Gift #1: Family “Go Fish”

Here’s an idea we shared that we shared a few years ago that is one of our top 3 posts of all times in terms of responses.  I thought I’d roll it out again in case you needed at last minute gift that is sure to be a hit!   I need to update my set – my babies are growing up!


We are excited to share our top 5 Christmas gifts to make and give this year.   These gifts will help to “create family legacy moments that encourage children to communicate with confidence and view the world with a sense of wonder“.

Here is #1, Family Go Fish for game night!
deck with ribbon

Why Go Fish Family Cards?  We don’t live near our grandchildren and even though both my daughter and daughter-in-law do an incredible job of keeping us current in their lives via texting and Skype, I am always looking for ways to strengthen family connections.   That’s why I love the idea of creating a family Go Fish game.  I included great-grandparents, aunts,  cousins, and more in our card stack so that our young game players would be exposed to images and names of extended family members.  I want my grandchildren to recognize their  “village”.   I want them to know that even though we live from CA to DC , this family loves and cares about them.  I’m certain that our Go Fish Cards will be a treasured memory – a legacy moment – as we all grow older.


Even if you aren’t a Photo Shop expert, you can still create your own Go Fish Cards for family game night.   Begin by choosing 13 different images that represent your family.   They can be of family members or places & things that are special to your family.

  • your home, grandparent’s home
  • family pet(s)
  • favorite toy
  • scene from a family vacation
  • favorite book cover
  • favorite food item
  • the ideas are limitless – just make sure you have 13 unique images.  I used all family members for my game set.   But I’m thinking of creating three different Go Fish games:  persons, places, and things!

Option #1

  1. Decide the final size of your playing cards.  Go to your local craft store and purchase card stock that has a different design on each side.  Cut them to 3 by 5 and  round off the corners with a corner cutter.  You can certainly use basic colored card stock, but I just love these two-sided paper designs.
  2. Next, select your images and make four copies of each one.  Position four images to one sheet of photo paper and then add a text box to the bottom of each image.  Be sure to use an elementary print or cursive font depending on the age of your children.   This is a great way to introduce your young children to the visual of the family’s written names.   Not all fonts are equal – look at the small “a” to see if it is a true print font.  Check out for free elementary fonts to use.   Print Clearly or Learning Curve are the ones I like.  Notice the “a”…
  3. Cut each image  smaller than the card stock so that it will have a border around once glued to the paper.
  4. Use glue dots or glue stick to affix the image to the card stock and then laminate if desired.

Option #2

If you are comfortable using a photo editor, like Photo Shop, you can insert an image into a background design.  You might also want to design your own backs for your cards.

My first set of Go Fish cards.

1.  The first thing I did was to ask my daughter to create the image, background, and text for me.  Note to self: Sign up for a PhotoShop class asap.


2.  Next I headed to my local FedEx Kinko as my printer broke.  (So far I’m off to a great start!)   I had asked Jamie to print four images per 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper, but now I’m thinking that 6 per page might be better.  I’m not sure how many cards this size my little ones can hold in their hand.  I’ll let you know…


3.  Once I printed both sides (actually it was the nice lady at Kinkos who had pity on me), I laminated them and then cut them to size.  (Let’s just say I tried, without success, to get their paper-cutter into my purse – best thing ever!)


4.  I headed home to round the corners and once I do, I’ll be finished.  Oh – need to make a trip to Hobby Lobby to look for a cute tin to store our Family Go Fish Cards.   I think when I make my next set, I’ll start with the tin and size the cards to it!


Seriously – cutest card game and so worth the effort!  Can’t wait to gather the family around the kitchen table and GO FISH!

2 hours later… (had to update visually)

I can’t believe how much better the cards looked once I rounded off the corners.  Make a note to buy a corner puncher/cutter thing.   It’s worth it!  This would be such a unique and valued Christmas gift for children.  A little more effort than Toys R Us – but priceless.

Gift #2:  Family Storytelling 2X2 (Week of December 1st)

Deni Corbett



Cursive vs. Print font

How to Play

fish_finalGo Fish is best for 3-6 players, but it is possible for 2 to play. You need a 52 card deck, so create 13 different sets (books) of images. The dealer deals 5 cards to each player (7 each for 2 players). The remaining cards are placed face down to form a stack.

The player to dealer’s left starts. A turn consists of asking a specific player for a specific image. For example, if it is my turn I might say: ‘Jamie, please give me your “Carolines”.  The player who asks must already hold at least one card of the requested family member, so I must hold at least one “Caroline” to say this. If the player who was asked (Jamie) has “Caroline” cards, she must give all her cards of this rank to the player who asked for them. That player then gets another turn and may again ask any player for any card already held by the asker.

If the person asked does not have any cards of the named rank, they say ‘Go fish!’. The asker must then draw the top card of the undealt stack. If the drawn card is the rank asked for, the asker shows it and gets another turn. If the drawn card is not the rank asked for, the asker keeps it, but the turn now passes to the player who said ‘Go fish!’.

As soon as a player collects a book of 4 cards of the same image, this must be shown and discarded face down. The game continues until either someone has no cards left in their hand or the stack runs out. The winner is the player who then has the most books.

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  1. Jan Mengel says:

    Deni this idea is priceless! And when there are funny names, it could get comical. Do you have any Bumpers? Ha Ha! Your Mom would have absolutely LOVED this game!

    • Deni Corbett says:

      Thanks Jan – It was some work when I got started – but Jamie helped me finish the idea. And yes – hearing the kids ask if someone has a “Bumper” is the best because the kids really think it’s a reasonable name! We have to add an Elliette to the card stack this year.

  2. Valerie McCarley says:

    You could also make a “Concentration” game with family photos. My grands would love that, too.

  3. Sheri Cline says:

    This would be so cute to do with kids in a class, especially at the beginning of the year when they are getting to know each other! Love it!

    • Deni Corbett says:

      Thanks Sheri! Can’t believe you all are starting back to school already. Sincerely appreciate your promoting Fireflies with your parents! Have a great great year.

  4. What a super idea! I love it! This game can be used in so many different ways!

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