I Spy

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I Spy
Language - Language Foundation
Level Primary
Age 2.5
Prerequisites none
Materials a collection of objects on a mat
objects around the room

The purpose of this activity is to make children aware of the separate sounds (phonemes) that make up words.


Note: Do not use the letter names for these games. Use the sounds of the letters.

Beginning Sounds[edit]


This can be done with one or a few children. It can be a formal lesson that takes place at a table or a mat, or it can be done casually during the course of the daily activities (but of course, do not interrupt a child who is at work with another activity).

  1. For the child's introduction to the game, make the first clues as obvious as possible: "I spy some thing that starts with 'b' that you are holding in your hand."
    I Spy Intro.jpg
  2. Other ones to begin with are: "I spy something you are sitting on that starts with 'ch'," or "I spy someone who just came in the room whose name starts with 'j'."

With 2 or 3 Objects[edit]

  1. Step one
  2. Next step

With Several Objects[edit]

  1. Step one
  2. Next step

With Objects Around the Room[edit]

  1. Step one
  2. Next step

Ending Sounds[edit]

  1. Step one
  2. Next step

Middle Sounds[edit]

  1. Begin this step by going through the beginning and ending sounds as in the last step.
    I Spy Middle.JPG
  2. Next step

Points of Interest[edit]

Control of Error[edit]

This activity does not have any built-it control of error, it must be done with an adult or an older child.

Variations and Extensions[edit]

  • Once the child can do beginning and ending sounds, you could play the game using just ending sounds. One way to do this would be to use a collection of objects that all have the same beginning sound.
  • A version of the game could be played with objects that are not present: "I'm thinking of an animal that starts with 'b'."


The small objects used in this activity are also used in other language activities. It can be nice to have a large collection of these and then swap them out from time to time.
See the page on Miniature Objects for more information on putting together a collection of objects for this activity.

Make Your Own[edit]

See the Make Your Own section of the Miniature Objects page for information on how to make these objects.

Where to Buy[edit]

See the Where to Buy section of the Miniature Objects page