Student-run fair stalls

Enlist the help of pupils to run stalls at your summer fair. Run a young enterprise challenge to boost competition

Sourcing enough volunteers for your summer fair is tricky so enlist the help of pupils – not only does this provide an enterprise opportunity with them coming up with moneymaking ideas, it also means extra manpower!

Ian Tudor, PTA chair, St Pauls Catholic Primary, Bristol told us about his ‘young entrepreneurs’ scheme successfully run at their summer fair: ‘We asked the teachers to support the idea that children get together in groups and present a business plan, consider marketing, costs, etc. and the PTA would they provide the prizes or materials for the stall. Year 6 took complete responsibility for it with the best stalls getting prizes we sourced from leisure centres, horse riding centre, laser quest, etc. The kids then ran the stalls on the day and they really wanted to win. Their stalls ended being the big money winners as they were trying hard to out-do each other. The teachers liked it as they could make it educational. We ended up with about six enterprise stalls who between them raised around £600. The children learnt a lot – one stall sold cakes and they were delivering cakes to people watching the displays. We had two nerf gun alleys and they dressed up in army gear and really went to town.’

Work with the school to make sure there’s a good variety of stalls. If your PTA are planning to have several refreshments stands, you might not want children selling jam and scones. Ask pupils what sort of things they would like to see at a fair and aim to have games and activity stalls run by children.

It doesn’t have to be just the Year 6 children who you call upon... get each year group to take charge of a stall, with the help of teachers and year reps. Encourage children to get a good rota drawn up so that everyone still gets to enjoy the rest of the fair. Here are some simple but effective stall ideas that kids could take charge of...

Guess the...

...Number of sweets in a jar, name of the teddy, weight of the cake. Get entrants to pay 50p to enter, and the winner (or closest) gets to keep the prize. If the sweets/teddy/cake is donated, this stall will be pure profit. Keep the answer from the kids to avoid it spreading throughout the playground. For ‘guess the name’ stalls, print off your list of names based on pupils in your school as children will enjoy seeing names they recognise.

Fresh lemonade or mocktails

Ice cold fresh lemonade is deliciously refreshing on a hot summer’s day. But if your children feel adventurous, they could add cucumber, lavender, watermelon or strawberries to create their own range of healthy mocktails. Take a look at some recipes here.

Bucket dash

Children have to carry a bucket of water 20m and empty the contents into a washing up bowl. They can refill the bucket three times, but they only have 2 minutes AND the bucket has holes in the bottom. Have a measuring stick and any child who manages to get an agreed amount or more into the bowl, wins a prize. Wet, but fun!

Human fruit machine

Three large boxes, fruit, and some enthusiastic students. Syreeta Oakes finds this to be hugely popular: ‘We had our Year 6 kids make and run this themselves. It’s fab, have three boxes covered over so you cannot see the contents, inside each box have 3-4 pieces of real or plastic fruit. It runs like a fruit machine, sound a horn, helpers roll their arms then pull out a fruit, we do it all matching fruit wins a prize. Very popular stall at our events!’

TIP: Laminate pictures of fruit to save money and mess.

Panning for gold

We loved Leigh Yates’ idea of a panning for gold game: ‘The golden nuggets were small stones sprayed gold and buried in a tray of sand, if they found five then they received a prize!’

Temporary tattoos

Children love temporary tattoos. They’re easy to put on, and take seconds to apply, increasing your turnover. Baker Ross sell a bargain tattoo stall pack for £69.95, with over 1,300 tattoos. You’ll need some water and a wet sponge and then you’re all set. Bear in mind that tattoos can last up to three weeks, so it’s worth positioning them where they’ll be covered by school uniform for the last few weeks of term.

Cupcake decorating

Purchase packs of plain sponge cakes (or appeal to your local supermarket for donations), and separate toppings such as sprinkles, mini smarties, dolly mixtures into bowls. Have different coloured icing in squeezy bottles to make life easier. It might not be a huge profit-maker, but it’s always a hit.

Craft stalls

Having ‘make and do’ stalls captures children’s imagination. Purchase packs of masks, photo frames, mugs or key rings so they have something to take away. Write children’s names on their item and have an area where things can dry before being collected and taken home.

Second-hand books

An easy one for younger years. Source donated books from parents, local charity shops and other schools. It’s also worth contacting book publishers to see if they can donate new books.

Jars of goodies

Filling jars up of small gifts and sweets to sell was a hit with Louise Bailey: ‘In our Class 2, parents were sent home with a paper cup and asked them to fill with sweets, they then put cello wrap and ribbon round and sold for 50p per cup. Class 3 were asked to get jam jars and they were filled with paper clips, hair bands, glitter etc. I asked costa coffee to keep their mini jam jars and they were sold once filled for 50p each bigger jars 75p!’

Grow a £1

Tina Canning’s idea let the kids build on their imagination: ‘Every child starts with a £1 in the class. They could team up and buy seeds for example to grow small plants to sell. Club together the ingredients to bake cakes and sell the cakes. It encourages the best use of making the most profit with a child starting with £1. Children come up with some fab ideas.’

Play your cards right

‘Purchase big playing cards and run a higher/lower game. We had cheap lollies as prizes from pound shop packs’ said Gina Adamou. It even brings in a bit of maths to the fun! Or as an alternative have two packs of cards. One is all face up on a table with little prizes on each. Children then draw a card from the other pack and win the corresponding prize!


  • Running stalls with pupils and want to share your ideas? Drop us an email at