Small TALK Speech Therapy I Spy Blog

“I Spy” ways to enhance your child’s communication

Hands up if you love ‘I Spy!’ I spy with my little eye… that most of you have probably played this game before, and have your hands (literally or imaginatively) up in the air.

Most of us have played the “traditional” version, where you find something beginning with a letter. But did you know that there are many ways you can play ‘I Spy’? And each one works on a different language skill.

Not sure what I mean? Check out this cute video from Sesame Street to get a glimpse of how ‘I Spy’ can fit into a family’s typical day.

Letters and Sounds
This is where you choose an object and have someone guess what it is based on its letters and sounds. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with ‘k’”, or “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with ‘mmm’”.

Tip: Don’t just think about the beginning letters and sounds, try giving hints based on the last sound in the word (e.g. “I spy something that ends in ‘n’”).

Rhyming
Have someone guess the object based on a word that rhymes (or has the same ending) as your target. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with ‘egg’”.

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Syllable Blending
Give hints about the item based on the sounds that join together to make up the word. For example, “I spy something that sounds like d-o-g”.

Did you know? Rhyming and syllable blending are important Phonological Awareness skills, which are often thought of as the ‘building blocks’ when teaching your child to read. Check out our blog post for more information.

Location Words
This is where you choose an object and have someone guess what it is based on a description of where you can find it. For example, “I spy something that is underneath the table”, or “I spy with my little eye, something that you can find in the fridge”.

Tip: Use words like on, in, under, besides, next to, on top of, between, through and below to help your child learn about ‘prepositions’, which are location words.

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Describing Words
Describe the object and have someone guess what it is. This can be a description of the way it looks, smells, tastes, sounds or feels, or a description of what you do with the object. For example, “I spy something that is soft, fluffy and says ‘meow’”, or “I spy with my little eye, something you use to write your name”.

Tip: think about the size, speed and colour of the object as well.

Action Words
This works best when you are out and about at the shops, at the park, watching a video together, or even just watching or helping with jobs around the house. For example, “I spy someone who is walking to the car” or “I spy someone who is cooking dinner”.

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 Having trouble getting your child to play ‘I Spy’ when you are out and about? For some children, there are way too many options to choose from, and this can be overwhelming. Try playing ‘I Spy’ when reading a book, playing with some toys or figurines, or when pausing a movie. This provides your child with a set number of options to choose from, and can make it easier to guess items, and to choose targets when it is their turn.

What is your favourite way to play ‘I Spy’? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!