Make a simple outdoor learning game with Nature I-Spy.
We love a good game of I-Spy at the Busy Toddler house. It’s one of our favorite toddler activities and a go-to during “waiting times” (restaurants, doctor’s offices, stop lights). But sometimes, it’s fun to create a more targeted I-Spy game and that’s how “Nature I-Spy” started at our house.
Setting up a Nature I-Spy game is easy and free.
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- Tray (this wooden tray is from the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Beginner Band Set)
- Items from nature
I walked around the yard looking for items that would be perfect for I-Spy (and would fit in our beloved wooden tray). I wanted a mix of sizes, shapes, colors, and object-type for a really good round of I-Spy.
What I loved about this simple activity is that it gave my toddler and me time together to really inspect nature. I was able to throw out some vocabulary terms and introduce concepts in a real-world setting (“I-Spy something with NEEDLES!”). We noticed that rocks come in different colors, flowers have different petal counts, and not every leaf looks the same.
All that learning in a fun little round of I-Spy? Why yes please!
Sample “I-Spy” phrases that I used during our game:
- “I-Spy something that’s wood”
- “I-Spy a pair of leaves”
- “I-Spy bark”
- “I-Spy something dead”
- “I-Spy blades of grass”
- “I-Spy fern leaves”
- “I-Spy a flower with four petals”
- “I-Spy something with a stem”
- “I-Spy something with pollen”
Not every term was something my toddler was familiar with right away so we talked about them and set it up for future rounds. We went back and forth being the “I-Spy person” and had so much fun in this one on one activity.
Playing this nature I-Spy game with my toddler was a terrific take on the old classic and a fun way to connect outdoors. Try playing this with items in your yard to grow and expand your toddler’s understanding of nature.