I wanted something that wasn't very expensive and also wouldn't be really time-intensive. This project? Perfect.
Should you feel like making some as well (and who DOESN'T want to spend an evening making felt fish?), here's how I made them.
- Straight Pins
- Unsharpened pencils
- Hot glue gun
- Sewing machine (optional)
I bought a big pack of 8½ x 11 sheets of felt in various colors, then folded them length-wise (or hot-dog style) and cut four sets of fish from each one (I used this template and resized it to fit on a single page when I printed it).
I hot-glued (and had to BUY a hot glue gun for this purpose) a small washer in the center of each one. (Ella, by the way, is obsessed with the washers. Any time she picks up these fish, she feels for them adn then proudly exclaims, "WASHER!" I guess her life is a little dull).
Then I used bright white thread and set my machine to do a slightly interesting stitch (although a zig-zag works as well as anything else) and sewed around the edge of each one. I was worried if I hot-glued them that they would just come apart and that they wouldn't look quite as nice, but if you are a less paranoid kind of person than I am, go ahead and glue.
For the fishing rods, I bought a pack of pencils, glued and wrapped some twine around the un-sharpened end and then glued the magnet to the other end of the twine.
The first set of magnets I bought at Wal-mart were WAY too weak. I ended up buying a heavy-duty set at Office Max for about $4. Because I love making multiple trips for one project.
Obviously if the magnet comes undone, it's going to be a choking hazard. So, you know, supervise and all that jazz.
Ella has really enjoyed them. She likes to put them all in a bowl and then tell me what color to fish out, or have me ask her the colors. Sometimes we scatter them around the room and she has to retrieve them all.
You could also attach clothes pins with various numbers and letters to them and have them select them based on that.
And then feel awesome that your child has a handmade toy. And ignore the fact that they probably still prefer the plastic, flashing toy you picked up at a garage sale.