I Spy, Oh Waily style

A little while ago I was inspired to begin playing “I Spy” with Miss Oh Waily.

It is one of the early language games in David Gettman’s book.  For those unfamiliar with the Montessori approach to learning to read, it is based on phonics, so they teach the sound of each letter rather than the name.  The name is introduced later.

Miss Oh has had a wooden Alphabet Puzzle for absolute ages and so we taught her the names of each letter of the alphabet.  This was all well before I started to read and become interested in the Montessori way of doing things.   I also made a letter recognition game that you may have seen here using the computer and some of her magnetic letters, and this was also before I had a better understanding of the order of doing things.  Still, no real harm done.  Miss Oh knows a lot (if not all) the names of the letters, and now I simply need to focus on teaching her to recognise the sounds that go with them.

As it happens, just over the past week or so she has begun to show interest in writing letters, so I think it is time to do some more preparatory work on writing and reading.  I will post more on this preparatory work, as I understand it from what I have read, soon.

So, back to the I Spy… game.
Once she begins to learn the phonetic version of her letters I will be able to introduce the Montessori version of the game which uses the sound rather than the name of the letter.  In preparation for this I thought I would introduce the way I Spy… works with something she was already familiar with.  Colours.

So our version currently is “I spy with my little eye, something…green.”
After which we look around the room or wherever we are, trying to find things that are green.  Sometimes she can’t contain herself when she is waiting for us to guess, because we deliberately don’t guess correctly the first time, and she ends up telling us.  This is becoming much less of an issue, and the great thing about playing I Spy… is that she is also learning to take turns at a game.  She is showing great patience with this and has become very good at allowing others to be the I Spy-er.

I’m sure there are other ways to use this simple but engaging game.  Maybe I should work on an I hear with my little ear… game too.  She is always asking me “what’s that noise Mummy?”, so perhaps this would go down well too.

Does anyone have other fun games for toddlers that help stimulate their senses and their observation skills?  Inquiring minds would like to know.

4 thoughts on “I Spy, Oh Waily style

  1. Yes I Spy a brilliant game and easy to adapt as they get older into “something really tall” or “sounds like” and “starts with” and a great game to play in the car on long trips. Not sure about stimulating the senses, but more the imagination ….what Sam and I play at the moment in the car on the motorway is “guess what’s in the truck” ( a real boys game), but it is amazing how creative he is with his answers. Makes the trip home on the motorway really fast too, because there are an endless supply of trucks.


    1. Hi Amanda,

      I like your extensions of I Spy and I will definitely be doing the rhyming one when we start to work some more on Miss Oh’s language skills.
      I like the idea of “guess what’s in the truck” – in our household it would be “rubbish” or “recycling” since Miss Oh loves to watch both of them on Monday & Tuesday mornings when they do our road. (Both do our side on Monday, then come back and do the other side on Tuesday – so she gets a double dose.)

      By stimulating their senses, I meant, encourage them to use their sight & hearing (mostly) using I Spy and similar games. Montessori is keen on encouraging the use of all a child’s senses including the stereognostic, which I will try again with the little Miss soon.

      I’m just soooo old now that a lot of the games I played in childhood have been consigned to distant memory. I was hoping other, younger folk could help remind me of my childhood games. 😉


  2. Thanks for posting this Lynn and adding the comment Amanda. On our last long trip – to New Plymouth, we were running short of ideas to entertain Harley with so will start some eye spy versions and make use of them in the car for our next long trip to Ohakune. I like the “what’s in the truck” version – I should imagine we will get a lot of lawn mowers at the moment!


    1. Hey Heather,

      Those are long trips. I Spy will probably last you fifteen minutes. 😉
      I’m sure there must be a lot more of these travel-useful games, but I’m darned if I can remember any others.

      We wouldn’t get lawn mowers in the back of trucks, but each time we walk down the road into Onehunga we pass the Toyworld and some small person mentions the possibility that we could perhaps go in and get her a lawn mower.
      I think the similarity of the bright plastic ones we saw there when upgrading her ride-on car to a bigger ride-on motobike a few months ago, to our electric lawnmower must have been just too much to ignore.
      Her old Walk N Roll has morphed into a pretend vacuum cleaner now too. It must be a new phase of interest in all household tasks. 🙂


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