Pretend Fishing: Discovery at Home

Materials Needed:

  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Furniture
  • Broom or mop
  • Towels
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Rope, string or ribbon
  • Plastic hanger
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils


  • Make a boat! Think about a spot where you can go fishing off the side of a piece of furniture. Use blankets, pillows, chairs, couches, whatever you have available to create a row boat!
  • Use paper to cut out and decorate fish. Add a large paper loop near the mouth of the fish. Try making your loops big and small. Which fish will be easiest to catch?
  • Take the broom and tie a string to one end. The other end, tie on a hanger using the long, flat side, so you can pick up fish with the curved hanger.
  • Create your safety gear for the boat. You need a life jacket! Roll a towel into a long cylinder, wrap around your neck like a scarf, use strong to tie in front.
  • Now you’re ready! Throw your fish into the water next to your boat, and set sail! Once you’re out sailing, grab your fishing pole and begin your search for fish!

How to Expand it:

  • Make the fish different sizes, colors, or shapes, or put numbers and letters on them to create a game that teaches comparison and recognition skills. Ask kids to catch the biggest fish, the orange fish, or the fish shaped like a triangle. 
  • Make other sea creatures! What other creatures live in the sea? Could you make other animals? Could you add something next to your boat to make it look like water? 
  • If you like being creative with furniture, you also might enjoy our Fort Engineering 101 activity.

What do Kids Learn?

  • Children gain social and emotional skills through dramatic play. When they pretend, they are experimenting in social roles, practicing language, and solving problems. 
  • Spatial or visual thinking. Being able to imagine the positions of objects and how they interact is an important skill for learning to navigate the world and later, learn math and language. 
  • Hand eye coordination. Young children can use activities like fishing to help improve communication between their minds and bodies.