I Spy Ice Cream

Summer is here!  My two favorite things are summer and ice cream.  What better way to honor these two things than a FREE I Spy Ice Cream printout!  Just because the kids are out of school, there is no reason to stop working on essential skills.  If you’re looking for a summer occupational therapy activity, then you are in the right place! Pair this I spy activity with our other ice cream activities for themed fun:

Free Ice Cream I spy page

Get the free Ice Cream I spy page by entering your email address into the form at the bottom of this page.

In fact, this is the best time, since they are not getting daily reinforcement at school. I have written before about the staggering percentage of information lost during summer holiday. Here is the latest research on the “summer slide.”  Using some tools in a Summer OT program like the I spy activity below is perfect because it’s seasonal, yet fun for kids. Summer work and review is especially important for students with special needs, or those who are more prone to setbacks.


The mere mention of the phrase “school work” during the summer, can elicit groans and refusals that can be heard down the street. Head your reluctant learners off at the pass by providing fun engaging summer activities. Create a binder or notebook with lots of the free downloadable worksheets we offer on the OT Toolbox.  Start by adding your email below get your hands on this I Spy Ice Cream PDF.

This great I Spy Ice Cream worksheet primarily targets visual perceptual skills, while also throwing some visual motor input in there.  As always, it can be adapted and modified to meet the needs and levels of many types of learners.

Visual Perception Overview

As a review, visual perception refers to the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see. This is not the same as visual acuity which refers to how clearly a person sees (for example “20/20 vision”). A person can have 20/20 vision and still have problems with visual perceptual processing.

Good visual perceptual skills are important for many every day skills such as reading, writing, completing puzzles, cutting, drawing, completing math problems, dressing, finding your sock on the bedroom floor as well as many other skills. Without the ability to complete these every day tasks, a child’s self esteem can suffer and their academic and play performance is compromised.

Visual perception can be broken down into seven different sub-categories:

  • Sensory Processing: Accurate registration, interpretation, and response to sensory stimulation in the environment and the child’s own body.
  • Visual Attention: The ability to focus on important visual information and filter out unimportant background information.
  • Visual Discrimination: The ability to determine differences or similarities in objects based on size, color, shape, etc.
  • Visual Memory: The ability to recall visual traits of a form or object.
  • Visual Spatial Relationships: Understanding the relationships of objects within the environment.
  • Visual Sequential-Memory: The ability to recall a sequence of objects in the correct order.
  • Visual Figure Ground: The ability to locate something in a busy background.
  • Visual Form Constancy: The ability to know that a form or shape is the same, even if it has been made smaller/larger or has been turned around.
  • Visual Closure: The ability to recognize a form or object when part of the picture is missing


After reviewing the visual perception overview, what skills do you think the I Spy Ice Cream addresses?  If you said sensory processing, visual attention, discrimination, visual memory, spatial relationships, and figure ground; you would be right! 

If the ice creams were different sizes, shapes, and directions, form constancy would also be addressed.  There are a lot of worksheets out there that do just that (see below for links!).

The directions for the I Spy Ice Cream worksheet instruct students to color each of the ice cream treats a different color, then find and color the matching items.  Lastly, they need to count how many of each item they found, and write it in the boxes.


As mentioned above, visual perception is the key skill addressed with this free PDF of I Spy Ice Cream. There are many other skills being worked on simultaneously:

  • Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing
  • Hand strength and dexterity – staying in the lines while coloring builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. 
  • Visual motor skills are combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  It requires coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
  • Sequencing – will your learner do the ice cream items in order?  Will they look for the easy and/or obvious answers first?  
  • Scanning – does your learner look in methodical order, or search in a haphazard pattern all over the page?  
  • Proprioception – pressure on paper, grip on writing tool
  • Counting/Learning Numbers – Count the items to understand number concepts in addition to writing them correctly.
  • Fine motor strengthening, hand development, and grasping pattern
  • Bilateral coordination – remembering to use their “helper hand” to hold the paper while writing is important for development.  Using one hand as a dominant hand instead of switching back and forth is encouraged once a child is in grade school, or demonstrates a significant strength in one or the other.
  • Strength – core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, head control, balance, and hand strength are all needed for upright sitting posture and writing tasks.
  • Executive function, following directions, attention, attention to detail, focus, sequencing, planning, task completion, neatness, impulse control, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance are all important skills to learn
  • Social function – whether working alone, or together in a group, you can address problem solving, sharing materials and space, turn taking, and talking about the activity

Remember, you can assess all these skills at once, or focus on one or two.  Some skills above will be addressed without your conscious knowledge, while other skills you can be directly focusing on.


