The always-updated guide to spring and summer fair games
By having a variety of games at your summer fair, you're
guaranteed to keep your audience milling around (and spending their
money) for longer.
We loved Sandra McCann's summer fair game idea
that would appeal to dads: '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 three goes. Last time we had 110
attempts and two winners - £55 raised and we spent less than £10 in
prizes. It can be played indoors too if it's wet. On the day, I
issue an envelope with £5 notes to be given out to winners.
We use the tagline with 'Drive for show, PUTT for dough!' We are a
first school with around 240 children.
Dare to be different and try out a 'yucky dip' at your fair.
Paul Compton, chair at Kings Norton Primary PTA
gave us some advice: 'We use green jelly in big bowls and fill it
with bugs from a pound shop. Children dive in and dig out the bugs
- they love it! We charge 30p a go. Have a clean bowl of water and
a towel at the ready for cleaning up.'
A gardening-based game idea - how many marbles can the children
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.'
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 summer 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 the bottles with
newspaper. Have a ratio of roughly one bottle of wine for every
five bottles of water. Aim to have roughly 200 bottles as a
minimum. At £1 a go, profits will be limited by the number of
bottles you have. Make sure anyone who plays is over 18.
Human fruit machine
Set up three child-sized boxes with holes cut out at chest
height. Place a bowl of fruit in each box. You need to same kinds
of fruit in each bowl to make the game work. 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
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.'
Blow up enough balloons to allow one per pupil at the school.
This takes a bit of preparation - have a team of helpers tying the
balloons as it can really hurt your fingers after a while! Place a
raffle ticket inside each balloon, which corresponds to a
particular kind of prize. 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
Sometime before your summer fair, ask parents for donations of
baked bean cans. Make sure they have no sharp edges. Use a bookcase
with the back taken out to hold the cans. Set up the cans in
pyramids of three, six, etc. and give players super soakers to
shoot the cans off! A very simple game that, because of the water
element, will have children coming back time and again. Give prizes
for number of cans shot down - the more cans, the better the
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 draw
a clear line to indicate where the children should stand. Your
stall should be manned by adult volunteers wearing gardening gloves
and safety goggles. Give the 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.
More ideas from our PTA+
Michelle Whitlock: 'At last year's summer
fair we had a 'beautiful surprise' game. A box with four separate
compartments and doors held lip gloss, hair bows and nail polish.
The forth slot was 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 the
teddy' stall. We tie string on lots of teddies and cuddlies.
Each participant pulls a string and gets 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
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 have a washing line game
at the summer fair and a Christmas tree game at Christmas. It's
£1.50 a turn. We make up 100 envelopes (but usually have to
restock!). There are 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. The types
of prizes vary depending on what we get as donations. It's a really
popular game. 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 stallholder can replace it with no
disappointment and numbered 'winner' cards can be reused at the
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