours for the hats, with matching pairs. Hide the snowmen in the 'snow' (beanbag filler balls). Charge 50p for three goes. If you pull out a pair, you get a prize.

Snowman smash: set up your snowmen in a ten-pin bowling format. Paint a tennis ball white and roll it down a big tube to see if you can knock down all the snowmen.'
Sock game

Sock game

'Hang a variety of socks on a line or clothes horse and put small items into each sock (i.e. a marble, comb, penny etc.) Players have to guess what's in each sock and write down their guesses (have a pre-printed sheet with name, telephone and description of each sock). The winner is the person who guesses all the items. Pull names out of a hat if there is more than one person who guesses all correctly.' Sarah Ellis, Friends of Garvestone Community Primary School, Norwich

Tin can alley

Ask for baked beans cans in advance of your fair and make sure they have no sharp edges. Use a bookcase with the back removed to hold them. Pile the cans in pyramids of three, six, etc. and give players beanbags or balls to try and knock them off - even better if you can find some white 'snowballs'. Give rewards for the number of cans shot down - the more cans, the better the prize.

Tinsel pull

Wrap a large cardboard box in festive paper and put several holes in the side. Poke tinsel of different lengths through the holes. Short ones win nothing, while long ones win a prize.

Water into wine

A few months in advance of your fair ask parents to bring in their used wine bottles (complete with screw tops). Fill the wine bottles with water. Ask for donations of wine from local supermarkets or parents and wrap all bottles with newspaper. Have a ratio of roughly one bottle of wine for every five bottles of water. Make sure anyone who plays is over 18. Aim to have approximately 200 bottles as a minimum - at £1 a turn, profits will be limited by the number of bottles you have.

Where in the world is Santa?

Display photos of landmarks from across the globe, zoomed in close, and run a quiz challenging people to identify the locations. Give prizes to those who get five or more correct answers.


Top tips for maximising profits

  • By having a variety of games at your fair, you're guaranteed to keep your audience milling around (and spending their money) for longer.
  • Encourage visitors to play games by having offers for multiple turns, i.e. 50p a go or three for £1. 


 


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