Sam is the mother of two young boys, Juju and Blaze. Her family enjoys going on trips, crafting, learning, and exploring.
How to Make a DIY Magnet Fishing Game
Kids will have a blast making and playing this fishing game. This idea was inspired by an episode of Little Bill. It seemed way too fun and easy when I saw it, so I had to try it out!
What You'll Need:
- A fishbowl (a deep, clear container or box decorated with an underwater theme)
- Colored paper or card stock paper
- Sticks or dowels
- Flat or small magnets
- Paper clips
- Decorating supplies (markers, crayons, glitter)
- Flat marbles for fishbowl decoration (optional)
How to Build the Game
Make the Fishing Rods
- Cut out a hook shape using sturdy paper or a flat magnet. If you make a paper hook, glue a small magnet at the bottom so it can "catch" fish.
- Pull the string taut to see how long it needs to be for the rod. It should be long enough to reach the bottom of the tank, but not so long that there's a lot of slack when fishing. Add two inches to the measurement to allow you to attach it to the rod and hook.
- Attach one end of the string to the top of the hook with tape or glue. If you want it to be more secure, you can cut a small hole into the top of the hook and thread the string through multiple times before knotting it.
- Tie the other end of the string to the dowel and secure it with tape or glue.
Make the Fish & Underwater Creatures
- Download and print the template below.
- Cut out and decorate the blank underwater creatures with markers, glitter, etc.
- Attach paper clips to their heads or tails. Make sure they are secured with tape or glue.
Make the Fish Tank
Use any big, wide container. Decorate in an underwater theme. You can add marbles, fishbowl décor, and paper cutouts of barnacles and seaweed to create a fun environment.
How to Play the Fishing Game
Now that everything is ready to go, it's time to play!
- Place the paper fish in the tank. Make sure to space them out so the kids can't catch more than one at a time.
- Pass out the fishing rods to each player.
- Let the kids maneuver their rods to catch as many fish as possible.
If you want to stop it here, the game will be plenty of fun for toddlers. If your kids are older or more easily bored, make things more interesting by changing up a few aspects of the game with a few ideas below.
Six Game Variations
Here are six activities and games you can play to mix things up and have a good time.
1. Points Race
Instead of using a clear container to play the game, use a regular box so you can't see where the fish are laying. Assign a certain number of points to the different types of fish. You can see an example of point distributions below.
- Red fish - 5 points
- Blue fish - 10 points
- Octopus - 20 points
- Mermaid - 50 points
Whoever gets the most points after catching 10 fish wins the game.
2. Truth or Dare
Attach a truth or a dare to each fish. For dares, you can write fun challenges such as "do a funny dance" or "sing the alphabet backwards." For truths, you can put in questions such as "What is the funniest thing that happened to you today?" or "If you could be the parent for the day, what would you like to do this weekend?" Questions like these can be great conversation starters, and you might learn things about them you never would have guessed.
You can combine this variation with the points game. For example, "For 100 points hop on one foot ten times while touching your nose and patting your head." Something silly like that can help keep things entertaining.
3. Fish for Buried Treasure
Hide little treasure boxes on the fish for surprise treats. For kids, you can have prizes such as "good for one cookie" or "30 minutes of extra play time at the park." Don't worry, you can hide a few in there for yourself! Try adding "help mom/dad with the dishes tonight" and enjoy watching their surprise at receiving an unexpected chore. It's up to you to decide whether to hold them to it or add a treat for them instead.
4. A School of Fish
Help your kids reinforce what they learn in school with this variation. Write letters and numbers on the fish and go over each catch your little ones get. If you want to reuse the fish for another game, use post-its to add numbers and letters to the fish instead.
5. Fishing for Stories
Write words on the fish and have your kids catch five of them. Once you lay them out, work together to make up a silly story using those words. You can do it mad libs style by matching the different fish colors with different types of words.
- Red fish are nouns.
- Blue fish are verbs.
- Mermaids are adjectives.
6. One Fish, Two Fish
Practice math equations by writing numbers on one color (ex. green) and symbols on another (ex. yellow). Have your kids practice math by catching two green fish and a yellow fish.
These are just a few ideas you can try, and I'm sure you can come up with other creative ways to use the templates and pieces. Happy fishing!
Adriana matteo on May 30, 2017:
printing opition would be extremely helpful
daisyjae from Canada on September 11, 2012:
That would be awesome, thank you.
Samantha Harris (author) from New York on September 10, 2012:
I'll be sure to update this with more soon! Glad they'll be useful :)
daisyjae from Canada on September 10, 2012:
This will be very helpful to my home daycare. Thanks for sharing this, I will definitely come back to this.