Always-updated guide to summer fair games and stalls

Our ultimate guide to the most popular and profitable games and stalls for your PTA summer fair

One of the most exciting elements of organising a PTA summer fair is choosing the games and stalls. We keep an ear to the ground and add our favourites as soon as we hear about them. Think we've missed any? Email editorial@pta.co.uk with your suggestions.

Adopt an animal

Children will love having a new fluffy in their lives. Ask for donations of good-quality soft toys or find free ones on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Make sure they are clean and give each one a name tag. On the day, put the names in a hat and ask the children to choose one. This will reveal which animal is their new friend.

Alternative: Photograph the animals with their nametags attached. Share the photos with every family and hold a raffle. The first prize is the largest animal, working down to the smallest.

Badge making

Wow the children by making badges right before their eyes. Cut images and templates to the correct size and use the school logo or let the children draw their own pictures. Badge-making machines can be purchased online and come in many different sizes and prices. If you don't want to invest, ask if your local Lions or Rotary club has one to lend. Work how much badges cost to make and add a small mark-up.

Beat the buzz

Ask a clever parent to make one or invest in a version of Beat the Buzz, and you'll have a classic challenge for your fair every year. Charge per attempt and reward the steady-handed winners with a prize. Sanitise the game between turns.

Beat the goalie

Ask a teacher to don large inflatable goalkeeper gloves and spend the day in goal. Give every player three chances to get a football past the goalie. If they succeed, they win a prize. Use lines on the ground to maintain social distancing if need be.

Alternative: Run a 'sponsored save' where children are sponsored based on how many goals they can save in a set time. Ask families to send in footage and share it on social media.

Biscuit decorating

Ask for donations from a local supermarket or encourage volunteers to bake batches of biscuits at home. Add summery food colouring to icing sugar for the decorations and fill squeezy bottles to stop it from drying out in the sun.

Bottle flip

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Ask players to hold a half-filled plastic bottle by its neck and flick it into the air. The aim is for the bottle to fully rotate, so it lands upright on its base. If they can do it, they win a prize.

Bottle tombola

Here's a game for the over-18s. Ask families to donate anything in a bottle, from wine to shampoo and label these prizes with a raffle ticket. Players draw a number from the tombola and see if they've won. Depending on how many donations you receive, either award a prize every time or only for tickets ending in zero and five. If you exclude alcohol, this can be run as a child-friendly game.

Choco cards

A simple, fun fairground game. Lay a pack of cards face-up on a table. On some of the cards, place a tasty chocolate or a small sweet treat.  The remaining cards can be left empty or filled with booby prizes such as raisins or a satsuma. The stall volunteers then offer each player a face-down pack of cards. The player chooses their card and wins the prize displayed on the matching card on the table. 

Decorate a fairy door

Fairy doors give your children something unique to take home from the fair. Ask volunteers to make basic arch shapes out of cardboard or wood, and supply eco-glitter, paint, beads and pompoms so children can make their doors sparkle.

Doughnut eating

Challenge children to eat a doughnut without licking their lips. Those who succeed will get a lolly as a prize (as if they need more sugar!). Make sure you have napkins and hand sanitiser ready for afterwards.

Alternative: Hang doughnuts on a string and challenge children to eat them with their hands tied behind their backs. Make it more difficult by giving them a time limit.

Feed the rabbit

Ask a volunteer to make a large cut-out rabbit from cardboard or plywood. Make sure it has a big mouth! Charge for three goes and ask participants to throw carrots into the rabbit's mouth. Give them a sweet for every carrot that meets its mark.

Fortune telling

Recruit a kindly teacher or parent to predict people's futures. Ask the volunteer to dress in scarves and beads to bring a little magic to the stall. To be more covid safe, the teller can sit behind a curtain – it will just add to the mystery! You may need a little disclaimer that your fortune teller isn't a genuine psychic.

Guess the teacher

See how well the children know their teachers by holding a photo competition. Ask staff to send in their baby photos or take pictures of them in a fashionable range of summery disguises (think sunglasses, straw hats and Hawaiian shirts). Create an answer form and charge players to guess who's who. Put every correct entry into a prize draw at the end of the day.

How many treats are in the picnic basket?

