Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday morning crafting with kids: homemade fishing game

Since my life has turned much more crafty (and I have a toddler to experiment with!), I make a point of doing some simple crafting on a Sunday morning, especially since this is the time I'm on duty with my little Miss, while daddy catches up on sleep. So silent games are the best at this time of the week.
This morning I didn't know what to come up with, though. Last week we did a giant butterfly collage, the week before we did a poster with all Christmas cards she received as a keepsake (you'll know if you are following me on Facebook...), but this week my tired mind really didn't have a clue... So, I picked up a book I bought in a charity shop ages ago called "365 things to make and do" by Vivienne Bolton. It's an old 1990s edition, but still a useful reference for parents when they run out of ideas to entertain their kids.
In this book, I came across a game I *LOVED* to do with my little brother when we were kids, the "fishing game". At that time we had a "sophisticated" version, it was a set of little fishes which had a magnet inside their mouth, in a rotating plastic pond; the scope of the game was to catch the fishes with little plastic rods with a piece of metal at the end of the rope. If you are about my age you'll know what I mean!
The one I saw in the book was the homemade version, using cardboard to make the fishes and paper clips to do the hooks. I happened to have some cheap Pound Shop materials that keep on turning very useful these days: magnetic paper and coloured foam sheets. These seemed perfect for what I had in mind.
So, if you want to do the same, this is what you need:

  • Crafting foam sheets (you can substitute with cardboard, but this way the fishes are a little more resistant)
  • Magnetic paper (you can use simple paper clips to do the hooks, but this way it's so much better!)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Sticky tape
  • Two pencils or pens or chopsticks or any safe sticks you have handy
  • Colours to decorate your fishes
  • All purpose glue (this is slightly more toxic than kids' paper glue, but more effective in this case, so I suggest an adult does the glueing, rather than a child)
All you need to do is to cut the foam in little fish shapes (I cut a couple of special pieces as well, a sea star and an octopus: if you are playing with points, these could be worth more); I didn't follow a template or drawn the fish on the foam first, I just quickly cut the shapes, but of course you could download some templates off the Internet and do a much more professional job. I was after "quick-fun-who cares lets be quick so we can play with it". The limitation with foam is that you can't really decorate the fish (although my little Miss has drawn eyes on all of them; older kids could also do the cutting, glueing and assembling), but if you decide to use cardboard you can let your creativity go wild!
Once the fishes are all cut and decorated (I made an odd number of fishes so that there will be always one winner) you can cut little pieces of magnetic paper and glue them on the fishes, with the non-magnetic side to be glued on the fishes.
Now, the last part: making the fishing rods. Just cut two pieces of string of the same length, then tie each one to the end of each of your sticks (or pencils). At the other end of the string, glue or fix with sticky tape a piece of magnetic paper, slightly larger than the pieces you used for the fishes (the string should be stuck on the non-magnetic side of the paper).
That's it! Now put your fishes in a plate or tray and start playing by catching with the magnets at the end of the fishing rods as many fishes as you can in a minute. At the end of the minute, wins the player who caught most fishes. If you want to add another educational element (apart from the eye / hand coordination needed to play this simple game), number the fishes or write a letter on each and for example pick the fishes in numerical order or so that you form meaningful words.
Happy playing and happy Sunday! X


  1. I have some magnetic paper and have been wondering what to do with it! This is perfect! Thank you!

    1. Marie-Anne, it's a nice and quick project! If you are wondering what to do with the magnetic paper, also check out my post on the DIY fridge magnets:
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I made a fishing set last year and it was soooooo time consuming! I love this! It's so easy and sweet! And perfect for table use! Mine was so big and had to be done on the floor ... I am so going to see what I can do using your idea! Excellent work!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words!...I often choose "simple and quick" as my two year old gets bored after two minutes - obviously! but I'm sure yours is awesome and much more professionally looking :)