Some of these ideas might require you to “buy” in some extra help – others could be done quite easily by yourself.
Be sure to add any more ideas by leaving a comment at the end. 🙂
From jumping castles to major rides, they are a must have for any event.
An easy sideshow for the kids to make. All you need is some very large water pistols and some empty soft drink bottles – 3 litre ones are good. The object of the game is to have a ball balancing on the top of the bottle and it has to be hit by a blast of water form the water pistol. If you dislodge the ball, you win a prize. Spray paint your bottles with whacky colours and make your balls look like little planets. Experiment with different balls – table tennis, golf etc. to find what suits the force from your water pistols. You don’t want everybody to win, but you also don’t want it to be too hard. You can vary the degree of difficulty – every ball has to be dislodged or only one.
Baby Animal Farms
Very popular with young children and a great stall to give the preschoolers to organise. Several companies offer this service bringing a variety of small animals suitable for children to feed and pat.
Either ask a sponsor to provide printed balloons and helium to give away or ask your local balloon shop to set up a stall. You can also look at a balloon twister to provide entertainment.
Hire a badge making machine – let children colour in their own artwork and then make into a badge, always very popular. See my earlier post on Badge Making for more help.
These brightly coloured wands blow HUGE bubbles and are a big hit with all ages. They are available through www.bubblewands.com.au. Make sure you set your stall up on grass as they can become messy.
Second hand books and magazines are always popular – add DVD’s and videos to your stall to increase your range.
Collect empty bottles and jars and ask parents to donate items that can be used to fill them and also ask parents to send in ready filled bottles. A great safety idea is to empty the winning bottle contents into a paper bag – much safer than having children running around carrying glass. Another great idea is to use disposable food containers, like the ones they pack chinese in. They are cheap to purchase and very safe.
You can also have a stall that is filled bottles – jams, sauces, drinks, etc. You can wrap a $50, $20 and $10 note around some bottles to make the major prizes. Depending upon the number of bottles you have, you can either make every one a winner, or select your ratio of wins to prizes. You can put winning numbers on bottles, or you can make it that every even number drawn wins a prize. Some ideas for filling bottles include:
Coloured pencils, crayons, small activity pad, felt pens,
beads with string or wire to make jewellery,
marbles, pencil sharpener, rubber, McDonalds toys
Hair-ribbons, scrunchies, clips, comb, brush
Sticky tape, drawing pins, small post it notes, white
board marker, paper clips, rubber bands
Home made jam or marmalade
Bath bombs, bath crystals, soap, hand cream,
Makeup – unused make-up samples cotton wool, cotton buds, lip gloss.
Nail file, nail polish, hand cream, nail clippers, cotton wool
Nails, screws, bolts, screw driver, tape measure
Small candles, potpouri
Bandaids, bandages, cotton wool, cotton buds, small scissors, antiseptic crèam
Quality bottles of oil, sauces, relishes, jams. (No alcohol)
Perfume, bath salts, bubble bath
Great fun and easy to run, simply have balloons attached to a board with a number behind each board. As the punter busts the balloon they win the prize corresponding to the number behind. You can buy cheap toys as prizes and have a couple of major prizes for interest – maybe a $5 note.
Cane Toad or Cockroach races
Cane toads, cockroaches, whatever, we all hate the little so and so’s – but what a great fundraiser they make! You can eradicate the pests and make some money at the same time.
BUT WE DO REMIND YOU, THEY ARE LIVING CREATURES AND YOU CANNOT ABUSE THEM.
What you need to race them is a field of runners. If you live in Queensland, you’ll have no shortage of cane toads, if you live in NSW, you’ll have no shortage of cockroaches – is somebody asking about Stage of Origin?
Gather up a decent number of the little creatures. You will need to identify them – maybe make a little jacket for the cane toad, or mark with non-toxic face paint. You then offer these fine pedigrees for sale at auction. Once they have been purchased, you are ready to race. the new owner can take their purchase home with them after the races or leave them to be dealt with humanely.
Charge an entry fee for each race, and give a percentage of this back as prize money, say 25% for the first out of the circle and 10% for the last – the balance of the monies is profit for your charity.