The beauty of children is they are not all created equal.  This can pose a challenge as you try and provide activities for learners of all levels. Fortunately, most of our downloadable worksheets can be graded or modified in some way to meet the needs of different levels of learners.

  • Lowest level learners can point to the matching pictures without having to use motor skills
  • Middle level learners can use dot markers or stickers to match the ice cream, instead of coloring. They can also circle the matching pictures if coloring is too difficult
  • Higher level learners can elevate this task by writing an idea about ice cream treats, then create a story or memory out of this idea.  This turns into a multilevel activity to use during many sessions.  They can also draw about their ideas, or copy the designs.
  • Use other items to mark the matches like Bingo chips, pom poms, pennies, pieces of play dough, cereal, Legos, or whatever you have handy.
  • Laminate the page for reusability. This saves on resources, and many learners love to write with markers! Note: while some learners love to use wipe off sheets, others become upset they cannot take their work with them.  For those who want to save their work, consider taking a screenshot of it.
  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • Talk about the animals, describe their characteristics, and give context clues to help your learner understand why certain pictures match
  • Enlarging the page may be necessary to beginning writing students who need bigger space to write, or larger items to color.
  • Project this page onto a smart board for students to come to the board and write in big numbers.
  • Different levels or types of prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder
  • Learners can explore other games they could make using this activity 
  • Work in pairs or in a small group to address problem solving, turn taking, and negotiation skills.

can you believe there are still more ways to adapt and modify the i spy worksheet?

  • Sensory – add real ice cream treats to explore. Describe it in detail. Talk about how it feels, smells, and tastes, or what emotions it might evoke.
  • Executive function – hand the papers out with very limited instruction. Record how well your learners can follow instructions without prompting.
  • Social skills – sharing resources promotes social function. Talking about a themed lesson plan builds social skills.
  • Have students write on a slant board, lying prone on the floor with the page in front to build shoulder stability, or supine with the page taped under the table


Creating a folder or binder is a great way to pre-plan your summer activities or save them for next year. The OT Toolbox is full of great resources for you to explore:

  • Free Summer I Spy worksheet
  • Free Beach I Spy worksheet
  • Weekly Fine Motor Plan
  • Beach Therapy Kit -This Beach-themed Therapy Kit has everything you need to work on handwriting, scissor skills, self-regulation, motor planning, gross motor skills, and visual motor development…all with a Beach theme!
  • Color and Write I Spy – add more I Spy activities to your packet
  • Summer Memory game – Use the memory cards in writing prompts, sensory play, and fine motor work, too: Kids can color and cut the memory cards, copying the colors from one sheet to the other to really build visual memory and visual scanning skills. 
  • Fairytale Fine motor kit This Fairy Tale Fine Motor Kit, with almost 100 pages of fun fairy tale themed activities is sure to please princes and princesses everywhere! 
  • ABCs of Summer Learning
  • Become a member of the OT Toolbox and get unlimited access to new and exciting content!

Free Ice Cream I Spy Worksheet

To get this printable, just enter your email address into the form below. We’ll send it to your inbox so you can print it off from any device and from any location (school or home). This printable is also found inside The OT Toolbox membership club.

FREE Ice Cream I Spy

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    All this talk about ice cream makes me think about summer treats. I think I hear the ice cream truck coming!

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Work on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, scissor skills, and much more so that kids can accomplish self-care tasks, learn, and grow through play all summer long.

    This bundle is perfect for the pediatric occupational therapist who needs resources and tools to use in summer therapy sessions.

    The Summer Activity Bundle includes:

    • Summer Fine Motor Kit
    • Summer Writing Sheets
    • Summer Memory Game- perfect for playing Memory or using in sensory bins
    • Summer OT Packet ($20 value)
    • 180 Outdoor Sensory Diet Cards- for when your kiddo is “sooooo bored” or using in sensory diets
    • BONUS: Summer Sensory Activity Guide

    This is a digital product that will last all Summer long!

    The Summer OT Bundle is your ticket to sending the kids back to school in the Fall without worrying about the “Summer Slide”. Each Fall, kids need to catch up on areas that they’ve lost over the summer months. With the Summer OT Bundle, there is no worry about falling backwards. Use the materials to maintain and even grow motor skill development this summer so kids can thrive and jump into learning next Fall.

    Summer OT Bundle

    Free ice cream I spy worksheet