Promoting imaginative play as well as developing hand-eye coordination is an important element of early childhood development.
There are many permutations of the “gone fishin’ game”. My version uses felt animals with hidden magnets.
I started out with generic fish shapes but as my children were fishing, they began asking for different creatures. As you can see nothing is to an appropriate scale but they enjoy all the animals nonetheless.
I also did not take the time to secure the magnets inside each felt shape, rather they float between the two pieces of felt which turned out to increase the fun of the game as the children cannot always predict in the larger animals where the magnet will be. Make sure to read through the MORE section for ways to multiply the use of these felt animals.
- Freehand draw fish and ocean animals onto paper or print out template (see below)
- Cut out the shapes
- Using the paper shapes as a guide, trace the outlines onto the felt
- Cut out shapes
- 2 identical pieces per animal
- Place a small magnet in between the two pieces of felt and sew around edges or glue pieces together
- Size the bamboo stick and length of string for the child
- Tie one end of the string to the magnetic pushpin and the other end to the stick
- Toss creatures onto the floor and get fishing
- My children like to use one of our sofas for a “boat” and fish over the back of it
- Substitute the bamboo sticks for smooth sticks gathered from your back yard
- If making the game for table-top use, wooden chopsticks are an appropriate size with a shortened string and scaled-down animal shapes
- Supplement the game with buckets which can be found at stores like Target, Walmart or Home Depot
- Your child can count her catch, identify the types, colors and other distinguishing features of the creatures
- Your child can cook the fish in her play kitchen or play fishmonger and sell her catch
- Ask your child to pair the sea creature with the corresponding animal in an ocean animal book
- Place one or more fish/sea creatures on a large piece of paper and encourage your child to draw an aquarium around the fish with plants, bubbles, maybe a castle or coral, or anything her imagination can dream up
- This game is a perfect form of entertainment to have out during playdates and birthday parties
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