A circle is an ideal race track. Mark a decent sized circle using a piece of string, a stake and some chalk – (we’ve all watched Burke’s Back Yard). A diameter of about three metres is ideal. Then mark a small circle inside the larger one – 50cm should be about right. Then you let the games begin. Keep your thoroughbred stallions in a bucket or calico bag, let them go in the inner circle and start yelling. They’re off and racing ……
The winner is the first thoroughbred to break out of the big circle.
You can run several races over the course of an evening. Make sure you have someone ready to collect the thoroughbred’s after each race – you can also re-auction them after every race.
Remember, it is highly illegal to run a book on any of these races and at the end of the night you must dispose of your thoroughbreds in a humane manner. The suggested method for cane toads is to place them in a plastic bag in a freezer, where they will simply fall asleep in the cold and eventually pass away. Cane toads are one of the biggest environmental pest ever introduced into Australia, they are slowly moving both north and south, sightings have already been reported in Kakadu National Park – an ecological disaster in the making.
So have some fun and do a bit for the environment at the same time.
What about a sponsored toad hunt….. now there’s an idea.
Send home empty cake boxes the last week of the fete with requests for cakes to be delivered to school on the day before the fete. With new food regulations is also a good idea to ask parents to include a list of ingredients with the cakes. Check with your local authority regarding health regulations as many councils now have a requirement that any cakes that are sold must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. If this is the case in your area, ask for ingredients to be donated and organise to have a bake up in your school kitchen.
This is a great idea to add some fun to your fete. Basically it is a raffle, but your customers have to work to win their prize! All you need is a nice cake that is the prize – someone could make it, donate it whatever. Promote it as a really special prize and the ticket holders have to be present at a certain time for the dance. Offer only a limited number of tickets, say 40 at $2.00 each.
When you sell all your tickets you have $80, you then get all ticket buyers together and they stand around a circle standing on a number (eg on a cardboard sheet) 40 numbers all up. You put raffle tickets in the hat and get someone to pull out a number, that number is then taken away and you get everyone to walk around the circle (to music) when the music stops they jump on a number the person missing one misses out!!! Just like musical chairs!!! Play until there is only one person left who is the winner of the cake and your committee is $80 in profit if the cake is donated.
It may take a little time to play, but it will provide a lot of fun for people attending your event, and of course you don’t have to make the prize a cake, it can be anything of value.
Candle making is a centuries old art. Today you can offer an exciting attraction at your fete with original candle dipping and carving. Participants are given wicks which they dip in a selection of coloured waxes. When it is the right size, it is carved and moulded into a variety of exciting shapes. The built up layers of wax make the candles very bright and colourful. This is an activity that any age group can participate in and best of all, they get to take home a great souvenir of the fete.
Always a big winner – ask local businesses to donate goods and prizes Selling 100 tickets at $1 each you can always raise good money from this sideshow. Check your state regulations regarding raffles.
Cob of Corn
A new idea that is starting to increase in popularity at school fetes, street markets and other events is a piping hot cob of fresh corn.
Contact your local fruit and veg markets to obtain the best price on corn. You will need sturdy skewers, a chopping board and a mallet to insert the skewers into the corn. You will also need some extremelylarge pots filled with boiling water to cook the corn and gas burners. Approach your local hire company for these items. It is recommended that you keep children away from the area – this should be a parents only activity.
Have plenty of butter, salt and pepper handy and you will be on a definite winner! As a sideline, freeze the animal shaped soft drinks you buy in supermarkets – kids love them and you can make an excellent profit margin, especially if you buy wholesale, or make fresh lemonade.
Coffee & Tea Stall
A must and with the popularity of special coffees, approach your local coffee shop with a view to setting up a cappuccino machine. Many coffee shops now have portable coffee carts available. Serve Devonshire teas with home baked scones.
Make sure you give stall holders a free cuppa during the day they’ll really appreciate it.
