2 min read
Family playing a game at the table.

Fishing for Matches is a simple word game parents and guardians can play with children to learn or reinforce teaching of synonyms and antonyms.

This is a low-cost activity to do as a family during quarantine. The Fishing for Matches packet includes a word list containing both synonyms and antonyms.

Just a reminder

  • synonyms are words with same or similar meanings/definitions to another word. Fish that have like meanings are turned in the same direction.
  • antonyms are words with opposite meanings or definitions to another word. Fish that have unlike meanings are turned in an opposite direction.

Download a PDF of the Fishing for Matches packet. 

How to Play

Choose three different colors. Print your “word” on one color, its synonym on one color, and its antonym on one color. Cut out fishes and laminate for durability. You can also have your children draw and cut out fishes on index cards.

Create a fishing rod using a stick or dowel rod with yarn. Use a small magnet as your hook. Once each laminated fish is cut out, place a paper clip on the mouth of the fish. Using an extra-large container, mix in the words and synonyms or antonyms. Take turns Fishing for Matches.

Other Playing Suggestions

  1. Play Fishing for Matches as a game of concentration. This is better known as a memory game. Mix the words and synonyms and antonyms into a stack. Spread fish faced down over a wide surface. Take turns Fishing for Matches.
  2. Play as a game of Go Fish. Deal each player five cards faced down. Only the player can see the card in their hand. The remaining cards (fish) are stacked into a deck called the fishing pond. Take turns asking for word matches by synonym or antonym. If the other player has the card, they must give it to the player. If the other player does not have the card, then say “Go Fish!” A card is then pulled from the fishing pond. The player with the most matches win.

Enjoy Fishing for Matches. Make this one of your family’s fun, learning experiences.

Take the Survey

Did you play Fishing for Matches? We want to hear from you! Take just a minute or two and fill out the short survey below and tell us what you think. These surveys not only help better our programs but also help determine federal and state funding. This funding allows us to continue providing affordable, research-based education to you and your family.

Take the Fishing for Matches survey.


Note: Facilitators of the Parent-Child Reading Enhancement Program (PCREP) can also use the Fishing for Matches game as a supplemental activity with parents and their children.

PCREP is a resource that teaches parents and guardians techniques that will help to improve the reading level and skills of children ages 4-6 in five key areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. 

To learn more, visit the PCREP: Parent-Child Reading Enhancement Program page on the Alabama Extension website, or contact Dorothy Brandon at (256) 372-5458 or dpb0010@aces.edu.

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