Hello, my little sea creatures. You have been entertaining my children for hours. And for that, I thank you.
Want to make some for yourself or, um, your children? You will need: wooden dowels (however long and however many you need), string of some sort (kite string would work well), magnets, glue that is appropriate for metal, washers, approximately 3/4 yard of fabric, basic sewing supplies and a cardstock fish or other sea creature that you can use as a guide.
You know that you can't resist the cuteness, right?
For the fishing poles: All you need to do is tie the string around the end of the fishing pole. I added a little glue to the knot so that I knew it wouldn't come undone. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to retie these a gazillion times.
Now, cut the string to be whatever length that you want for your fishing pole. Got it? OK. If you can find magnets that have a hole in the middle, or you are handier than I am and can drill a hole in the middle of a magnet, then you can just attach that to the end of your string. Voila! Magnetic Fishing Pole.
If you are slightly afraid that you will lose a finger in a tragic drill accident and you live in the middle of nowhere (and therefore cannot find magnets with holes in the center) you can simply apply a little glue to the inside of two magnets and sandwich them together at the end of the string, with the string in the middle. I would suggest that you fray the edges of the string a little to make the magnets adhere smoothly together. You don't want them to come unattached because my children think that the magnets resemble an Oreo cookie, and that can't be good.
Let's sew, shall we? Oh, wait. You don't sew? No worries. Just cut the sea creature shapes out of a heavy cardstock and attach paper clips so that they will become magnetic. Easy! You can laminate them to insure that they last longer than 15 minutes, which is even better. If you are a glutton for fabric, continue on.
You can make as many fish as you would like for this project. I had 24 washers, so I made 12 fish/creatures.
Just cut the fabric to be slightly larger than the cardstock guide that you are using. Remember, you will be sewing these, so you will lose some of the size to the seams. I used two washers per fish just because I wanted to ensure that they would be magnetic regardless of the weight of the fabric.
What are washers, you ask? I have no idea. All I know is that there is practically an entire aisle dedicated to them at Lowe's. I picked up my magnets first and then just chose some washers that were smallish and magnetic. I know, I know. I am just so hardware savvy that I amaze myself.
Add any eyes or details that you want to before you sew them together. When I sewed the eyes on, I left a length of thread on the back so that I could attach the washers. This way the magnetic part is relatively in the same place on each fish.
PSA: Watch out for unattended toddlers. I was sewing yesterday and lifted my foot off the foot control thing so that I could remove a pin when the machine magically started running all by itself. Well, it was magical until I saw that Maddux had stomped down on the foot control with both feet and the fish shot out the back have been zig zagged to death. Like I said, watch out for unattended toddlers.
You will need to leave an opening in your stitching. Attach the washers, flip the fabric right-side out and then use a zigzag stitch across the tail to close. See? That wasn't so hard, now was it?
You will now need a boat. Or a pretend boat, it's cheaper. Firmly seat your fisher-kids and warn them that if they attach the magnets to your laptop that they will walk the plank.
This game can be as simple as letting the kids fish, or can be easily used as a learning tool. I purposely sewed on specific eye colors so that there are 3 fish of each eye color. There are also 4 fish of each pattern. This is good for hand eye coordination when they are challenged to find only the green fish or only the fish with red eyes. For my almost 6-year-old I will attach letter stickers, one uppercase and one lowercase, so that she can match the letters.
I am now thinking of attaching a magnet to all of the Fisher Price Little People so that Maddux will clean them up... a mom can dream, can't she?