Step-by-step: beetle drive
'Beetle' is quite a simple game of rolling dice and
drawing a beetle, but when you run it as a beetle drive you add in
the element of moving tables after each game. It makes for a lively
and sociable event
- Agree on a date and book your venue. Put up posters, place
leaflets in book bags and ask teachers to tell the children about
your beetle drive in assembly to drum up excitement! Check the
capacity of your venue, and design and print tickets. If you are
also having a raffle or tombola on the night, start asking local
businesses for prize donations and sponsorship. Ascertain how many
volunteers you will need and put out an appeal for help. Make sure
your team knows the rules so they can explain what a beetle drive
is to anyone who hasn't done one before. Check you have someone who
is prepared to go on the microphone as compere! If you plan to run
a bar, apply for a licence from your local authority.
- Start selling tickets. Send a letter home with a tear-off slip
asking parents to include payment and state the number of beetle
drive tickets required. Appoint a team of volunteers to sell
tickets face-to-face on the school gate, too. Keep people
up-to-date with reminders about the cut-off date for ticket sales
or let them know if you are close to selling out.
- Decide if you are going to allow younger children to play with
their parents as a pair (little ones might not like moving around
by themselves). Make sure you have all the pencils (one per player)
and dice (one per table) you need. Draw a plan of the tables so you
know which way round everyone has to move. Photocopy plenty of
scorecards. Purchase or book refreshments. Decide how many games
you want to run before and after the refreshments and when to draw
the raffle if running one. Buy prizes - will you give a 'wooden
spoon' prize for the lowest score?
- Set up the tables and chairs, put scorecards, templates, dice
and pencils on the tables. Once everyone has arrived, explain the
rules - it's fun to give the children a few practice runs at
shouting out 'BEETLE!' as loud as they can. Leave time at the end
for adding up scores and sorting through the sheets to find the
winner. It can get a bit chaotic with everyone moving tables, but
that adds to the fun! Present the prizes, draw the raffle, count
your takings and announce the amount raised.
Tips and advice for running a beetle drive
- Timings: Start your beetle drive early - it always takes longer
than you think! Each game will probably take around 10 minutes, but
leave extra time for moving around and for refreshments, drawing
the raffle and prize-giving.
- Ticket prices: Most PTAs charge around £2.50 per ticket for
children and £5 per ticket for adults, to include food. Decide
whether you are running your beetle drive as a way to encourage
families to socialise, or as a fundraiser. Ascertain costs and
price tickets accordingly.
- Licensing: If you plan to serve alcohol at an event held on
unlicensed premises (i.e. your school), you will need to submit a
Temporary Event Notice (TEN). Allow at least 10 working days to
obtain this. Read our guide to TEN
- Boost profits: Include food in the ticket price. Keep things
simple by ordering fish and chips or pizza to be delivered during
the interval. Ask participants to pre-order food when buying their
ticket to prevent wastage. Run a raffle, seeking prize donations
from local attractions, restaurants, etc. Seek a sponsor for each
round from local businesses.
- Equipment: A beetle drive is a low-cost event to run. Make sure
everyone has a pencil and a die and provide players with a score
sheet, a set of the rules and a template showing what number they
need to throw for each body part. Download a score sheet and a
'beetle' template below.
- Beetle drive rules: Number your tables and sit two to four
players at each table. The youngest player rolls the dice first.
Play continues in a clockwise direction, with players throwing the
dice in turn and drawing body parts of the beetle depending on the
number they have thrown. There are a total of 14 body parts to
draw. You must draw the body before anything else, so you can't
start until you throw a six. You must throw a five to draw a
head before you can draw the eyes and antennae.
- Throw a six to draw the body,
- Throw a five to draw the head,
- Throw a four to draw the wings,
- Throw a three to draw each leg,
- Throw a two to draw an antennae,
- Throw a one to draw an eye.
- The first player from all the tables to draw a complete beetle
shouts 'BEETLE!' and scores the maximum 14 points for that round.
Everyone else counts up how many body parts they have drawn, and
scores one point per body part. The person with the highest
score per round from each table moves up a table, e.g. if the
winner is on table one, they move up to table two. The person with
the fewest points in each round moves down a table, e.g. if they
are on table six, they move down to table five. If your top table
is number 12 make sure they know they move up to table one and
table one moves down to table 12. At the end of the beetle
drive, the winner is the person who has scored the most points from
all the games added together. If there is a tie, the players with
the same number of points roll a die - the highest number
wins. NOTE: Remind players that it doesn't matter what their
beetles look like! Go through the rules clearly before you start
and ask if anyone has questions.
- Download a PDF version of our step-by-step guide to
running a beetle drive.
- Download a PDF beetle drive score
- Download a template of the drawn beetle, with the
- Download a template of the drawn snowman, with the
- Download a PDF snowman drive score
Beetle drive success story
Gail Bradshaw, PTA chair, Academy Primary School, County
Down (418 pupils): 'We have held a very successful
beetle drive for the last few years, setting up the assembly hall
in rows, with two desks facing each other in a square. This allowed
four people, or two teams to sit to play a game. Team members
sat beside each other, with one team moving anticlockwise at the
end of each game along the rows. Our caller sat on a platform at
the front of the hall. We managed to fit in six rows of six
squares, giving us a capacity of 144 people. Some parents and
children paired up in teams, but older children were a bit more
confident playing together without adult help. The event was
fairly straightforward to organise: each player needed a beetle
card, divided up into games or rounds with cumulative total column.
They also needed a pencil to draw their beetle, and each table
required a die and a cup to throw it from. We gave plenty of
spot prizes after each game. There were also two overall prizes for
the highest scores and two wooden spoons for the lowest. We played
12 games. After the eighth round, we took a break so children
and parents could indulge in light refreshments. We served tea or
coffee and a traybake (kindly donated by members of the PTA) for
the adults, and juice and a traybake for the children. The cost of
this is covered by the entry fee of £2 but we asked for extra
donations as well to boost profits. All in all, we made £250.'
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA based on
the guidance provided.
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