Fishing For Coins

Pinterest pin of an excited toddler fishing coins out of blue water with a magnet

Out of all the sensory activities I set up for my toddler, water play is her ultimate favorite! Even as a baby she loved to dunk her hands in cups, splash around in the water and make a huge mess.

After a couple hours of her throwing tantrums and having a tough morning, I wanted to cheer her up with a fun activity. I thought of all the coins I had stashed away, the wooden dowels I just purchased, and the magnet holding up my food log on the fridge, and the idea clicked!

Added food coloring made the fishing more mysterious and tricky. My daughter couldn’t see what was at the bottom of the container and was blown away when she stuck the magnet in and it came up with a load of coins!

*Adult supervision is always advised for the activities posted on this site.*

  • Wooden Dowel
  • Magnet
  • Yarn
  • Coins
  • Other safe metal objects (optional)
  • Deep container
  • Bucket or small bin to put the “caught” coins
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Pebbles, shells, uncooked rice (not necessary but adds another sensory element)

Child fishing coins out of a bucket of water with a magnet


Fill up a container with water, add food coloring, and mix until blended. Pour in a bunch of pebbles or other sensory element (we used uncooked rice because it’s cheap, but it was a bit of a pain to clean up) and as many coins as you can find! Cut a piece of yarn long enough so the “fishing rod” doesn’t have to be pointed into the bucket or water for the magnet to reach the bottom. Tie one end to the dowel and the other end to the magnet. I used a Safety 1st magnet that came with a locking system used to child proof our cabinets and drawers. This magnet has a hole in it so you don’t need to use glue or a special adhesive.

Oh, and set down a towel or two around the container…it’s about to get messy!

What your child is learning
  • Hand-eye coordination (dunking the magnet in the water, focusing and grabbing the swinging magnet when it comes out of the water)
  • Fine motor skill (using index finger and thumb to pull the coins off the magnet)
  • Recognizing different coins

Child removing coins from the magnet used to fish them out of water
This activity was simple-pimple to do and loads of fun! I hope your toddler gets a kick out of it as much as mine did! 🙂

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