With my Little Toddler Eye...
Preparation time: None! (Although 'I Spy' can make good use of a few colorful props. See our 'Tips' section below for some ideas.)
Clean-up time: None! This toddler activity is completely mess-free!
Game Duration: As long as you like, but generally between 5 and 15 minutes. (Warning: Older toddlers and preschoolers may insist on playing for much longer than 15 mins. If you tire of the game, try 'spying' a distraction (ex: delicious cookies!) and then start another activity!
What you will need: This is a truly versatile toddler game and can often be a real life-saver. It can be played anywhere, anytime. (Exception: Is it pitch black? Can't see anything? Then you're out of luck. Chances are, though, if it's that dark, you all should really be sleeping. You can play first thing in the morning!)
How to Play:
Set yourself up in front of your toddler. Lay a blanket or towel down to be a neutral background between yourself and you toddler, and place an object on the background (hide the others behind your back). Make a "spy glass" with your hands and place them up at your eye and say:
"I spy with my little eye..."
then point your "spyglass" in an exaggerated way to the object
"...something that is GREEN!"
Then ask your toddler what it is and repeat what they say adding that it is green. For example,
Toddler: "That cup!"
You: "Yes! A green cup!"
For toddlers who are not yet speaking many words you can provide the words for them, while still respecting what they do say. For example,
Toddler : "da da BA!"
You: "Yes! That's a green cup!"
Continue to introduce objects one at a time until your toddler is done playing.