Listening games

Hands on Learning: A Twist on the Traditional I Spy Game

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Remember how kids played I Spy before the days of Walter Wick?

Usually played on long highway rides during summer vacation, in those days it was you, a few siblings, and a sharp pair of eyes.  The object of the game was to find a particular object – a license plate with a particular number, a certain car model, or a landmark.

This listening game is like I Spy with a twist: instead of looking for a noun (car, doll, book) your child will look for an object that fits the description you give.

Let’s say, for example, that you choose the word “thin.” Your child’s job will be to find an object that fits that description. In doing so she not only learns new vocabulary words, but she learns to listen carefully and discriminate between the word thin and other words that are similar, such as “small” or “narrow.”


-index cards with descriptive words written on them

List A                          List B                                  List C

big           hot             broad      heavy               bitter        fragrant

small      cold            narrow     light                 sweet         odorless

rough     short          thick         soft                   sour             flat

smooth   tall             thin          hard                  salty          curved

How to Play:

1. Place the cards face down on a flat surface.  If your child is familiar with I Spy, explain that this game is similar to I Spy.

2. Ask your child to pull one card, and read it aloud for them.

3. Tell them to look around the room (or several rooms), and to try and find something that’s like the word on the card.

4. If your child is unfamiliar with a word or has difficulty, simply find an item in the house and show them how the word they drew fits.

TIP:  You can make this game harder by giving your child a set time to find the item in the house. If your child’s language skills are really weak, pair them with a sibling or a friend, and allow them to work as a team to find objects.

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Hands-on Learning Games: Help Your Child Be A Better Listener
How to Improve Your Preschooler’s Listening Skills with Antoinette Portis’ book Not a Box – Hands on Learning Games
  • Rachel May 11,2012 at 2:08 pm

    Glad you liked it! I try to give info that you won’t find elsewhere :).

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  • Rachel Feb 23,2012 at 1:27 pm

    Hey Bridgette! I’m happy y’all decided to stop in and say hello. No need to be shy..I LOVE to hear from my readers!

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  • […] moments, you can encourage a little more active cognition by challenging your child to an opposites game. Simply tell your child one word as she swings forward (and is at the height of her swing); she has […]

  • Rachel Jul 13,2011 at 8:59 am

    You’re welcome, Naomi.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Naomi Geffen Jul 13,2011 at 6:52 am

    As always, Rachel, your ideas are so creative, simple (“why didn’t I think of that?”) and very useful. I’m off to write out a set of index cards NOW. Thanks.

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