This magnetic fishing game is a cool science activity for kids that can be done outside in buckets or wading pools, inside in sinks and bathtubs, or with magnetic fishing kits. Try magnet fishing today!
Fishing with a magnet is a fun magnetic fishing game and science activity for children.
This article is about how to make a fishing game with a magnet and the magnetic testing experiment that my daughter designed for herself as she learned through play.
Magnet fishing is also about finding metal objects, or hidden treasures, in bodies of water, like metal detecting, with really strong magnets and a long rope.
If you want to explore the later type of magnet fishing, learn more from go magnet fishing HERE.
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Magnetic Fishing Game: Cool Science for Kids
Fishing with a magnet is an activity I can remember loving to do in buckets and bathtubs with my brothers as a child.
We would spend hours both trying to catch things and test what was magnetic and what was not magnetic. Imagine my surprise when my daughter started doing the same thing on her own!
This was the first time I tried this magnet fishing game with my then 2 1/2-year-old daughter. At first, she was completely amused with magnetic fishing for washers, nuts, and bolts.
And then she did the same things my brothers and I did as kids. She started running around our yard asking if she could throw all sorts of other things into the bucket.
She wanted to experiment and test for magnetism just like my brothers and I did as children. Of course, I followed her lead, and, joined in on the fun.
We began throwing everything we could find outside, or, I could think of to grab from the house to test for magnetism, into her bucket.
We had such a great time magnet fishing, testing what was and wasn’t magnetic, that I felt like a kid again. Science doesn’t get much more fun than this!
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Magnet Fishing Supplies
- Stick, pole, or magnetic fishing set
- Monofilament fishing line or string (if not using a pre-made magnetic fishing set.)
- Neodymium donut magnets or ceramic donut magnets (if not using a pre-made magnetic fishing set.)
- A bucket, wading pool, bathtub, sink, water table, or any other thing you can use with or without water. Wooden magnetic fishing sets are made to use without water and most often come with their own fishing pond or tray.
- Magnetic and non-magnetic items to allow children to test magnetism including pre-made magnetic fish if desired. Washers, bolts, and nuts are also great to start with. Have a collection of things that your child can test nearby.
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Wooden Magnetic Fishing Sets
There are a lot of pre-made fishing set you can use if you’re not into making your own magnetic fishing pole. Some are made to work both in and out of the water, while others, like the wooden fishing sets listed below, are made to use without water.
Magnetic fishing sets that can be used in water both outdoors, and in the bathtub, can be found in the next section.
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Outdoor, Beach & Bathtub Magnetic Fishing Sets
The magnetic fishing sets listed below are made to be used in water.
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How to Fish with a Magnet
If you will be using a magnetic fishing set, make sure you have items nearby for children to test magnetism.
Step 1 – Purchase or make a magnetic fishing rod
Step 2 – Fill a bucket or bathtub with water or leave empty (skip this step if you are using wooden fish)
We used a green plastic kids storage footstool with a lid that grandpa found at Ikea long ago.
Step 3 – Place magnetic items in a bucket, bathtub or Magnetic Fishing Set Pond
Place washers, nuts, bolts, magnetic fish (or anything else magnetic) in the water. Start with magnetic items first. The idea is to allow children to experience success and discover the magic of magnetism on their own. Shh… let them play to learn!!
Science Learning Tips
Test items that are not magnetic later in the game, but do your best to allow your children to come up with this idea on their own. Give them time to wonder, question and test… Children learn best when they are allowed to make their own discoveries.
A good old fashioned homemade magnetic fishing pole and magnetic household items tend to lend themselves more to experimenting than magnetic fishing toys do, but use what you like!
After a few successful attempts with magnetic items that I had placed in the bucket, my daughter soon ran off to test everything she could find in our backyard just like my brothers and I did as children.
I did not ask her to do it, she got curious enough to test other items on her own. That’s learning in action! Of course, this gave me permission to do the same so I quickly ran into the house to find more items for her to test.
In other words, once your children begin to test other items for magnetism, feel free to help them find magnetic and non-magnetic items to test. Who knew learning through play could be so much fun!
Step 4 – Invite children to give magnet fishing a try.
Follow your child wherever they go in their learning, and most importantly… Have fun! Remember children learn best when they are given the opportunity to discover and explore on their own.
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Magnet Fishing Science: Our Magnetic Testing Experiment
We used a good old fashioned homemade magnetic fishing pole, with a neodymium magnet, and went fishing with a magnet.
They can easily pick up things my brothers and I were never able to pick up even with several magnets. Neodymium magnets make magnetic fishing a lot easier than I remember it!
Reliving my childhood, I started my daughter with three magnets tied to her stick. I quickly learned that neodymium magnets were way too strong to be used more than one at a time. They are so strong it’s hard to pull magnetic objects off of them!
It’s no wonder magnet fishing with a long rope and a big strong neodymium magnet have become the next treasure hunting rage!
I re-tied her magnetic fishing rod with only one magnet and look at all the fun we had! My brothers are gonna be so jealous!
Got it! Look how strong these magnets are!
That was all it took to arouse her curiosity and send her into action.
She quickly ran off and found the dogs Kong to throw in the bucket.
Nope, can’t catch that with magnets.
Next, she threw in some sticks. Nope, those didn’t work either.
How about money? Nope.
How about silverware?
Yeah… Love these neodymium magnets. They are crazy strong!
How about my sandbox toys mom?
I have to be honest, I didn’t think these were going to work.
These magnets are so strong they made it easy to find the little bit of metal in the axles of these toys!
How about cars?
Yep, these magnets could easily find the metal in the wheels to magnetize.
Then mom got a funny idea that was a real winner… Look who caught a can o’ tuna fish!
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Magnet Fishing Science Activity for Kids
Magnet fishing is a cool science activity for kids, and, a treasure hunting activity when strong magnets with a long rope are used in larger bodies of water for the whole family.
Try fishing with magnets with your children today! For more outdoor learning activities hop over to have a look at these outdoor activities for kids.
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