DIY Magnetic Fishing Math Game for Preschoolers
We value active learning in this house. Camden is much more likely to really take to an activity and get the intended benefit out of it if he’s moving and using motor skills while doing. I mean, really, what three year old isn’t constantly moving? This DIY Magnetic Fishing Math Game is a great way for preschoolers to work on motor skills and simple math, and older kids can use it to work on addition as well.
How to Make a DIY Magnetic Fishing Math Game
To make this game, you’ll need a few simple supplies:
- cut out shapes (you can buy precut shapes or make your own)
- a wooden dowel
- round magnet
- hot glue
- large paper clips
On each of your cut out shapes, write a number. For preschoolers, make the number a 1, 2, or 3. For older kids, you can see in the photos that mine have multiples of ten (20, 30, 40, etc) written on them. Slide a large paper clip onto each shape.
Tie one end of the string to your wooden dowel (I recommend adding a dab of glue or hot glue to help it stay put). Hot glue a round magnet to the other end of your fishing rod.
That’s it – simple prep and ready in just a few minutes!
Using the DIY Magnetic Fishing Game for Preschoolers
How to play with just one child:
Let your child ‘go fishing.’ His or her goal is to catch as many fish as possible. The only catch is that, at the end, however many fish are caught, he has to be able to add up his points to keep them.
Ways to challenge a single player:
- Time her: Give her one minute to catch as many fish as possible. Then she adds up her scores, records it somewhere, and tries to beat it on the next round.
- Pick an exact score: Challenge him to catch fish that equal an exact score. For example, you could say: “Catch fish that add up to exactly 10.”
- Choose a color: Tell her to catch only the blue or red fish. Or only the fish worth 3 points.
How to play with 2 or more players:
(Note: if you have more than one child at home, you may want to make more than one fishing pole.)
Take turns catching fish until the pond is empty. Each child adds up their points and whoever has more wins!
Ways to challenge multiple players:
- Time them: Give them one minute each to catch as many fish as possible. Then have them add up their scores to see who scored higher.
- Pick an exact score: Challenge them to be the first to catch fish to equal an exact number, like 10.
- Choose a color: Give each child a specific color or number to catch and see who can catch all of their fish first.
Extending Your Learning
Pair this game with a real fishing trip. Use this game to teach fishing basics, and then pack the family up, grab the real fishing poles and take a trip to catch some real fish!
Add books. Books are always my favorite way to extend learning about something. A few of my favorite ‘fish themed’ books are:
- The Rainbow Fish
- The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
- Memoirs of a Goldfish
Writing. After playing the game, have them do a writing activity.
You could have them write a how-to and share the directions of the game. Then use their directions to play, so they’ll see if they missed any steps.
Also, you could have them write a story about a fish, or a time they went fishing, or anything fish themed.
Do a craft. This paper plate fish is decorated with tissue paper. Gluing tissue paper is a great motor skill for preschoolers to work on, and they end up with a fun decoration too! You could make a whole sea of ocean animals for your house or wall!
Sensory Bin. Sensory bins are HUGE at our house. We do them all the time, with all kinds of themes. This simple water sensory bin would be a great extension of the DIY Magnetic Fishing Math Game, especially if you found some plastic fish to toss in it!