Kids will love making their very own fishing math game using magnets and foam fish. The post also includes a free printable for addition practice and a free printable for one-to-one correspondence practice to go along with the game!
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In our most recent after-school enrichment class, we created our very own fishing math game! The kids loved decorating their fishing poles and making their own numbered fish using foam.
After making your own fishing math game, be sure to print out the two free printables that accompany the game. One is a one-to-one correspondence coloring activity (perfect for preschoolers), and the other is a recording sheet that can be used to practice addition.
(Also be sure to check out our outdoor version of this fishing math game using water!)
Fishing Math Game for Preschool, Kindergartener, and First Grader
Materials for Fishing Math Game
- 12-inch dowel rod
- Small eye hook
- Strong craft magnet
- Hot glue gun (or strong liquid glue like Tacky Glue)
- Foam sheets
- Free Printables (See below)
One-to-One Correspondence Printable
Important: Not only are small magnets choking hazards, but magnet ingestions pose a serious threat to the health of children. NEVER leave any child unattended with magnets. Never allow any child under 3 to use magnets.
How to Make the Fishing Math Game
Make the Fish
1. Draw 10 fish shapes onto your foam sheets and cut them out. (You can print out our free fish template to use for tracing.)
2. Use a black Sharpie to number your fish 1-10.
3. Slip a paper clip on the top of each fish.
Make the Fishing Pole
1. Screw an eye hook into one end of your wooden dowel. (Our dowels were 1/4 in. x 12 in.)
2. Tie a string onto the eye hook.
3. Use a hot glue gun to glue a strong magnet to the bottom of your string. (I originally bought regular magnets at my local craft store, but they weren’t strong enough. I went back and bought some labeled ‘super strong’ and those worked perfectly!)
4. Use colored Sharpies or colored pencils to decorate your fishing pole.
Playing the Fishing Math Game for Kids
1. Spread the fish out on a flat surface with the numbers facing down.
2. Use your fishing pole to catch a fish!
Different Ways to Play the Math Game
In addition to using the fishing game for imaginative play, you can also use it to practice various math skills depending on what math skills your child is working on.
Some Ideas for Preschoolers:
- Number Recognition: Once you catch a fish, practice saying the number.
- Number Sequencing: As you catch each fish, place them in numerical order.
- One-to-One Correspondence: Print out the free ocean scene printable. As you catch a numbered fish, color in the number of bubbles that corresponds to the number on your fish. (You can modify this by making a large number of fish numbered only 1-3. You can also make the game competitive by seeing who colors in their sheet first or simply keep the game as an independent activity.)
Some Ideas for Kindergarteners and First Graders:
- Comparing Numbers: Go fishing with your friend at the same time. Whoever catches the fish with the greater number gets a point. Continue until all fish are caught. The player with the most points wins.
- Addition: Catch two fish. Use the free fish recording sheet to write the numbers of the fish you caught. Add the numbers together, and write the answer in the box next to the number sentence.