Craft: Homemade I-Spy Game

We all know the usual “I spy” game that can keep kids occupied on long car trips.  I personally enjoy playing it with my daughter on the majority of our car trips, long or not.  However, I know that not all of us are willing or able to spend hours (or even half an hour) playing I-Spy.  There are I-Spy books which are great for many kids, but harder for younger ones to totally understand what they are looking for and can make some kids car sick.  Here I’m going to show you how to make your own I-Spy Container that kids can use at home or bring in the car to keep them entertained as long as it takes for them to find all they have hidden.

What you will need:

  • An assortment of small trinkets (minimum 10 per container, but more if you want your child to select their own trinkets)

  • Plastic or glass jars for the container, the size will depend on the child’s age or difficulty level you’re looking for (note that the containers must have lids that seal tightly or this won’t work; if the lids aren’t tight, make sure you have tape)

  • Rice

  • Camera, preferably a Polaroid one so they can start playing right away

What to do:

First have your child pick out ten items (or more, if you have a large container and eager child) that they want to look for.  Place them down on the ground or on a table (i.e., flat surface).  Take a picture of them.  This picture is your “cue card” so to speak which your children will use to know what they’re looking for.


Second, fill the container with the items.  Now add rice.  You want to fill it but leave approximately one inch of space at the top.  Without this space, there’s no room to move the rice and items around to find them.

Finally, attach the lid.  If it’s at all loose, make sure to add tape around it or even glue it (if you have no desire to open it again) to make sure it doesn’t unintentionally open and send rice flying around the car or home.


There you have it – your own homemade, solo version of “I Spy”.  If you have multiple kids doing them, you can set up tournaments and see whose takes the longest to solve on average, who solves them the fastest, which one items takes the longest.  In fact, there’s a lot you can do to make this a lesson in timing as well.  Or you can just let your kids enjoy the hunt!

By Tracy Cassels

May 19, 2014