Fill a picnic basket with tasty treats, outdoor toys and exciting prizes. Display it at your fair and ask visitors to guess how many presents are inside. The person who guesses closest to the correct number receives the entire basket, complete with contents! If there are multiple guesses of the same number, pull them out of a hat.

Lucky squares

Print out a map of a desert island and divide it into squares. Pick a winning square – this is where the treasure is hidden. Charge a fee to guess which square it is, taking down a name, class and contact number. At the end of the fair, reveal the winner and reward them with the 'treasure'.

Alternative: Use a map of the school grounds or your local area for a fun twist.

Name the teddy

Source an impressive cuddly toy and display it next to a board with a selection of names. You could ask the school to provide a list of pupils' first names on a numbered spreadsheet – children will often choose a familiar name. Generate the winning name using a random number generating website, such as random.org. Announce the winner at the end of your summer fair – they take home the toy!

Nerf gun target shoot

Ask for volunteers to lend a selection of Nerf guns for the day and paint some large targets on pieces of board. Invite players to shoot at the targets – the prizes get better the closer you get to a bull's eye. Have a volunteer on hand to sanitise the Nerfs in-between goes.

Paddling pool golf

Set up a paddling pool at your summer fair and invite visitors to play a game of golf. Charge for three or five attempts to hit the ball from a tee into the pool. Award a prize for each time they succeed. Sanitise golf clubs between turns.

Pin the tail on the donkey

First, paint a tail-less donkey on a sturdy piece of board. Next, create a fabric tail with a sticky end. Blindfold players and invite them to pin the tail in the right place. Anyone who gets the tail close to the donkey's backside wins a small prize.

Piggy racing

Buy battery operated walking pig toys and hold Piggy Races. Mark lanes on a table with tape and invite each participant to choose a pig. The winner gets a prize.

Plant sale

One for the green-fingered parents and pupils! Invite volunteers to grow plants in the run-up to the summer fair and ask for donations from local garden centres.

Alternative: Run a pot painting stall where children paint a terracotta flowerpot using wildlife-friendly paint. They can then buy a plant to fit in their pot for a small charge.

Slime stall

Slime is always a good way to raise a smile. Ask volunteers to make different coloured slimes in the build-up to the summer fair and sell each tub for a small charge. There are lots of easy slime recipes to be found online.

Alternative: If you'd prefer not to set up a whole stall, slime makes a great prize for other summer fair games too.

Soak the teacher

Ask extra nicely if any teachers will stand behind a cardboard cut-out so the pupils can throw a wet sponge at them. Create a rota so everyone knows which teacher can be sponged and when. Leave your most prominent volunteer (the head, perhaps) until last for maximum excitement.

Treasure hunt

Pick a little creature that will hide all over your summer fair. Perhaps a seagull, a bumblebee or something else summery. Before the fair, stick pictures of it to some stalls and print forms for the children to record where they find it. Encourage children who are old enough to run off and explore. Everyone receives a small prize if they return a completed form.

Water into wine

A few months before your summer fair, ask parents for empty, cleaned screw-top wine bottles. At the same time, find out if your local supermarket would donate some bottles of wine (full, of course!) Fill the empty bottles with water and wrap all the bottles in newspaper. Aim for a ratio of one bottle of wine to five bottles of water. Anyone over 18 can pick a mystery bottle.

Welly wanging

Bring some tradition to your summer fair with an old-school welly wang. Cordon off an area of grass as a designated welly-throwing zone and invite participants to lob their boots as far as possible. Record the throws and give a prize at the end to the winner. Alternatively, draw an ambitious line in the grass and reward anyone who reaches it with a prize.

Wheel of fortune

A classic crowd-pleaser at any summer fair. Adapt this one from IKEA, or ask a creative parent to make one for you. Add words such as 'win a lolly', 'free spin', or 'sorry, try again'.

Where in the world is the teacher?

Display close-up photos of landmarks from across the globe with pictures of staff members added in. Challenge fair visitors people to identify the locations. Award prizes to those who get the most correct answers.

Once your shortlist is ready, download our summer fair checklist to help you stay organised.

Do you have any fantastic ideas for summer fair games? Email us now at editorial@pta.co.uk.