At Home with Nature: Fishing the Old Fashioned Way (Ages 5-12)
Pretend fishing is a fun way to get children outside and practicing their concentration. Younger children may need supervision and help to make sure they are playing safely and having fun.
Materials needed: Stick, yarn or ribbon, paper clip, dry and crumpled leaves, and water in a puddle or small pool
Optional extras: A heavy bead or small object to weigh down the hook for easier fishing
Tie about two feet of yarn to the end of a stick.
Bend your paperclip into a hook shape, and then tie your hook to the other end of the yarn. For younger children, you can also tie something a bit heavier by the hook to weigh it down and make fishing easier. Older children may like the extra challenge of building their fishing rod only out of items they find in their yard.
Scatter leaves in the puddle, pool, or bin of water and count how many they successfully catch. Old leaves with a lot of holes in them are easiest but you can increase the difficulty by replacing leaves with to harder-to-catch "fish" like twigs or nuts.
Imaginative play like this is highly correlated with creativity, language development, and problem solving skills in children!