Preschoolers can make a simple fishing pole with safe and common materials. The pole is a simple design and the construction does not require the use of knives or sharp objects with the hook being the only exception. Building the pole is a fun class project, and using the pole presents a possible class field trip. Preschoolers can also build the pole without a hook as part of a craft project without the intention of actually fishing.
Pole Material and Collection
The standard pole material is either a bamboo stick or green piece of willow or sapling. The pole collection is executed by the teacher or parent because a sharp knife is required for cutting the material. Look for green saplings or bamboo stands with roughly 2 inches of diameter at the base, tapered to a thin tip. Sections that measure 3 feet or more in length are ideal for small preschoolers. Use a knife to cut down the material, and use the knife to shave off shoots and limbs.
Give each preschooler one pole and a fine grain piece of sandpaper. Prepare the poles by sanding the material smooth and removing the nubs from shoots and limbs with the sandpaper. Cut a piece of braided or monofilament line to match the length of each pole. The typical cane pole uses a thin diameter line in the 5-lb. range, but an 8-lb. line adds security against breaking in the hands of a preschooler. Guide the preschoolers through the knot tying process, and use a simple double overhand knot around the center of the pole. Wrap the knot with a piece of electrical tape, and run the line to the tip of the pole. Wrap the line around the tip three times, and wrap a second piece of tape around the line to hold it on the tip.
Tie the end of the line to a hook with a clinch knot, and crimp a split shot weight 6 inches above the hook. Clip a bobber 6 inches above the split shot, and the pole is ready for use. Tape also works well for building a grip area, but the pole is primarily used for small fish and a grip is not necessary.
Place a worm, salmon egg or artificial piece of bait on the hook. Take the kids to a bluegill or stocked trout pond where the fish are small and abundant. Preschoolers enjoy the process when the fish are easy to catch, and ponds with small fish populations create boring days for the kids. Teach the kids how to swing the bait and plunk it in the water. Watch the bobber until a fish strikes, and lift the rod tip while walking backwards to drag the fish into the shore.
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