Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Spy - Eye Spy Dollar Store Game

Children need hands-on engaging activities while learning and reviewing skills. When I create a game for centers, I think of how it can be differentiated to meet the wide range of learners in the early childhood classroom.  The best activities are ones that children beg to do over and over again and can be transferred into all areas of the curriculum.  Teach the procedures for playing, then let the learning begin.

I receive questions from parents and grandparents who visit my blog and want activities for working with their children at home.  This game would be easy to implement at home, as it can be used for reinforcing letters, sounds, sight words, word families, and math skills too.

I purchased the eyeball above from the Dollar Tree.  I didn't take a picture before I took them out of the bag, but here is what they look like on Amazon.  The Dollar Tree carries these during the fall, but if you can't find these you can use a googly eye too.  Amazon links are included below.


  1. Write the skill on the white sticker or directly onto the cups.
  2. Model how to play in whole group or small group setting.
  3. Have the children close their eyes.
  4. Place the eyeball under one of the cups.
  5. Chant, "Eye Spy, I Spy."
  6. Children open their eyes.
  7. Call on students one at a time to guess which cup is hiding the eyeball.
  8. Students read the word or the skill of the cup where they think the eyeball is.
  9. Students lift the cup to see if they are right
  10. Game continues until the eyeball is found.
  11. Repeat game again.

I purchased the cups shown in the picture ABOVE at the Dollar Tree too. They came in packages of 20 and were in the birthday section with the paper goods.  To store the game, stack the cups and place in a small tub or container along with the eyeball.  Or you can just stack the cups standing up and place the eyeball in the top cup.  Your children can:
  • Read the word.
  • Spell the word.
  • Use the word in a sentence.

The cups in the picture ABOVE are mini-sized cups from the Dollar Tree.  These come in packages of 20 and were located with the kitchen cups and plates. Notice how small they are in comparison to the eyeball.  It fits perfectly underneath.  These cups take up less room and work great for letters, words, and numbers too. Your children can:
  • Say the letter.
  • Say the sound.
  • Name something that begins with the letter.
  • Put the cups in ABC order first.


Your children can also work on reading word families.  The following are ways to address the skill but also change the skill for students who need remediation or a challenge.
  • Work on one word family at a time.
  • Work on two word families at a time.
    • Students can sort the word cups when finished.
  • Student says the sounds for each letter on the cup and then blends the sounds together to read the word.
  • Student names the letters on the cup. (REMEDIATION ACTIVITY for Letter Fluency Practice)
  • Student reads the word then changes it. (CHALLENGE ACTIVITY)
    • Student reads the word cat and changes it to cats (adds an s).
    • Student reads the word sat and changes it to sit (irregular verb), sits, sitting.
    • Student reads the word then thinks of a bigger word that has the word family in it, such as pat - pattern, fan-fancy, ban-banner, man-manners, fat-fatter, tan-tanagram.

  • Shapes
    • Name the shape.
    • Name an real world object that has the shape.
  • Colors
    • Work on color recognition.
    • Say the color.
    • Spell the color word.
  • Counting Dots
    • Count the number of dots.
    • Use sticker dots for subtizing or recognizing without counting.
  • Numbers
    • Work with numbers from 0-5.
    • Work with numbers from 0-10.
    • Work with numbers to 20.
    • Work with numbers to 100.
    • Work with numbers to 1000.
    • Say the number and tell whether it is odd or even.
    • Say the number and then give a math fact to make that number.
      • 5 could be 2+3
      • 10 could be 4 + 6
      • 20 could be 10 + 10
    • Write math facts on the cups.
      • Student solves the math fact.
    • Write 2 numbers on the cup.
      • Students says whether it is greater than, less than, or equal.
  • Children's Names
    • Use students' names or family names.
    • Children read the name.
    • Children spell the name.
  • Children's Pictures
    • Use students' pictures or family pictures.
  • Animal Stickers
    • Name the animal.
    • Spell the animal name.
    • Name the animal and the habitat.
  • Parts of Speech 
    • Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives
    • Read the word and identify whether it is a noun, verb, or adjective.
    • Say the word and use it in a sentence.
  • Vocabulary Words 
    • Read the word and then say the definition.


Children can play in pairs at center time.  One student hides the eyeball, the other person reads the skill and tries to locate it.

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  1. This is such a fun idea! Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Brilliant..!!!
    What a fun way of teaching..!!!
    Thank you..!!

  3. Thank you,
    It's interesting and useful :)

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog. Come back again!