I love those little I-Spy bags you can find on etsy and such. I am a middling seamstress, I could probably pull off figuring one of those out, if it weren't for my horrible fear of sewing vinyl. Then I saw an I-Spy bag in a JAR on Mama Jenn. Cool! I could do that! But I put it off as a project for another day . . . I think E was about a year old when I first saw the idea.
It resurfaced a day or two before our trip to Kansas for Thanksgiving this year. I was desperate for something to bring in the car to entertain E for the long car ride. So I put one together for the trip, using things I had around my house.
Our I-Spy Jar is a Ball canning jar - kinda on the heavy side, but we aren't usually running around with it, so that seems to be ok. I filled it about 2/3 of the way full with plain white rice (these were our pre-rainbow rice days), and tossed in all sorts of random treasures. Some of the items to "spy" are:
- a paper clip
- an old key
- a small hair bow
- several different colored/shaped/sized buttons
- colorful floral stones/marbles
- animal beads - we have a giraffe, lion, boat, and elephant
- smiley face pencil topper
- a tiny ball of yarn
- a google eye
- a penguin that fell off of one of my old earrings
- a screw
- a foam leaf
- a small piece of ribbon with a cow and pig on it
To play, you shake up the jar and find something to spy. Then you say "I spy something that starts with /__/" For example, "I spy something that starts with /s/." The child looks through the items in the jar and tries to find something that begins with that sound. "/s/ smiley face!" or "/s/ stone!" or "/s/ screw!"
To make a more individual game, you can print up a card with all the items on it and have the child find them on their own. I have seen cards with items grouped in numbers, such as find one coin, two beads, three paper clips, etc. I have also seen cards with items grouped in colors. The child can be challenged to find all the items in a category. If you have two I-Spy bags or jars, you can see who can find the most in a set time, or who can find everything in one category first.
I do plan on getting over my fear of vinyl at some point and sewing an I-Spy bag or two in the future. I'd really love to do a whole set for each letter of the alphabet. They have those at the Children's Museum here, and they are AWESOME. I could sit looking at them for hours, and E likes them too.