Set up a craft group months before the event to make craft items. Regularly ask for donations of craft materials in your newsletter, there are many people who cannot sew but are more than willing to donate raw materials. If you can’t establish a craft group you can always scour your local markets for a suitable stall and ask them to pay a percentage of takings. Craft stalls are particularly good if your fete is on Mother’s Day weekend. Think about dividing your craft items up – jams and pickles into a gourmet food stall, skin care and bathroom luxuries in a pamper stall, toys and baby clothes in a baby stall. You can also create themes around colours – a blue stall, a red stall, a pink stall.
We have searched the web and found some wonderful links for craft items that will sell well at fetes.
Try these Pyramid Door Stops.
Discos are always really popular with children and school discos can raise large amounts of money. If you are having a night time event, consider running a disco in conjunction with it.
Your local donut store may be interested in setting up a stall cooking fresh donuts.
Without a doubt one of the most popular activities with the kids! Your amusement ride provider should be able to help you with a dunk tank. If you can’t source a dunk tank, consider making your own stand for a wet sponge throw – just as effective!
Fishing plastic ducks out of a pond is an age old favourite. Insert a little metal hoop into the mouth the duck and a small hook into the end of a bamboo rod. Number the base of each duck and make even numbers winners. You only need a small prize like a mini chocolate bar.
Always popular with the little kids. Select your designs in advance and make sure everyone can reproduce them. Photograph the designs and laminate the images – this makes it easy for the little ones to make their choice. Look at temporary tattoos for older children. You can also book in professional face painters who will pay you a percentage of their takings.
A school fete just wouldn’t be the same without fairy floss. You can hire in a machine (your amusement rides can probably provide one) or sell pre-packaged floss if you don’t want the mess of making it yourself. Leftover pre-packaged floss can be sold through your tuckshop. You can also have specialist floss vendors come to your fete and sell floss, popcorn, etc. on your behalf. This is a great way of adding colour and atmosphere to your event without any financial outlay.
Sooooo popular with the girls. Contact Make Believe (www.makebelieve.com.au) on 07 3219 5015 for wands and halos that are always a big seller. Advertise for mums who can sew and make up some easy fairy costumes using tulle. You can add pirate costumes to keep the boys amused.
Ever popular, approach a local boutique to sponsor the event. Instead of choosing women’s fashion, look at children’s and teen’s fashions. For a really fun fashion parade feature used clothing from your second hand stall – have some of the teachers act as models – and include a selection of teachers modelling used school uniforms. Guaranteed to be a big hit.
Take a trip to the flower market the day before – you can make up bunches yourself or buy them ready made. If you don’t live in a capital city with a flower market, source a local flower farm. Make sure you place your order well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Flower stalls are a particularly good idea your fete is mother’s day weekend. Don’t just make up bunches, do some simple arrangements which make lovely gifts.
Think of having a farmers market at your fete to attract extra visitors.
Find the Egg
Simple and cheap. The object is to find the whole eggs. The winners get to keep the eggs, or a better prize if you like.
Materials: eggs (hard boiled if you prefer); a shallow box of sand ; egg shells
Fill the box with sand. Partly bury a selection of whole eggs and egg shells in the sand either pointy end up or round end up, so that you can’t tell whether they are egg shells or unbroken eggs. Players simply take the egg of their choice and turn it over. If it’s empty, the shell goes back in the sand, if it’s a whole egg, they keep the egg.
Free Dress Day
A great source of revenue for any school is a free dress day. There are many variations on how you can raise money.
Charge a gold coin to each child who arrives in free dress, or use the day to raise items for other events within your school – leading up to your school fete the children have to bring in specific items in return for free dress – one week it could be bottles for the bottle stall, the next it could be cake mixes for the cake stall and so on. You will find you will get a lot more donations this way than simply asking the parents to send the items in.
This activity can also be used in a workplace where employees are allowed to go casual, or follow a theme for the day. Many large charities now use this method to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars Australia wide.
Hot Food Stalls
By far your most profitable area. Ensure you have the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs and hot chips add an international flair with Chinese and Asian food, halal food, curries, Greek food, etc.Food stalls are traditionally the most popular and will raise a lot of money for you. Ensure your food is well priced. If it is overpriced, you will be left with food at the end of the day. Well priced food will all be sold. Be aware of food regulations when planning your stall. Contact your local council well in advance to ensure you comply with regulations.
