One-person game stalls
Games stalls take a lot of manpower and it's
all too common for them to be sacrificed when there aren't enough
people to go round, which is why we've collated this list of stalls
which can be run by only one volunteer. These stalls need
little set-up and maintenance, so you can get by with one
person to take the money and guide the participant through the
Adopt an animal
Ask for donations of good-quality soft toys or source
free ones on Gumtree. Stick them through the washing machine, then
attach a name tag around their necks and put all the names in a
hat. Children pull out a name and win the corresponding animal.
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.
Have three plastic buckets of differing sizes, with
the largest nearest to the player and the smallest furthest away.
Set up a firing line and allow each contestant three shots at
throwing a ball, so it stays in a bucket. Give a prize if they get
all three in a bucket, or if they get one in the smallest
Lay one pack of cards out on a table, placing a
wrapped chocolate on some of the cards, with booby prizes, or
nothing, on the others. The children choose a card from another
pack and win whatever is on the corresponding card.
Sparsely lay out bars of chocolate in an empty
paddling pool and ask players to throw a 20p coin for the chance to
win one. Throwers who land their coin on the chocolate win that
bar. Use individual bars to make it harder or larger bars for more
of an incentive to play. You could also set a throwing line to
restrict players further.
Find the £1
Fill an assortment of jam jars with tissue paper, and
tape a £1 inside one of the lids. Ask players to choose the jar
they think has the £1 in, charging £20 for one go or £1 for five.
If they pick the correct jar, they win the £1. Tape the £1 into a
dull, small jar rather than one with a distinctive lid or shape as
people will be less likely to pick it! Replace the £1 as
Guess the teacher
Collect baby photos from staff or take photos of staff
members in a Christmassy disguise. Create an answer form and ask
players to fill it in with their guesses. Correct entries are
entered into a draw to win a prize.
Float a lemon in a jug of water and challenge
fairgoers to balance a 20p on the lemon. Obviously this game costs
20p a go! If it balances they win £1 - they may be tempted to spend
their winnings having another go! It's harder than it looks! See
also: 'penny drop'.
Print out a map and divide it into squares. Pick a
winning square (this could be where the school mascot or a popular
children's character is hiding etc.) and charge a fee to guess
which square it is, taking down a name and class or contact number.
At the end of the fair, reveal the winner and award a prize.
How many marbles can the children spoon into the hole
on the bottom of ceramic plant pots in one minute? Paint the pots
with festive decorations to fit the theme!
Send envelopes home, asking parents to donate between
20p and £1. Punch a hole in each one and hang them on a Christmas
tree with ribbon. Charge 50p to choose an envelope (pointing at
them with a wand to avoid cheating). Top prize is £5, but fill some
with chocolate coins too.
Have a plush cuddly toy, and a clipboard with a range
of options - ask the school to provide a list of pupils' first
names on a numbered spreadsheet - children will often choose their
own name or that of a friend! Using random.org,
generate three numbers to determine the winning name (and two
alternatives). Announce the winner at the end of the event.
Pick a lolly
'Cover a cardboard box in wrapping paper and push
lollies into it. Colour some of the lolly sticks with a pen. We
charge 30p a go. Children get to keep the lolly, but coloured
sticks win an extra prize. Our last 'Lolly Lottery' made £140!'
Zoe Bullock, PTA Chair, The Firs Primary
Play your cards right
Jacqueline Jordon: 'Play your cards
right is a variation on the 'shove ha'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.'
Fill pots with sand, putting a sweet (securely wrapped
so sand can't get in) or small prize in the bottom of some before
filling. Players choose a pot and pour it through a colander to
reveal whether or not they've won a prize.
Vanessa Harris: 'We use 20 plastic
flower pots and put one prize in every 10th pot. Cover all the pots
in tissue paper secured with an elastic band. Charge 30p a go for
children to punch through the paper. Replace the tissue paper/prize
Lay out a range of jars or plant pots, decorated and
different sizes. Players must bounce a ping pong ball into a pot to
win a prize. The size of the prize depends on which pot they land
it in - the smaller the pot, the better the prize!
Peg socks on a line and put a toy or sweet in each.
For an easier game, kids can feel (but not look in!) the socks.
They choose one and get to keep whatever's inside. To make it
harder, they're not allowed to feel the socks, and can only choose
Do feed the animals!
Prop up a large sheet of hardboard with an animal
painted on it - this could be seasonal like a reindeer or tie in
with a theme, e.g. a horse for a country fair. Put a hole where
their mouth should be. Participants aim small dog toys at the
mouth, preferable themed to suit the animal or season. Have infants
standing closer to the hardboard, juniors further away, and real
experts standing at an angle to make it even trickier!
Splat the rat
Attach a length of PVC pipe to a piece of wood and
lean it up against a wall so the pipe is vertical. Drop a toy rat
down the length of the pipe for participants to 'splat' once it
comes out the other end. Those who succeed win a prize.
Top tips for one-person game stalls
- Whether or not a one-person stall is doable depends on the
scale of your stall, size of your fair and the popularity of the
game. Even if a stall can be run by one person, it doesn't mean
that they won't benefit from having multiple volunteers if you have
- These game ideas are ideal to have on standby in case any
external stallholders drop out last-minute and you have a space to
- If you are low on volunteers, always ensure there's someone to
go round the stalls and ensure everyone's comfortable, fetch drinks
if needed and relieve them if they need to go to the loo. Also
ensure all volunteers have an opportunity to look around the fair
with their own children.
- Bear in mind that single volunteers on stalls need to be extra
vigilant - it's a good idea to keep money in a bum bag so it's
always safe, and ensure they're able to call for support if there
are any issues.
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