We went to a friend’s house recently where they had a magnet fishing game, and I was amazed at how much my two youngest boys loved playing with it, so I decided to create my own – but with a twist! I would make one so that they could not only improve their hand-eye coordination but so that they could learn about other important things too!! As my 4-year-old is preparing to go to school next year, I thought it might be a good idea to start introducing some concepts and ideas to help him prepare for this big educational leap! Nothing will prepare ME for him to go, so I might as well try to prepare SOMEONE!! 🙂 Personally, I think I will be hosting a “tears and tissues” morning tea at my house for me that first school morning!
My 4-year-old is such a busy, little soul, always doing something, never says he is bored, just always finds something else to do and asks for certain materials or toys to play with which is great! He doesn’t like to sit still for too long, is always on the go and wanting to move, so often doesn’t feel like making time to learn structured concepts such as sight words, numbers, letters, etc. so I tried to think of general concepts that might help him at school next year, things such as sight words, numbers, letters, shapes, colours, emotions, weather and days of the week and from just paper, the laptop, the printer and a laminator and made loads of cards and pictures that we could use for our fishing games. As he needs an introduction to these things before starting school, I thought that this game could teach him as he played, which worked!! He was completely unaware that he was actually learning so much at the same time as we chatted about everything as we went! It was such a gorgeous activity, as it was the catalyst for so many bright, interesting, educational and wonderful discussions and opportunities for learning!! We talked and talked for hours! He learnt and learnt for hours and had no idea that he was learning as he played! It was so much fun!
Such a simple thing to make, luckily I had already made or purchased lots of magnets that we could utilise quite easily and I just made some new, cute little number fish by printing them off, cutting around them, laminating them and cutting around them again. Then I simply attached some cute number paper clips that I had recently bought in a $2- shop that I loved. Then I just got a flat rectangle container, added some blue decorative stones and popped our fish in there.
Then I threaded some wool through the hole in our magnet wands and onto a piece of wooden doweling, then voila!! Magnet fishing game done!
Once he had “fished” in the pond until it was empty, he wanted to put the fish on our light table and match the number words to the actual numbers on the fish and also match the colours up.
After having this fish game for a while and mastering matching up the words and letters, we used some of our sight word magnets to “fish” with and as each one came out we said what the word was. Asking questions like, “Hmmm, which one should we catch next? What about the word under? Which one do you think “under” is? Let’s find it together then catch it!”
Then once we finished the sight words, we “fished” with our magnetic letters and numbers!!
Then our days of the week cards!
Then we fished for shapes!
Then we wanted to fish for emotions, what they look like and what the word looks like for that emotion, this is great for their emotional intelligence and being able to read other people’s emotional cues.
Then he matched them up perfectly!
We found even more magnets that had words and matching pictures we had to find and we fished and matched those too!
Then we fished for our weather symbols, “Hmmmmm…..what is the weather like today? Sunny again? Which one do you think is the sunny one? Let’s catch that one now! In Summer, the sun comes out a lot and is very hot isn’t it? In Winter is when it gets cooler and in some parts of the world it even snows!”
Next time we might even put the magnets in a tub of water and do real fishing outside on a nice sunny day too!
This was such a great activity to introduce my 4-year-old to loads of different concepts without it being too “heavy” or “structured” as he is still so young, he giggled as the magnet fishing wand wobbled around and really enjoyed just having time with me to chat about loads of different things. It was a beautiful bonding experience too, just sitting there chatting for so long (we don’t always have that much of an extended time together during the day in between siblings, school and kinder runs, chores, etc. but we had a rare, VERY quiet day where we could spend some real quality time together which I loved and he loved and we made the most of it!!! Of course you could just do one of these ideas, we just went a bit crazy and did loads of different ones as we had time that day to extend the activity further and make the most of it! We will definitely do this again – hope your kids like it too!!