Look within your school community for ethnic groups such as Asian, Indian, Greek, Italian. Encourage them to convene food – these are always extremely popular. Seek sponsorship from local butchers, poultry suppliers and supermarkets for ingredients. Contact major bakeries and flour millers for donations. The more donations you receive the more money you will make. Have a working bee early on the morning to bake fresh scones for the Devonshire tea stall.
Gourmet Foods Stall
Pickles, jams and preservatives, gourmet biscuits and cakes, all very popular. This stall can compliment the craft stall.
Hair Colour Stall
Really popular with the kids – spray on wild colours for great fun. A good alternative to face painting for older kids. You will need to buy several cartons of spray colour as it is very, very popular.
You can’t have a school fete without hot chips. Always one of the best sellers. Have a stand-alone hot chip stall or combine with burgers. Hire deep fryers from your local party hire store or organise a hot chip van to come in and vend on your behalf.
Very easy to organise. You simply lay prizes out on a table – elevate them on a box – the cardboard boxes you buy from dollar shops are ideal. Give your punter three turns for a set price. You will need hoops that are just a fraction larger than the box they have to fit over. The prize is won when the hoop surrounds the box. Depending upon the price you charge to have a go, you can give every child a small consolation prize.
Ice creams are always a popular treat, especially on those hot days. It can be difficult for a school to set up its own ice cream stall because of the need for refrigeration. Booking an ice cream vendor is the ideal solution. You can choose from soft serve, specialty ice creams or prepackaged favourites.
Use skydiving displays to raise revenue for your school, and involve a fun and colourful skydive display as well!
How does this work? Your school holds a raffle by selling lottery tickets where the purchaser places their name and details on the tickets. On the day of the fete the ticket holders place their tickets on the ground in a designated area, and the ticket the skydiver lands on is declared the winner (lots of fun and excitement, and a fun way to raise revenue!)
Karaoke has become really popular with children. Consider running a Karaoke disco. This is an especially good idea if you are having a night time event.
Kiss a Pig
Many schools have had success with this fundraiser. Here’s how it works…
Approach your principal, teachers and admin staff to participate in this fun event. They must agree to kiss a pig in front of the entire school. You will need three of four candidates and only one will be picked as the lucky ‘kisser”. Make sure you candidates are well known to the kids and good sports.
The kisser will be the person who raises the most money in the fundraising drive – but your candidates don’t actively raise money – they don’t want to have to kiss the pig so they don’t want to raise the most money! They are free to raise money on their opponents’ behalf. You can commence this fundraiser well in advance of your fete. You will need to place secure jars, each marked with your candidates’ names, in secure areas around your school. Anyone can vote for the candidates by placing money, or pledge forms, into the jars.
On the day of the fete set up a Kiss a Pig stall. Make it really bright and fun with lots of colour and balloons and have large photos of your candidates. Make sure you promote the event throughout the day. The lucky pig kisser will be the candidate who raises the most money. Kids will go all out to ensure their principal has to kiss the pig. You can have this event as the grand finale for the day and you will be able to collect money right up until the last minute.
Make sure you book an animal farm for your fete and have them provide the piggy to be kissed. If your mobile farm doesn’t have a piggy, look for another animal – a camel from the camel rides, or a donkey make great substitutes. This is a great community spirit builder and the kids will get a great kick from seeing an unpopular teacher have to kiss the pig.
The ladder climb is a wire ladder with wooden rungs, it has a swivel at either end of the ladder. It is attached to a frame – at the top of the frame you attach a $50 note. Anyone who can climb the ladder without falling over wins the prize.
Played around inflatable objects, laser tag involves tagging opposing team members. These mobile arenas are extremely popular with older children. You will need a large area to house the inflatable arenas. It is great fun for all ages and really a really popular activity.
Lolly and Sweet Stall
Ask for donations from parents and repackage into plastic bags. Lolly necklaces are always a popular item and can be easily made by children. Confectionary warehouses are a good source of cheap lollies.
