‘I spy’: a turn-taking and talking game
‘I spy’ is a simple game that you and your child can play anywhere.
‘I spy’ is a turn-taking game, so it helps to develop your child’s social skills. When your child waits for their turn, they're learning how to play and cooperate with others.
‘I spy’ is also great for building your child’s vocabulary and understanding of language. That’s because your child has to think of the names of objects and the letters they begin with, if they can.
What you need for ‘I spy’
You can play this game anywhere. You just need to be able to look around and talk with your child. You don’t need any special equipment.
How to play ‘I spy’
Decide who starts. You could choose the youngest person or the person whose name starts with the letter closest to the start of the alphabet.
The player who starts picks an object that everyone can see. The player gives the first letter of the object as a clue. For example, if the player chooses a fence, they say, ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with F’.
Players take turns to call out guesses until someone gets the right answer. The first person to guess correctly gets the next turn to choose an object.
Adapting ‘I spy’ for children of different ages or children with diverse abilities
You can easily adapt ‘I spy’ for older and younger children.
Your younger child can give their clue in a way that doesn’t involve letters. For example, your child could say, ‘I spy with my little eye something that I can eat’ or ‘I spy with my little eye something that’s red’.
Your older child could change the rules to make the game more interesting. For example, each player gets to ask three questions about the object with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer before they take one guess.
Changing rules or making up new rules can be a great way for children to learn about solving problems together and being flexible. But it’s important to go over new rules before you start playing to make sure everyone understands what’s going on.
All children learn and develop through play. Our articles on play and autistic children and play and children with disability are great starting points for adapting this activity guide for children with diverse abilities. You might also like to explore our activity guides for children with diverse abilities.