Creating A Reusable Fishing Center For The Classroom

If you’ve been around TKS for a while, you know that Mr. Greg loves keeping things simple. I also understand the importance and necessity of low-prep, reusable, year-long ideas. Especially for centers. Ya’ll. I am in the classroom full time, so I understand the stresses and challenges of keeping centers fresh, fun, and engaging. That’s why I’m always trying to figure out ways to keep things simple. That’s where this idea came from!

Fishing Center In The Classroom

Here is a link to the fish you see in the picture above: CLICK HERE

How many of us use this tried and true center activity at least once a school year? We’ve used it in January for ice fishing, we’ve used it for digging dinosaur poop and unicorn poop. We use it in the spring to fish for sight words. I feel this is a classroom staple for most of us. And why not? It’s fun, it’s pretty easy to set up and the kids love it.

Here’s where my struggle came in with this center activity: the prep time. I had to find a box. Wrap the box. And ya’ll I am not a good box/gift wrapper. Just ask the mister. And then the box would get damaged. Because kids fall and get rowdy. And the paper would get ripped. And if we wanted to reuse this later, we had to store it. Or, worse, throw it away and remake it. That’s a lot.

So, I came up with a SIMPLE way to make this reusable and very low prep! Another benefit of being in the classroom: I see a problem or a need and I can figure it out and come up with an idea that works for my classroom and my students! And I can share that with you!

The Reusable Fishing Center

Here is my solution:

It’s a reusable fishing center made from a plastic container and spray paint! No more hunting boxes. No more wrapping. It’s ready to go all year long.

Here’s how I did it!

I chose a fairly small container so the cards wouldn’t have much room to move. And I chose blue spray paint to look like water. You know…fishing…water…blue…

I spray-painted the inside of the container and the top of the lid. I also cut a hole in the lid for the magnet to drop into and the cards to come out of. I made sure the hole was big enough for the cards to easily fit through!

That’s it. SUPER EASY. It took me an hour. And cost me about $10. Now I have a reusable fishing center that I can keep out all year. Or if I want to use it only at certain times, I can easily store it. And it if the paint gets scratched, I can grab my spray paint and do a little retouch because I only used a small amount of the paint!

How do we use a fishing center in our classroom?

We use a fishing center to practice and review skills during center time. The beauty of this idea is that it can be used for any skill. You can differentiate the skill by using color-coded recording sheets. You can use it to target most missed sight words or letters or numbers. The possibilities are endless. And because it’s reusable and ready to go, it’s easy to switch it out and keep it new and exciting!

The way it works is that you print and laminate cards and add paper clips to each card. The paper clip is what the magnet attaches to! Then you drop them in the box! Here’s a tip: tape the paper clips on with some masking tape so they don’t slide off! Here’s another tip: you already have materials to go in the box. Ya’ll! You have printed and laminated center activities already! Add a paperclip and BAM! It’s a new center activity. In these pictures, we used our Pineapple Year Long Center resource. But if I wanted pumpkins, I would grab something already printed and use that. Use what you already have prepped!

To make the fishing rod, we use a dowel rod, some yarn, and a ring magnet. We got our dowel rod at Wal-Mart and chose a nice thick one so it wouldn’t break! If your magnet isn’t strong enough, just tie 2 or 3 magnets together! The students drop the magnet into the “water” and fish out a card. They can identify the sound, the letter, number, sight word, etc, and record it on their recording sheet!

Grab your ring magnets on Amazon:

Creative Hobbies 29 Piece Strong 1.25 Inch Round Ceramic Ferrite Ring Magnets, With 3/8" ID Center Hole x 3/16" thickness, Universal Use on Refrigerator, Whiteboard, Arts Science Project, Crafts

If you’re looking for center resources to use in your new fishing center, check out our resources on our TKS STORE! All of our TKS centers are designed to be done the same way. The skills and theme change, but the process stays the same so students know what to do with each activity and you don’t lose instructional time each week going over directions!

For more classroom ideas, check out these posts:

number cubes

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