Lucky Bucket or Money Drop
Fill a bucket with water and place a gold coin at the bottom, in the centre of the bucket. To have a go you drop a 20c coin into the bucket. If it covers the gold coin, you win the coin as a prize. An easy attraction for children to run. You could also use a fish tank instead of the bucket.
Lucky dips are irresistible to most children. A toy or novelty wholesaler should be able to provide you with cheap toys suitable for the lucky dip. Also source hair clips, hair slides, ribbons, necklaces, earings and rings. Wrap in bright colours and put in brightly coloured containers – plastic rubbish bins covered in wrapping paper are good. It is a good idea to have one for boys and one for girls. You can make the dip harder by filling the container with sawdust so the children have to rummage around to find their prize – but make sure your prizes are well wrapped.
Buy a set of 5 padlocks with same key, secure these to a chain length, fill a large box with
actual lock keys and dummy keys. Charge $1.00 a go and if their lock unlocks the padlock they win a prize.
Another easy sideshow using a paddling pool. Fill the paddling pool with water and float a small china plate in the water. Put a $2 coin in the plate. Draw a line about 2 metres from the pool. If you can throw a 20cent piece onto the plate, you win the prize. Practice as you set up the stall to decide the best distance for the line. The 20c coins will usually bounce off the plate.
You will needs a Hills Portable Clothes Hoist and hundreds of used socks! The idea is to set up your Hills Hoist and then peg the socks to the lines.
You can run this stall in a couple of ways. You can let your customers actually select a sock, which will have a lucky number inside, or you can number each sock and let your customers buy tickets, like tombola.
You could put your prize inside the sock – mini bars of chocolates, scratch it tickets, small toys – or you could have the lucky ticket inside the sock that corresponds to your prize table.
Maybe your local hardware store would generously donate the Hills Hoist and it could be the major prize? Alternatively, you can string up lines using rope.
Ask for donations of socks to use on the stall.
Lob a choc
Another one that is really popular with kids. You can do a couple of variations. If you have access to a sturdy child’s paddling pool, cover it in large mesh chicken wire. The idea is you place the chocolates on the wire – the players throw a 20 cent piece at the chocolates. If the coin lands and remains on the chocolate, they win the chocolate. Use mini chocolates – and make sure the chicken wire is large enough for the money to fall through. Add some larger bars to make it interesting, but put these towards the back so they are harder to win. If you don’t have a paddling pool you can vary this by using shallow plates – but specify that the money must land on the chocolate to win, not the plate. Make sure you buy plenty of chocolate as this is very popular.
Lob the Dunny Roll
3 toilets (new), heaps of Toilet Rolls, kids buy a roll for $1 and if they get it in they get a prize/chocolate. Set line 2 metres back for throwing.
Fill a bucket with water and place a gold coin at the bottom, in the centre of the bucket. To have a go you drop a 20c coin into the bucket. If it covers the gold coin, you win the coin as a prize. An easy attraction for children to run. You could also use a fish tank instead of the bucket.
A money tree is a really novel way to raise money at a school fete. It is simple to put together, cost effective and an attractive prize. You simply need to buy (or have donated) a small topiary tree in a nice pot. Buy a selection of Scratch It cards (select your own amount). You then punch a small hole in the scratch it card, pass a small piece of coloured ribbon through the card and tie it to the tree. Make sure they are placed evenly across the tree. You can also vary the idea by using dollar notes wrapped and tied with a small piece or ribbon, or gift vouchers. Make it seasonal by using a Christmas tree. You can use your money tree as a raffle, chocolate wheel or tombola prize.
Name the …
Have an item like a baby born doll and sell tickets to name her. At the end of the day the winning name is pulled from a box and the person who selected that name wins the doll. Alternatively you can have 100 names already selected and you sell the names.
You need to have your convenors organised well in advance for this one if you plan growing your own stock. If you don’t want to grow them yourself approach a wholesale nursery. A visit to the local flea market is also a source for cheap plants. If your plants are well priced they will sell out early.
