Idea No.

3854

Fish Party -3yr- Magnetic Fishing

Award

Date

April 2002

From

Krista in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Special Mention

Fishing Party

For my son's third birthday party my husband and I  (along with my son) decided to have a "Fish party."

I  found Under the Sea invitations at a local party store  and also bought matching plates and napkins. We  decorated the house with dark blue, light blue, aqua  blue, and green streamers and balloons. We did not  spend much money or time on decorations because  we decided to focus on the games and activities for  the party-goers.  We had three different things for the  children to do at the party, and we found that they  loved all three of them and were busy the whole time.  

For the first activity, we made about three dozen fish   (2 different styles) and starfish out of colored foam  "paper," drew gills and stripes on them with Sharpie  markers, and glued google eyes on them. Then we  put large paper clips on their mouths for lips.  My  husband made four fishing poles out of dowel rods  with string "lines." He strung the poles by screwing  metal "eyes" down the length of the pole, threading  the string through it, and then winding and taping the  extra string along the base of the pole to make it look  like a "real" fishing pole. 

At the end of the strings we  tied on paper clips and then superglued small round  magnets.  We put the foam fish in two blue  Rubbermaid storage totes and decorated the outside of the totes with green construction paper seaweed  and construction paper fish, crabs, seahorses,  starfish, and octopi.  The children at the party loved  playing with our homemade magnetic fishing game  (and my son played with it for about 2 months after  the party).  Hint: You can glue almost anything onto a  Rubbermaid tote with a gluestick and it will just peel  off later when you want to remove it. 

We also had the  children decorate fish hats. My mother got a few  dozen Krispy Kreme donut hats (those rectangular  paper hats) and brought them to the party. We cut out  about 4 dozen rectangular-shaped fish (kind of like  trout) and had markers, glitter glue, and google eyes  for the children and adults to decorate fish. Then, we  glued them onto the Krispy Kreme hats and everyone  at the party walked around with fish on their heads.  The children thought it was extremely funny. 

We also  had live goldfish races at the party. My husband made  two racing troughs out of a piece of PVC pipe that  was approximately 5 feet long and had a diameter of  6 inches. He used a table saw to cut it down the  middle and then made braces, or feet, for the troughs  to rest on. He used a special sealant/glue to secure  plastic caps to the ends, and away we went! The  morning of the party my son went to the store with my  husband and bought 20 feeder goldfish. We put them  in a large goldfish bowl that had green and blue  rocks in it and placed it on the table in our entryway  for everyone to see when they came into the party.  

About  1/2way through the party we spread a green  and a blue plastic tablecloth on our hardwood dining  room floor, brought in the troughs, filled them up with  water, and had goldfish races. It was so much fun!   After the goldfish races we had cake and ice cream. I  made a large sheet cake (bigger than 9x13) and  frosted it with blue frosting then crushed up graham  crackers to make a beach and made green frosting to  make seaweed. We then put plastic sea animals  (octopi, whales, dolphins, fish) on it and made them  look like they were swimming or "beached." 

For  drinks I took a large clear glass punch bowl and  made blue koolaid. I floated an ice ring in it that had  gummy fish and octopi frozen in it and also made ice  cubes each with a little gummi fish in it. The children  thought it was funny to be drinking "sea water" with  surprises in it.  Finally, as the children were leaving  the party we had them "fish" for their prizes.  We took  a large cardboard box from a t.v. set my parents had  bought (I think the dimensions were about 4' high x 6'  wide after we cut it down some). We covered it with a  thin blue plastic tablecloth and glued construction  paper seaweed on it and lots of construction paper  fish and sea creatures on it, including two sharks and  some dolphins (extra paper animals and fish that we  made were taped up on the doors and walls of our  house, with a giant paper shark taped on the front  door for the guests to see when they came to the  party).

Toward the end of the party, my husband  snuck away and hid behind the panel with the goodie bags at the ready. As the children were leaving they  used the fishing poles from the magnetic game to  "fish" for their goodie bags. We had taken clear  plastic gift bags and loaded them with goodies (a  plastic sea animal, shark fruit snacks, sea animal  stickers, a fish pencil, and goldfish crackers for the  older children--- a plastic bathtub book, a plastic  squirting fish and goldfish crackers for the babies),  tied them with strings, and attached  paper fish to  each one with the child's name on it.

When the  children went to cast their poles over the panel, I  would tell my husband who was there fishing, he  would find their goodie bag, hook it with a loop in the  string holding it shut onto the paper clip on the fishing  pole, and shake it around before they "reeled in" their  catch. It was a great way to pass out the goodie bags,  and some of the children couldn't figure out how their  bags were getting onto their poles!  Some of the  children also got to take home a few of the live  goldfish. We made sure to warn the parents in  advance and ask their approval before just dumping  a live animal on them.  A few of the families declined  to take fish home, which was fine because we  wanted to keep some for ourselves anyway, but quite  a few of the children got to home with real fish. 

All in  all, the party was great fun and was relatively cheap.  The supplies for the poles and troughs were  inexpensive, the construction paper for the fish was  something I already had at home, and the feeder  goldfish for the races were, almost literally, a dime a  dozen!

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