Go Fish with Objects

By Activity Bank on Oct 09, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

The game of Go Fish is easily adapted to this activity designed to teach students to identify and match familiar objects. The game format allows for easy social interaction and the opportunity to practice asking questions. Lessons include English Language Arts, Social Skills, and Recreation and Leisure.


  • Work-play tray or a shallow box for each student
  • Ten to fifteen pairs of familiar objects – combs, shoes, spoons, bells, toothbrushes


  • This activity is played like the card game Go Fish, except that real objects are used instead of cards. It should be played with at least three players.
  • Give everyone five objects on a tray. Remind students not to tell what is on their tray. If students have vision, screens can be put around each tray.
  • Ask students if anyone already has a match on her tray. Proceed as in Go Fish. For example, Beth asks Steve, “Do you have any pennies?” If Steve does have a penny, he gives it to Beth who then puts her match in a separate box beside her tray. If Steve does not have any pennies, he tells Beth to Go Fish, at which point Beth reaches into the central box containing the extra items and pulls out one object. It is best if each student takes only one turn at a time so that everyone can participate equally.
  • The game continues in this fashion until all of the objects have been matched. If desired, each student can count how many pairs of objects she has. The student with the most objects is the winner.


  • Match shapes, textures, sizes, letters or numbers.
  • Try this with objects that are more closely related (spoons, forks, knives).
  • If the above method is too confusing for students, try a more simple method with just two students. Give each student five objects on a tray which are identical to the other person’s objects. Randy picks up an item at random from his tray and identifies it. He then asks Sarah for the same object, “Sarah, do you have a comb?” Sarah then finds the matching object on her own tray and hands it to Randy and says, “Here, Randy, here’s my comb.” Randy can then put his pair in the “Match Box.” Students take turns asking for objects until the objects are all gone.
  • Match related items: toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and washcloth, shoe and sock.
  • Try Category Go Fish where students look for items in a given category. For example, “Give me all the clothing items.”

Hint: Give students repeated opportunities to identify and match objects. At snack time say, “Jane, I have a cup. Do you have a cup? Here’s my cup and here’s your cup. We both have cups.”