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The always-updated guide to spring and summer fair games

By having a variety of games at your fair, you're guaranteed to keep your audience milling around (and spending their money) for longer. 

Putt challenge

We loved Sandra McCann's game idea that would appeal to dads at your summer fair: 'We have a £5 note pinned to a strip of artificial grass (about 6" long). Whoever putts the ball onto the note wins. We charge 50p for 3 goes. Last time we had 110 attempts and 2 winners - £55 raised and we spent less than £10 in prizes. It can be played indoor too if wet. On the day with the float I issue an envelope with £5 notes to be given out to winners. We are a first school with approx. 240 children and we use the tagline with 'Drive for show, PUTT for dough!'. 

Yucky dip

Dare to be different and try out a 'yucky dip' at your fair. Paul Compton, chair at Kings Norton Primary PTA gave some advice: 'We use green jelly in big bowls and fill it with bugs from a pound shop. Children dive in and dig out - they love it! We charge 30p a go. Have a clean bowl of water and a towel at the ready for cleaning up.'

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Marble pots

A gardening-based game idea - how many marbles can the chidlren spoon into the hole on the bottom of ceramic plant pots in one minute? Claire Chambers did this: 'The kids loved it and so did the adults. We ran it alongside our plant stall which worked really well.'

Rowing challenge

A great one for the adults to get involved with but beware, they tend to get competitive! Ask a local gym if you can borrow a rowing machine in exchange for them promoting their gym. Have prizes for the fastest 500m in different age groups.

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 and/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 roughly 200 bottles as a minimum - at £1 a go profits will be limited by the number of bottles you have.

Human fruit machine

Have three child-sized boxes set up with holes cut out at chest height. Within each box 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 fruit match, the player wins! You can make it simpler by having runner-up prizes for two matching fruit.

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Piggy racing

Julie Caines told us the success of her piggy races: '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.'

Balloon pop

This takes a bit of preparation - have a team of helpers tying the balloons as this can really hurt your fingers after a while! Blow up enough balloons to allow one per pupil at the school. Place a raffle ticket inside each balloon, which correlate to different prizes. Alternatively, place notes in each one saying, 'Have another go!' or, 'Sorry, you haven't won', but mostly, 'You've won some sweets!'. Tie your balloons to a gazebo and cut each one down as it's chosen. Either provide a sharpened stick or let the children stamp on their balloon until it pops! Recommended charge - 30p per go or £1 for four.

Tin can alley

Ask for baked beans cans in advance of your fair and make sure they have no sharp edges. Have a book case with the back taken out to hold the cans. Have the cans in pyramids of three, six, etc. and give players super soakers to try and shoot the cans off! A very simple game that, because of the water element, will have children come back time and again. Give prizes out for number of cans shot down - the more cans, the better the prize.

Crockery smash

Ask for donations of old crockery or scour charity shops. Stick faces of people you love to hate (Simon Cowell, Cruella de Vil, Ashley Cole) onto the plates and stand them facing forwards on a book shelf. Place heavy-duty dust sheets under the plates and have a clear line for where the children should stand. Your stall should be manned by adult volunteers, wearing gardening gloves and safety goggles! Give participants hard balls to throw at the plates. Children, and parents, will love seeing their favourite villain toppled! Nicola McCarthy recommends charging 50p for three balls.

Hook a duck

An old favourite - especially with little ones. Simply fill a paddling pool with water, float ducks with eyelets on their backs and numbers on their bottoms. Ask participants to hook the duck out of the water - the number on the bottom corresponds to the prize they have won. 

Sweet jar/chocolate 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 bags of 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. Charge £1 for three spins. 

And these great ideas come from our PTA+ Facebook friends...

Michelle Whitlock: 'Last year we had a 'beautiful surprise' game. A box with 4 seperate compartments and doors held lip gloss, hair bows, nail polish etc.. the forth slot is left open. If the student picks that door they get sprayed with silly string. The kids kept playing this one so they could get sprayed. We ran out of prizes.'

Mandy Harris: 'We have a 'pull a teddy' stall. We tie string on lots of teddies and cuddlies and the participant pulls a string and they get the teddy that's on the end of the string.' 

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 though, only over 18s can play...  

Jacqueline Jordon:  'Play your cards right is a variation on the 'Shove a 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.'

Sharon Blain: 'We do a washing line game at the summer fair and a Christmas tree game at Christmas. It's £1.50 a go. We do 100 envelopes (but usually have to restock!). 75 prizes and 25 no wins. Prizes include a free drink, free burger, fancy rubber gloves and washing up liquid, donated spa sessions, donated lamps (new) and gift sets, etc. Prizes vary depending on donations. It is a great game and very popular. We don't write the prize in the envelope just WINNER and a number which corresponds to a list, that way if someone has taken the wrong prize, the stall holder can sort it with no disappointment and numbered 'winner' cards can be reused at the next event.' 

  • Do you have some fantastic ideas for summer fair games? Email us and let us know and you may well find your idea on this page!

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