Looking for a fun, cheap, family-friendly outdoor activity that feels like a treasure hunt? Give magnet fishing a try! When my preteen son came to me and asked about getting a magnet fishing set, I had no idea what he was talking about. After a little research, we ordered one on Amazon (search for Magnet Fishing Kit).

What is Magnet Fishing? 

A magnet fishing kit is basically a strong magnet on a long rope (some sets come with gloves and other tools as well). You tie one end of the rope around your waist to keep from losing it, and then throw the magnet off a dock into a lake or into a stream. After bumping it around on the lake bottom, you pull it back up and see what you’ve caught. My son often brings up fishing hooks or lures (here is where the gloves come in handy!), and once found a pocket knife. He has captured a broken fishing pole, nails, and coins. Sometimes, like in the case of the pocket knife, he cleans and keeps his treasures. Other times, he throws them away—contributing to a cleaner lake! The thrill of the hunt keeps him going back for more.

No Water Necessary 

My favorite magnet hunting memory doesn’t involve a lake or water at all. This summer, we made a trip to the Grand Canyon. My son magnet fished over a railing down thirty feet or so to a rock ledge where tourists accidentally lose items. There were many cell phones, sunglasses, hats, and lots of coins (tossed for making wishes?). While he only brought up coins, he did gather a large crowd of people, curious to see what he was doing, and calling out instructions: “Move the rope to the right!” “A little further down!” “There! Pull up now!” It was a fun and quirky way to spend an hour.

Magnet fishing is an interesting, unique activity that is sure to get the whole family—and maybe passers-by—in on the fun. Give it a try!

Written by K. Allison Brannon