Where there is a will there is a way

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to make a long-lasting magnetic fishing game with wooden fishing rod

When I was a child our church had these great family fairs where you could "fish" for prizes using a stick with string, tied to a magnet. The fishes had magnets on them too, and were numbered. When you got one, that determined your prize, often old passed down toys which were THE BEST if you are a child. Any material plush toy or object is fascinating and wonderful. When the Kohanga Reo Troy was involved with had a stall at a fair to raise money and needed to think of a few games, I right away knew I wanted to create this game. Then the coordinator bought cheap fishing rods at a $2 shops which only lasted literally 5 minutes, which is very wasteful for the environment. Here are some instructions for how to make long-lasting toy fishing rods that have magnets on the end for picking up toy fishes.


--a dowel rod from the hardware store (or broomstick from a broken broom)

--a piece of sandpaper

--a box of "eye screws" (these are neat, see step 3 for image)


--cord or string

--a set of chair tips from a hardware store plus round magnets that will fit inside

OR a horseshoe magnet (I found one closed off by a piece of metal across the two ends)

--plastic fishes from a $2 store


1. Saw the dowel rod or broomstick into pieces about a half metre long (50 cm).

2. Sand off any rough cut ends of the sticks with rough sandpaper so they won't give anyone a splinter.

3. Hand screw in an eye screw (photo left), which is basically a screw with a loop on the end of the stick, so you can tie a string to the stick. (Or if you have a drill you can drill a hole to pull string through.)

4. I used some black lovely cord from the hardware store that they cut for me from a bit reel, it was nylon (plastic based). After I cut a length a bit longer than the stick and tied it to the loop, I used a lit match to melt the end so it wouldn't fray.

5. If you want to use my original chair tip method, buy chair tips from a hardware store and round magnets that can fit snugly inside. Then cut a small hole in the bottom of the chair tip, and thread the cord through hole (see image below). Glue a round magnet into the cavity of the chair tip overtop the knot, which also seals the knot.

Warning: You can also use horse-shoe magnets sealed off at the end with a piece of metal because some children, if left too long to their own devices, will definitely attempt to pilfer the magnet out of the chair tip...

You can hand-screw in the eye screws into plastic fishes, and then the magnet on the end of the rod will pick them up-- glue gun around the base of the screw to seal water out OR we have found it's actually really fun to use laundry pegs (the kind with a metal spring) as fish! See how many you can get at once, have them take their catches over to the couch to make it more challenging-- more use of the imagination is better anyways.

Kids really love playing with the fishing rod.