Kid's Fishing Game




Introduction: Kid's Fishing Game

This is a fun fishing game for kids that can also be used as an excellent educational and/or fundraising tool. It can also be used just for FUN.

I homeschooled my children and I was always trying to come up with fun educational things for them to do. This fishing game can be used with kids from preschool to high school.The youngest children can learn basic colors and shapes, then move up to learning the alphabet, reading and on and on. This may not help when it is time for their doctoral dissertation, then again, maybe it will. ;-))

The game is simple to make and this instructable will guide you through some of the educational objectives.

This instructable  respectfully submitted to the Instructables Sponsorship Program by Eukaliptos.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


1” dowel or broomstick

3”X 3” 1” piece of wood

¾” X ¾” X 3” scrap of wood

2small screw eyes

2 ½ “bolt with nut and washer

10-12’ of string

1 small rare earth magnet

1 small washer

Paper clips

Several colors of fun foam


White glue

CA glue

tape electrical and duct 


Lathe (or drill)



Needle nose pliers

Sander (or sand paper)


Step 2: Turn a Reel

Let’s start by making the reel. I made this one with a lathe. Mark and cut out a 3” round piece of wood.

Mount the wood between centers on the lathe. Round it with a roughing gouge. Then use a spindle gouge to cut the groove into the edge of the reel and round over the edges (see photo). Also use the spindle gouge to make an indentation in the face of the reel (the tail stock side). I kept mine very simple, but, you can get as fancy as you would like with this. Sand lightly on the lathe if needed.

Remove from lathe and drill a center hole a hair larger than the width of your bolt,

Now, mount the small scrap of wood in a chuckon the lathe. Round the wood. Cut a tenon on the chuck side of the knob, I used a modified pigsticker to make the cut, but a spindle gouge or even a scraper will do the job just as well. A tenon 3/8”wide and ½” long will be fine. You can use an open end wrench to check the size. But, the size is not critical do what you want. After the tenon is cut shape your knob with a gouge. Touch it up with a piece of sandpaper.

Step 3: No Lathe, No Problem

Don’t fret if you don’t have a lathe, there are ways to get around that. There are a couple of instructables up about using a drill press as a lathe. If you have a drill press you can try this method.

No drill press, okay, do you have a hand drill? You will need to drill a hole in the center of your reel piece. Drill a hole put a bolt with a washer on it through the hole now add another washer and a nut, tighten down the nut and add a second nut and tighten it down. Now mount the bolt nut side into your drill and tighten it down You can use a piece of coarse sandpaper as in the photo to shape the reel. Or, ir you have a dremel tool in addition to your drill you can use either shaper bits or sanding wheels while the piece rotates on the drill.

For the knob, drill a hole a ½” deep, in a small piece of wood for a 3/8” wood dowel about1 ½ - 2” long coat the hole with glue and push the dowel in. After the glue dries you can mount this in your drill the same way or just shape it freehand with the dremel. Cut off excess dowel after you shape the knob retain about ½” of dowel as a tenon on your knob. Or you can use a small store bought knob.

Step 4: Make the Fishing Reel

Now drill a hole towards the outer edge of the face of the reel. The hole should be just a hair larger than your tenon. Coat the inside of the hole with wood glue (or white glue) and press the knob in, tap it down with a mallet if necessary. Stand back and admire your work.

Step 5: Fishing Rod Loop

This is a very easy step. Simply straighten out most of you paperclip, not the inside loop. Use the needlenose pliers and bend the paperclip starting at the loop into a circle continue bending excess into the circle as in photo. It will probably take less time than it took to read this step.

Step 6: Make the Fishing Rod

If you are using an old broomstick smooth over any rough spots with sand paper. I cut of the threads on the broomstick.

Round over the edges on the ends of your dowel with a sander or sandpaper.

Paint the dowel.

After the paint dries, drill a hole through the dowel about ten inches from the end. The hole should be a snug fit for the bolt through the reel. The ten inch space will be for the handle.

Drill a hole for the fishing rod loop about 4” from the hole for the reel.

Poke a hole into the dowel to state an eye screw mid way up the dowel. Screw the eye screw in. Then poke a hole into the dowel to state an eye screw at the end of the dowel. Screw the eye screw in.

Step 7: Put the Rod and Reel Together

Drill a small hole in the center of the edge of the reel. Drip some CA glue into the hole and push the string in. Use the end of a paper clip to push more the string in until it is jammed full. Then put more glue over the top of the hole and the string.

While the glue dries, put a couple of drops of CA glue on the magnet. Then place the small washer on the magnet as in the photo.

After the glue dries tie a loop of string around the reel. Then wrap a small piece of duct tape around the magnet and washer.

Now, bolt the reel onto the fishing rod.

Thread the string through the rod loop and the eye screws.

After the string is threaded through the rod, tie the end through the hole in the washer attached to the magnet.

Next , wrap tape around the handle of the rod. Then use a narrow piece of duct tape to finish off the edge as in the photo.

Step 8: I See Seafood

There are many different ways to make the fish. I have two maybe styles here.

The first fish type is a fold over style, with a pocket inside.

I used an 18” long piece of foam folded in half for this fish. Draw the fish pattern on the foam with the mouth on the fold.

Cut out the fish.

Place a couple of small strips of duct tape sticky side up, overlap the two pieces a bit. Tear another much smaller piece of tape off the roll and place it sticky side down on the other tape as in the photo. Now flip it over and stick it down to the inside of the fish (see photo).

Now, let’s finish the outside of the fish. I used scraps from other fish to make some squiggly stripes for my fish. I moved them around until I was happy with the fish. Then I used white glue to attach the stripes.

I cut out a couple of rounds of white foam and used a marker to make the eyes, Glue one eye in place.

Put a paperclip on the fish where the mouth will be. Then use a marker to add some detail to the mouth.

Flip the fish over and finish the other side.

This fish can be used for fundraisers, school carnivals, etc…You can also use this for older kids in a school setting, as a fun way to give out essay assignments, or random science projects. Your choice.

You can make these fish from a single layer of foam to use just for fun.

Step 9: Other Options

I made some smaller fish with a single layer of foam with none of the glued on decorations. I used a marker to draw on eyes and I added the paperclip and drew on the mouth. Then I used a marker to write letters and/or numbers on the fish.

You can also do the smaller fish and draw the eyes and mouth and then glue pieces cut out of a contrasting color in basic shapes, square, triangle, etc…

The fish can be made with different colors to teach preschoolers colors.

For the alphabet fish, you can make a set of upper case and a set of lower case letter fish and let the children match them up.

The alphabet fish can also be done in all one color,

Then placed letter side down and players catch six or seven fish and then make words as in boggle.

Words can be placed on the fish and then the fish are caught and players write stories as in rory’s cubes.

Fish with numbers can be used for random math problems. There are many ways to make this a great educational tool.

Have fun!

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    5 years ago

    cute and clever