Incredibly popular with kids, but you need a convenor who is willing to make all the shapes in advance. A working bee for parents can be a good way of getting them made. There are businesses who will also supply you with ready made shapes, or will attend your fete and pay a percentage of takings.
A classic fete favourite. Make sure you use established businesses rather than parents from the school – you must ensure you have adequate public liability insurance.
This is a really fun activity and always attracts lots of attention. You can select what animal you choose to ‘poo’ depending upon the area you have available. You can use anything from a guinea pig to a cow, as long as it is an animal that does plenty of poos. Using tape or chalk, mark out an area into equal squares and give each square a nuber. 100 is an excellent number as it will correspond with the number of tickets in a raffle book. The winner is the person who owns the ticket that corresponds to the box number the animal poos in. Cash prizes are an excellent incentive. Remember to clean up between lottos!
Pre-Loved Clothing Stall
Second-hand clothing is always popular. You can vary the number of stalls you have by sorting your clothing into:
baby and children’s clothing
Hold a fashion parade featuring your pre-loved treasures. Have some of your teachers as models and you will have a real winner on your hands.
Ring a Bottle
This is a variation on hoopla. Set up a table full of 1.25 litre soft drink bottles. Use tiny hoops (available from craft shops). The hoop must ring the bottle’s neck. Winner wins the bottle. This is very popular with older children so make sure you have plenty of bottles. If you have a spruiker yelling out each time the game is about to start, you’ll get a good crowd. Make sure you buy several cartons of drinks.
This is a great interactive stall for any event involving children. Children create wonderful pictures on cards by peeling off sticky layers one at a time & covering each layer of the picture with different coloured sands
Sell pre-printed school merchandise such as T-Shirts, Caps, Mugs, Keyrings and tea towels. This is especially good if you have a school anniversary to commemorate.
Scoubidou is the latest craze to sweep the country. Use it to your advantage by holding a Scoubidou Stall at your fete. Convene a stall selling Scoubie Strings as well as packs. Offer kids the opportunity to learn how to make Scoubidou and buy product. You will be on a winner.
You can make bags yourself, but by the time you source materials to fill them you may find it cheaper to purchase pre-packaged ones. Perhaps from Fete Showbags.
Sno Cones & Shaved Ice
Always very popular, especially on hot days.
A must have for any event. Remember to also include bottled water. Soft drink manufacturers may be able to supply you with drink stalls to sell from. Don’t forget to order plenty of ice. Combine with a slushy machine and you will have resales all day long.
Stairway to Heaven
Have a standard 6′ step ladder. On each step you place a container. To have a go, you get the same number of balls/bean bags as there are containers. To win a prize you must throw a ball/bag into each container. To increase the degree of difficulty, make the containers smaller as they go up the ladder. Ping pong balls will be harder to use than bean bags. Experiment to see what suits you best.
Stick lotto is really easy to organise and great fun. You will need a large shallow box filled with sand – you can buy plastic containers from dollar shops that are ideal. You need wooden coffee sticks. A good number to use is 100. Decide what ratio of prizes you are going to give away and then paint the tips of that number of sticks. They are the winners. Push the ends of all the sticks into the sand box. Make it inexpensive to have a go – say 20 cents. Mini chocolates are an ideal prize. You can vary this by marking numbers on the sticks and offering corresponding cash prizes, this is more appropriate if you are charging $1 per stick.
Similar to lucky bottles. Ideally, have all your prizes donated and have a couple of major prizes that will attract attention. Stick a raffle ticket on each prize and put the stubs in a lucky barrel. Add extra raffle tickets, select your ratio depending on the value and number of prizes you have and how many you are supplying for $1. The prizes are won as the corresponding tickets are pulled out of the barrel. For ease of selecting winners, use coloured tickets for winning prizes and white for non-winners.
Trash n Treasure
White elephant, pre-loved, trash and treasure – there is always a ready market for second hand goods. If you can provide a collection service for donations you will always get a great selection of items. You might need to offer delivery on larger items as well.
Fill buckets with sand and bury ping pong balls in the sand. Number each ball and have it correspond to a prize.