Real-Toy “I Spy” Game

Many years ago, we created this I Spy toys game, using real life toys and manipulatives. It was a fun visual perceptual skills activity that is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids! Let’s cover how to make your own I Spy toys game and what skills this builds.

I Spy Toys Game

To set up your I spy activity, all you need is items you have around your home. We used:


DIY “I Spy” game with real toys… 

You have a lot of little pieces to toys, Little People, action figures, cars, trains…TONS of little THINGS all over the house, right??
Put all of those little bits and pieces to work and create your own I Spy game in your living room. 

Learning Concepts with “I Spy” game

The I spy books are so great for many early concepts for little ones…
I spread out a bunch of little objects on the white surface of our train table and started asking questions.  The big kids loved little riddles:
“I Spy with my little eye, a red form of transportation.”
The little kids (18 month old Baby Girl, and niece and nephew) just liked to explore the items.  I would ask them: “Can you find the cow?” 
They were able to grab it…and carry it off to chew away 🙂
There are a lot of different ways to grade this activity to meet the needs of different-aged kids…all in the same room.  Big Sister liked to copy down words and check them off as she found them.  (work on handwriting practice!!)
…she’s really into making check marks these days!
She also loves the game where she covers her eyes and I take something away. Then she has to figure out what’s missing.
For the younger set, grab all the items of the same color and concentrate on learning one color, or finding the object that is a different color.
This was a fun way to spend a rainy and cool afternoon. 

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to


1 thought on “Real-Toy “I Spy” Game”

Comments are closed.

More Posts Like This