Friday, June 10, 2011

Gone Fishin'

My son loves fish. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at keeping real ones alive, and grandma lives too far away for a daily visit to her aquarium. Luckily, right around the time our last fish died, I was going through a box of my old teaching materials from when I worked as a toddler teacher. Each week I came up with a new theme and planned activities, created art projects, and brought in books that related to that theme. I made these magnetic fish for "Under the Sea" week. 

These are really easy to make, as long as you don't mind cutting out shapes. To start, go to Microsoft's free clip art gallery or search for clip art online, click on "Illustrations," and type in "fish" or whatever you want to search for. (I made these a number of years ago, so some of the clip art I used might not be available.) If you find a picture you like, you can click on "see similar images" to bring up more clip art from the same artist and other images that relate to your original selection. Then just download the images you like, open them in Microsoft Word, and resize them for your project. Mine are about 3-4 inches long. Print them out on regular printer paper and carefully cut out each fish.

Once I finished cutting out my fish I had them laminted at Kinko's, but if you have the right equipment, you can do it yourself. Kinko's offers two options when it comes to laminating: roll or pouch lamination. Roll lamination works well for most projects but it bends easily, so when I make something I want to last I opt for pouch lamintation. It's a bit more expensive, but thicker, and much more durable. 

Once my fish were laminated, I had to cut them out....again. (See why you have to like cutting?) I left about an 1/8 inch of lamintation around the edges and then stuck a strip of magnetic tape on the back.

I don't exactly remember what I used these for when I was teaching, but I pulled them out and stuck them on my dishwasher for my son to play with when I'm busy in the kitchen. Sometimes I tell him their names, sometimes we sort them by color, sometimes we count them and sing, but a lot of the time he just pulls them off the dishwasher, inspects them for a few minutes and then reaches for another. Can't do that with a live fish!


  1. I like this idea, but I may put my magnets on before the lamination so my kiddos can't pull them off. I wonder how this will affect the staying power of the magnet? -Taylor

    1. It might still work, but the magnets I use are too thick to run through the laminator.