Wednesday, 6 May 2015

How to teach … Summer Fairs

With the summer term on its way, it’s time to start thinking about face paint and hooplas. Here’s how to plan and organise the perfect school fair
Child blowing bubbles
 From face painting and bunting, to safety advice and fundraising suggestions – our resources to make your summer fair shine. Photograph: Alamy
The traditional summer fair has become an important date in the school calendar – not only as a social event for the local community, but also as a major fundraising opportunity.
You don’t need iPads or foreign holidays in your raffle to make the event a success. But there’s no escaping the need for careful planning and an army of parent, teacher and student volunteers.
Choosing the right date and planning an exciting programme of events is key. Consider the timing of other school activities, such as exams or sports days, and events in the wider community, such as carnivals or football matches.
Once everything is in place behind the scenes, you can think about what you’d like the fair to look like. It helps to pick a theme and plan stalls and activities around this. You could have a barbecue and tin-can alley in the wild west, for example, or a coconut shy and treasure hunt at pirate island. A great way to do this is to ask students for their ideas and have a whole-school vote to select a winner. You’ll find more themes and fundraising ideas in this leaflet by the SPTC.Equally important is making sure that your summer fair is safe and legal, especially when it comes to things like bouncy castles and pony rides. PTA UK, a charitable body that supports parent-teacher associations, has put together astep-by-step guide to help you plan the perfect summer fair. It includes tips on getting people involved, obtaining the correct licences, handling money and checking your insurance. You’ll find more ideas in these leaflets from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC), a charity that provides information and support to parents and carers who want to be involved in their child’s education, that cover fundraisingplanning andhealth and safety.
Student involvement is important to the success of any fair. Get them excited in the lead up by holding a poster competition to help promote the event, with a winning entry chosen from each year group. Send these out to local libraries and shops, and turn them into fliers for students to take home. Also, find out what stalls pupils would like to organise and help run. Face painting and hair braiding are often popular activities. Students can also help to grow and sell plants –marigolds and nasturtiums work best as they are relatively fast-growing.
And as you head towards the big day, ask students to make their own summer fair-themed puzzles, like thisword search by PrimaryLeap. We also have a set of worksheets for early learners about the fair that feature writing, matching and drawing activities.
A good programme of events will ensure that people spend more time – and more money – at your fair so it’s worth putting the time into planning it well. Consider asking local groups, such as gymnastic clubs or martial arts instructors, to put on a display. And there might be a local band or dance group that would be willing to perform for free. You can find more ideas in this SPTC leaflet.
Raffles and competitions are another good way of engaging your crowd. Why not try “Bean Champion”, a contest to find out who can eat the most beans with a cocktail stick in 30 seconds? Players pay 50p to take part, with a portion of the takings or a prize going to the champion. Or there’s the more ambitious “Guess the square” game, which requires an area of grass and a borrowed cow, horse or donkey (you can always try contacting local farms). Mark out squares of grass and sell them for £1. The winning square is the one where the animal poos first – disgusting, but kids love it.
When it comes to the finishing decorating touches, we have banners for thetombolarafflelucky diphooplabarbecue and beat the goalie, along withsummer fair bunting with lettering – all created by Twinkl.
And for students’ work that will be on show during the fair, check out this page border from SeeMe Resources. On the day, assign some students as reporters and photographers to gather vox-pops and information for a summer fair newsletter. You can publish and send these out to parents and helpers to celebrate the success of your event and encourage support for next year.


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