The game of I Spy is a useful tool for early childhood educators to incorporate educational standards in a fun and familiar way. It is easy to get your young students excited about learning when you use fun games to teach them. Here are a few ways you can use I Spy to help you teach basics such as counting, colors, and simple vocabulary and even social interactions.
Playing I Spy should involve the whole class, so that all students feel welcome and they are able to learn altogether. To start playing, you can first divide your students into four groups (or whatever number will make your groups even). One group is going to be responsible for asking the students the questions, while the other three groups will respond by raising their hands. You will monitor and help determine who raises his hand first.
Ask the group who are the questioners to pick from three categories: numbers, colors, or vocabulary words. You can change these categories to your liking. For example, you can choose the seasons, or students’ names, etc. It is quite easy to finish a game of I Spy, so you should be ready with other categories once you have finished one game.
The questioners will ask, one at a time, “I spy with my little eye something that is after 3.” The students who must answer will have a few choices, such as the numbers 4, 5, 6, etc. If the questioners ask, “I spy with my little eye something in this class,” the next statement will be more detailed, such as, “I spy with my little eye something that is a girl,” until finally, “I spy with my little eye a girl who has glasses.” If there is only one girl in the class with glasses, this game will be a little short. Ask your questioners to keep putting out statements that become more and more detailed.
As you can see, I Spy also teaches basic communication and critical thinking skills. Your students have to know how to communicate something according to some set of rules. Since they cannot blatantly say what the answer is in their statements, they will have to think hard to talk around that answer, to help their peers reach the right conclusion without offering them the answer right out.
You can also be the questioner, but it seems that involving your class in every aspect of the game will teach them more concepts and ideas.