gone fishin' {kids' art tutorial}

It's summer, and time for another art workshop at our local library. I enjoy giving my time and art teaching skills to the library, and I love seeing what the kids come up with.
Since the theme this summer at the library is water, I decided to do a fishing game activity with the kids. You know, the kind you might see at a carnival where kids get a fishing pole with a magnet and try to catch plastic fish in a pond. I know I loved doing that at our local amusement park when I was little, so I figured other kids would like it. And they did!
It didn't require much in way of art supplies, actually, more of a trip to the hardware store. I picked up some dowel rods for the poles
and screw eyes, magnetic tape, and electrical tape.
a drill (optional) to help you get a hole started in the dowel. Mr. Geek kindly drilled out all the holes for me, and cut the 48" dowels into 16" pieces on the chop saw. The drilled hole also helps prevent the dowel from splitting. Such a good man I married! He'll do what it takes to help the kids out.
Naturally, Oscar our cat is always right in the thick of any activity we're doing.

Then I screwed the eyes into the end of each dowel. It was easier to twist them with pliers, since my hand was getting tired doing around 30 of them.
There you have it! Fishin' rod.
Since the ends are often a bit rough, I wanted to make a "handle" on the ends. I took some colored electrical tape we had around the house.
And wrapped it around the end opposite the hook.
Quite easy, and it makes a comfortable grip for the kiddos. They will attach yarn and a metal washer onto the pole themselves.
At the hardware store, I also picked up some adhesive magnetic tape. This will be stuck to the fish so that the metal washer can pick them up.
To prepare for the class, I cut the tape into roughly 1" pieces.
It's easy for the kids to just peel off the backing and stick it onto their sea creatures after they make them.

On to the fish....
I had a couple of different options for them. They could color and cut out ones that I printed online (search for "fish coloring pages") and photocopied onto heavier cardstock
or trace a cardboard fish that I cut out as a template
Or just draw and cut out their own. It helps to offer a few versions, depending on the age and skill level of the child. I of course prefer when kids draw their own, but it can be intimidating for the younger kids to come up with their own design. We did make sure there were plenty of books on sea life so they had references to look at.

Once the fish has been colored, cut out, decorated (they loved the glitter at the library), just attach the piece of magnet close to the mouth of the fish.
Add sequins, googly eyes, or whatever strikes your child's fancy and fits into your budget. Try not to make the fish too heavy or the magnet won't work well.
I love the blowfish that this sweet little girl made.
Then scatter your fish on the floor and try to catch 'em!
Here's a recap of the materials you'll need:
  • Dowel rod (16-18")
  • string/yarn
  • screw eye hook
  • electrical tape
  • metal washer or nut
  • construction paper, cardstock, or print-outs of fish from online
  • scissors
  • glue
  • markers/crayons
  • magnetic tape
  • glitter or other decorative items like sequins or pom poms
Enjoy and have fun with your little ones!


Braley Mama said...

Great job mama! You are so very creative, I want to make one:O)

Condo Blues said...

This would be a great project for a fund raiser at a school carnival.

TheEclecticElement said...

I love it!!!
Those were the best games when you would get to go to a carnival :)
I'm sure all the kids at the library will love it :D

Muthering Heights said...

I adore this tutorial!!! This would be such a great activity for my whole family to do together...I'm passing this on to my husband, so we can plan to do it on a day he has off!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I totally love this. The grip on the pole is brilliant. JDaniel would do this for hours.

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