Gone Fishin’


Magnets are always fun.

This is one of those projects that the children can participate in making and then playing. It is also sneakily educational.

I began by cutting fish shapes out of white construction paper.*

Then I had my 3yr old daughter punch a hole on the head of each fish.

punching holes for the paperclips

I attached a paperclip through each hole.

My 9 yr old son numbered the fish 1 through 10. Then my 6 and 7 yr old sons colored the appropriate number of dots on each fish.**

For the fishing poles I found some scrap trim wood aroung the house. If you are not living in a construction zone you can use any kind of sturdy stick… a long wooden spoon, a branch from outside, anything 12-18 inches long and sturdy.

We have magnets will holes in them which made tying them to yarn very easy. Then I taped the other side of the yarn to the stick using painters tape. Think about the things you have around the house. Don’t have those kind of magents? What do you have on your refrigerator that you can use? punch a hole in one of those magnetic business cards and tie one of them on.


My 2 yr old enjoyed just “catching” as many fish as he could. This is a great way to help with the developmennt of eye hand co-ordination.

For my 3yr old I called out numbers and she tried to catch the right number.


My other children, ages 6, 7 and 9 I gave a math fact and they had to “catch” the answer.


My almost 11 and 12 yr olds were not interested in participating. Perhaps if I allowed them to whip each other with the fishing poles and tackle each other while trying to “catch” the numbers they would be interested. But I wouldn’t let them. I know, I am mean like that.


They played with this for almost two hours. As I type this they have gathered a bunch of objects and are trying to determine what is and isn’t magnetic. I did give them a stern warning about keeping the magnetic fishing poles away from televisions and computers. Don’t want to go there again.

*I am going to redo the fish using different color craft foam. It would be more durable and have the added benefit of being able to help my youngest learn his colors.

** I will also do the dots myself the next time as they were more interested in making the dots form shapes than having them be able to be easily counted by my 3 yr old.

8 Responses to “Gone Fishin’”

  1. Gwen Says:

    What a great idea! I like that they got to help create the game and then play it.
    …I’m off to the craft store for my own foam…

  2. jody Says:

    My littles would love this. I think I actually have most of the stuff to do it with!

    On a totally unrelated note, where did you get the great carpet? (and the floors look fantastic!)

  3. Mary W Says:

    Chris - check out this link! It’s about kite making. we’re doing this for my middle son’s eighth birthday party in early march.

    I am thinkong this will be a lot easier than the pirate party - complete with pirate ship cake that made me drink like - well a pirate and curse like a sailor.

  4. Mary W Says:

    Oh duh - I forgot the link http://www.aloha.net/~bigwind/20kidskites.html

    Sorry - I am so blonde today

  5. Marie Says:

    I have played this game hundreds of times (don’t ask..) My version is to laminate the fish to make them durable, all different colors and sizes if you want. Next you can add ANYTHING to the fish. Numbers, letters, different vocabulary themes or riddles. You can have a double set to add in a memory component to it. They will stay on with the help of your paper clip. This will make your game last and last for as long as you can take it…

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    Great idea! I have done something a little different as a party game, too, by hiding behind a half wall or hanging sheet with party favors, and each kid “fishes” for their treat, and I just attach the party favor onto the line. Not as educational, of course.

    I also think the floor looks fantastic. From these pictures, you can’t tell you have anything other than a lovely, finished home.

  7. Deb Says:

    This is a great game; we did it recently with our Beaver Scout group. It’s so simple, yet so much fun :-)

  8. bob Says: