Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY Shark Party Game

In trying to come up with party activities for Logan's shark-themed 4th birthday, I was reminded of a magnetic fishing game with sock fish that I had seen on Pinterest. (The link no longer works so I can't show it to you. Sorry.) However, I had also pinned this idea for making a feed-the-shark-beanbag-toss game. I decided to combine the two ideas and this is what I came up with for a young-child-friendly version.

Aside from being an inexpensive party activity, this Shark Bait game was a great way to re-purpose some items that were no longer functioning as intended (but that I was still reluctant to throw away they still could be used for something.) While my sewing skills are not the greatest (which I have previously admitted to here and here), this was still a simple project to pull together with items I already had around the house.

Materials for "Beanbag" Fish:
  • old, mismatched socks (Make sure they do not have any holes.)
  • buttons (2 per fish)
  • thread
  • scissors
  • rice
  • rubber bands (1 per fish)
  • puffy paint
 Directions for Making "Beanbag" Fish:
  1. Sew two buttons near the toe end of a sock to make eyes. Tip: I found the rolling the socks up made it easier to reach inside the sock in order to get the needle to pass through without getting the thread hopelessly tangled.
  2. Add rice to the sock until it is filled up to the heel. Tip: If you don't have rice, use whatever you have on hand; dry beans would work. I've even used beads or small pasta for things like this. Tip: I used a spoon to fill my socks.
  3. Secure the "beanbag" by wrapping a rubber band tightly around the heel end of the sock. This should leave you with a "tail" with a length determined by the height of the sock. Ankle socks are, of course, shorter, so you will be done shaping your fish. You may, however, wish to trim the tail-ends of longer socks. Tip: To make it look more tail-like, I held the two sides of the open end together and then used scissors to cut an inverted "V" through both pieces of material.
  4. Add a mouth to the fish. I used puffy paint in assorted colors and then left the "beanbags" upside down to allow the paint to dry. Tip: My current favorite material for placing crafts on to dry: cereal box liners. Paint won't stick to it while drying, unlike newspaper, and you can re-use it. And, it's free, unlike wax paper.

Materials for "Chum Bucket":

  • large empty container/can
  • blue construction paper (2 sheets)
  • paper trimmer
  • black ink pad
  • foam alphabet stamps
  • shark stencils
  • black Sharpie marker
  • glue
Directions for Making "Chum Bucket":
  1. First find a large container and make sure it is clean and dry. (I re-used the same cocoa canister that had been made into a drum a few months ago, but a coffee can would also work.)
  2. Then, measure the paper to fit around your container. (My ultra-professional method for this? I wrapped the paper around the can, and then used my fingernail to make an indentation to show where the bottom would need to be cut, since the paper was too tall.)
  3. Trim the first piece of paper using the paper trimmer, then use it as a guide to cut the second piece to the same size.
  4. Stamp "SHARK BAIT" with foam alphabet stamps onto one piece of the construction paper.
  5. Use shark stencils to draw a shark on either side of the wording. Fill in the sharks with black Sharpie. (I used the Mako and Blue shark stencils for this.)
  6. Glue the blank piece of paper onto your container first. Then, layer the stamped piece over it so that the entire container is covered.
  7. Place the "beanbag" fish into the "chum bucket" and get ready to play "Shark Bait."
 How to Play "Shark Bait":
  1. You will need: a hula hoop, your chum bucket, and your "beanbag" fish.
  2. Lay the hula hoop on the ground to make a "shark pool."
  3. Have children stand back and toss the "bait" into the "pool." (Younger kids will stand closer, obviously.)
That's actually all I had planned for this game. No scoring system or anything too complicated or too challenging, just simple fun for preschoolers. Now, some of our bigger party guests decided to make it more challenging for school-age kids by holding the hula hoop up in the air and creating a moving target for others to pitch through, and that made it far more interesting to them.

One last note: I suggest that you make this an outdoor game. We had one "beanbag" burst open before the party and that meant that I had rice all over my living room, and while having rice all over my house is not something I am unfamiliar with (for fun things to do with rice check out my posts here and here), it was not exactly what I had in mind for our party game. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and we were able to play outdoors on the day of the party.

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