“I Spy” Game – One Of Children’s Favourite Games

Kids are playing "I spy" game outside in the yard

Playing the “I spy” game could be very interesting and educational. There can be any amount of players in the game. Even if it’s just the two of you with your child it is not going to be less interesting!

Playing the guessing "I spy" game

Materials: no special materials, but you should be in the room with different objects around you.


  1. Choose who is going to be spying first, either by drawing number cards from one to five (the person with a smaller number is a spy) or by drawing straws (the person with shorter straw gets to be first). These are great logical activities by themselves as they develop a child’s critical thinking and reasoning.
  2. When the first spy is selected their task is to choose an object from their immediate surrounding. He/she says: “I spy with my little eye, something that…” and tell anything about the object except for its actual name. It can be the color, height, weight, texture, material or word that rhymes with it.

The "I spy" game has its variations depending on the results you want to achieve. If you are trying to teach your child reading you can try to make it into a reading game. Simply follow the procedure below.

Here is a way of making the “I spy” game a reading game that’s called “I spy a letter sound”.

Playing the reading game "I spy a letter sound"

Materials: 5-10 objects – various items that start with different letters – like a box, a pen, a tube, a banana, a crayon.


  1. Collect some items that begin with different letters, and put them in the room around you. Start with I spy a sound “b”, what it can be? Your child should look carefully at all the objects. If your child is having difficulties, try to encourage him/her or give some hints. Words of encouragement are very important in order to build a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
  2. When your child guesses the object, ask him/her questions about it. At the end start a discussion with your child about every object and its possible uses.
  3. To make it more complicated try to combine a few items, for example, place one object (a book) on the table and say: “I see a “b” on the “t”.
  4. When your child identifies both objects correctly, change places with him/her – it is your child’s turn to pick an object and say the first sound of the word - “I spy a “k…” (first letter sound of the word “crayon”) and you will be trying to guess objects yourself by asking him/her questions like – “Is it big”, “Is it round”, “Can I eat it”, “Is it yellow”.
  5. If your child is having difficulty choosing an object and identifying which letter it starts with, offer him/her an object yourself – like a “banana”. Read out sounds to him/her “b-a-n-a-n-a” and ask which sound is first.
  6. Discuss all your objects afterward. Ask your child questions – what color is a banana? What shape? Can you eat it?

As well, you can try different versions of this game, for example - “I cannot spy”. Children love this version as it is so mysterious and fun.

"I cannot spy" sensory guessing game

Materials: Scarf, 5-10 different small objects, for instance – a pen, a crayon, a doll, a banana, and a water bottle.


  1. First of all, choose who is going to be first “I cannot spy” player. Use number cards or straws like we did earlier on.
  2. Then the first player gets a scarf placed on his/her eyes so they cannot see.
  3. The second player gives him/her an object and they need to guess what is it.
  4. When the first player identifies the object players change places.

That's how the "I spy" game becomes a very interesting sensory game. Sensory games are an important part of a learning process as they provide valuable experience through tactile senses. Never hesitate to start a sensory game with your child. It can be anything your child can feel with his/her senses. It even can be a simple painting with hands.

Take a piece of paper, pour various paints in containers and get to work! You both can have so much fun painting and bonding at the same time! Don't forget to wear an apron and stay away from carpets, as it can get messy. But sensory games are much more than simply fun.

A child's hand full of paint

Through the sense organs, a child can learn new letter sounds, words, and phrases. These organs gather information, which is sent to the brain, where it is stored and recorded. Gathered information serves as a platform for future language development. It also provides very important kinesthetic and participatory experience.

To summarize, I would like to mention that the "I spy" game has a long history. Children from around the world are playing it for the last 100 years. It's educational, fun, and entertaining. Chose your favorite game variation or play the original guessing "I spy" game.