I purchased one thinking it would make a fun fish-to-learn game, and so far it's been a big hit with everyone.
Here's how I set it up...
What You Need:
-magnet (You can use any kind; I just thought the colored horseshoe was fun.)
-skinny dowel rod
-metal paper clips
-fish pictures cut out and laminated (*These are optional.)
What You Do:
-Make your fishing pole by tying one end of the string to the magnet and the other end to the dowel rod.
-On each index card write any fact or concept that you want your child to practice or review. (ex. math facts, states/capitals, numbers/number words, sightwords, colors, shapes, history facts, science facts, formulas - The possibilities are endless!)
-Attach one paper clip to each index card.
-Kids will love the game just using the index cards, but if you want to jazz things up a bit, you can clip a laminated fish picture to each card. (See picture below.)
How To Play:
-Spread the fish/index cards on the floor. You can place them with the question up or down - it's up to you.
-Have child use the fishing pole magnet to lift a card up off of the floor, then read and answer it.
-If they're going to be playing the game independently, then you need to make your questions self-checking in some way.
Example: For Sweet Pea I made a set of colors and color words. Each card had a different color splotch I had quickly scribbled on with magic marker. I attached the paper clips to these and spread them on the floor. Then I had a set of self-checking cards spread out on the kitchen table, each one printed with a color word in its appropriate color. (The word green was printed in the color green. etc.) Sweet Pea "fished" for a color splotch card, then matched it up to it's correct color word. She used the paper clip to clip each pair together. When she was done, I came in and checked her matches.
-Obviously if you're right there with your child, they can just tell you the answer to their "fish" question or fact. (And of course, they always enjoy it when we Moms participate, but it does make a nice independent activity too.)
-Also, several children can play this together - especially if you're doing it with them to verify the answers, listen to them read sightwords, etc.
In this photo, Sweet Pea is just fishing for fun, which kept her busy for quite awhile. The next time I pulled out the game for her, she did the color word cards mentioned above. (I did not attach them to the colored fish because this would have been confusing for her.) I think having the chance to "explore" the fish game first made it easier when I pulled it out the next time for her to concentrate on matching up the colors.
I can't emphasize how much my kids love snagging up these index cards with the magnetic fishing pole! I've had Superman fly through a set of math facts this way, when it would have taken him twice as long to answer them on a worksheet. If I want him to do math facts independently for me to check later, I just provide another set of cards, each one with an answer on it. He clips the fact to the correct answer and leaves them in a stack for me. Not nearly as painful as a worksheet! :)
Also, I've found that I can write up a set of index cards in just a few minutes the night before while watching a movie with my hubby, so it requires very little time out of my day to prep. the game. :)
Like I said earlier, you can use any kind of magnet, but if you're interested in the horseshoe-shaped magnets, I found them on Amazon. They're $16.00 for a set of six, but maybe you could find a couple of people to go in with you and purchase them together. Just an idea. :)
Let me know if you end up trying this. I'm interested to know if other kids love it as much as mine!