Step-by-step: beetle drive

A beetle drive is an old-school fundraising event that involves shouting out, making it a lively and sociable activity for the whole family to enjoy!

‘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. For a winter event, simply switch the beetle for a snowman. Download a snowman template and score sheet below.


  1. One to two months before: 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.
  2. Two to three weeks before: 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.
  3. One week before: 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?
  4. On the day: 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!’ (or ‘SNOWMAN!’ if you choose to do a winter alternative) 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.

Download a print-friendly PDF version of our step-by-step guide to running a beetle drive

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. Find out how to sell tickets online here.
  • Licensing: If you plan to serve alcohol at an event held on unlicensed premises (ie 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 licensing.
  • 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 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 (or arms if using the snowman),
  • Throw a three to draw each leg (or the snowman’s hat),
  • Throw a two to draw an antennae (for the snowman’s face you must throw a two, four times),
  • Throw a one to draw an eye (for the snowman’s buttons throw a one, three times).

The first player from all the tables to draw a complete image shouts ‘BEETLE!’ or ‘SNOWMAN!’ 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, eg 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, eg 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 or snowmen look like! Go through the rules clearly before you start and ask if anyone has questions.

Beetle drive success story

‘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.’

Gail Bradshaw, PTA chair, Academy Primary School, County Down (418 pupils)


See also