Homemade I Spy Game: Fun With Phonics

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Last week was exhausting. We are no longer knee-deep in a pandemic–it’s more like chest-deep with no end in sight. My children are missing their friends and their cousins. And the colder weather outside means more time for my people to run around the inside of the house like little lunatics. Just to top things off, one sweet child unsuccessfully turned himself into Olaf by sticking a carrot far up his nose and someone else I love peed in my water bottle. He said it was an emergency. Do you also find it strange that I found my water bottle next to the toilet?

I desperately needed an activity that kept my kids safe, busy, and out of trouble. While I couldn’t do anything about the dropping temperatures outside, I needed to do something to save my sanity.

One night after my little angels were sound asleep, I was scrolling through social media and found a really great homemade I SPY game. Was this the sanity saver I was looking for? All I needed was a large piece of paper and some stickers. I decided to give it a try. Here is what we did…

How to Make Your Own I Spy Game

Just place your giant paper at a table or on the floor and let the kids start putting stickers-of all kinds- anywhere on the paper. No giant rolls of paper in your home, any paper will work. If you don’t have stickers, have your big kids cut out the pictures from magazines or store flyers and glue them on the paper.

We played a little game to get the stickers disbursed evenly. We turned on music and every time a song ended the kids had to get up, move to a new spot around the paper, and keep going.

It took a lot of breaks and a few days to fill it up. In the end, this is what we had…

How to Use Your I Spy Game

School Age

  • Letter-sound correspondence- “Find the letter M”, “Find something that starts with /b/”
  • Recording sounds-“Stretch the word three on this post-it note and then find the number three. Lable it with your post-it note”
  • Vowels-“Find something with a short i”
  • Segmenting-“Find an object with two syllables”, “Find a word that ends with a /t/”
  • Rhyming-“Find something that rhymes with fall”
  • Digraphs/Blends- “Find something that begins with the blend sp“, “Find spider and record the blend”, “Find something that starts with s-h”

You can have some math fun, too! My 6 year old had fun finding cylinders, cones and two-digit numbers.

My favorite part of this I Spy game was how easily it could be differentiated for children of all skill levels.

Preschooler

  • find colors and shapes
  • Find letters or numbers
  • work on counting-“Find ten frogs”

Toddler

  • find objects- “Find a spider”
  • find colors- “Find something that is blue”
  • find shapes- “Can you find a circle?”

If you are looking for an activity that keeps kids of all ages engaged, busy, and away from screens, I think you should give this one a try.

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