Make Your Own 'I Spy' Game

  • Time Length
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    < 1 hour

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Question and Wonder:

  • What makes an easy or hard “I Spy” game?
  • Would it be harder if you use items all the same color? Same size?
  • How many items do you need to make a good “I Spy” game?
  • Where will be a good place to find items to use in your game?
  • Who do think will be the best at the game? Why?

Collect your “I Spy” items.  Take a photo of each item so that you have every item documented.  Next have one person arrange the items on the towel.  Run through each photo and see how quickly you can identify each item. If you can’t take pictures, you can draw the items or write their names on pieces of paper.

Imagine and Design:

  • If it’s too easy, how could you make it harder?
  • What would happen if you overlapped some objects?
  • Try various arrangements. Switch out the items. What works best?

Test and Discuss:

  • Add in the timer and see how quickly each person can find all the objects.
  • What if you change out the items for things you are not familiar with? How does that change the game?
  • What do you notice about the items that are easy to spot? Hard? Why do you think that?

Did you Know?

Working memory is like any other muscle.  The more you exercise it the stronger it gets.  And there are so many ways to play.  You can easily turn this “I Spy” game upside down into another memory game by using the objects you’ve gathered in a different way.  Arrange the objects on the ground and then cover them with the towel.  Lift the towel and count to ten (or twenty) giving your child the chance to study the objects.  Put the towel back down over the objects and ask your child to describe as many objects, in as great a detail, as possible.  Keep at it, adding more and different objects and changing variables like the amount of time you give.  Playful exchanges like this are brain builders for sure.


On Line Resources

Scholastic has some of the original “I Spy” wallpapers and online games here:

This article talks about the importance of working memory as a predictor of academic success.  Very young children have plenty of time to build up to functioning that will help them in school, but its never too early to understand how the parts of the brain work and what we can do to assist:


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