Have you ever wondered why kids love to play “I Spy“? In fact, it’s even fun for adults! It must be the thrill of the search. For me, it’s fun to hear how kids’ clues evolve over time, becoming more complex as they gain language and problem-solving skills.

The Button 2D Shapes and Colors “Flip” Printable I Spy Game doesn’t require clues, but it does demand fast-paced visual scanning, which makes it super engaging, competitive, and full of laughter, grins, and groans as children try to quickly spot each different type of button on their card.

– Life Over C's Button-themed I Spy board game to practice 2d shapes.

Recommended Grade Level:

2D Shapes Flip Game Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Scissors

Learning About Visual Tracking:


Visual discrimination activities, like puzzles, sorting, and ordering are important to healthy development. These fun games for kids will later transfer to important literacy skills, like identifying letters, reading, and writing.

This “I Spy” game printable adds a fun twist to a classic game by encouraging kids of all ages to search their card for specific shapes in a matter of seconds.

Older kids can even be paired with younger kids to enjoy this game because the only requirement is eye sight! Siblings and friends of all ages can pair up, play in a group, or even play alone to gain visual acuity.

“I Spy” games are so versatile, they even fit into the category of occupational therapy games or speech therapy games to help children with special needs.

The free printable “I Spy” flip game also covers important content! The cards include 10 shapes: circle, diamond, square, hexagon, rectangle, heart, flower, star, oval, and triangle.

That’s not all! Colors include: blue, green, yellow, brown, pink, red, black, gray, purple, and orange.

Plan this fun indoor activity any time!

  • While lunch is being prepared
  • During a snowstorm or rainy day
  • After a classroom activity or assignment is finished
  • On road trips
  • As a boredom buster when the whining begins

In addition to exercising a child’s visual discrimination, the shapes and colors “I Spy” game improves:

  • Working memory
  • Recognizing objects that are small, medium, or large
  • Shape recognition and vocabulary
  • Tracking skills
  • Color recognition
– Life Over C's I spy game board and shape picture cards. The I spy shape pictures are colorful buttons.

What Social Skills Can Preschoolers Learn?

  • Turn-taking and patience
  • Positive communication
  • Resilience after a loss
  • Cooperation
– Life Over C's I spy game board and playing cards featuring colorful 2D shape pictures.

Why Is It Important For Kids To Practice Visual Skills?

Besides the fact that kids love the intrigue of games like hide-and-seek and I Spy, there are valuable educational reasons to keep playing games and going on treasure hunts! All of the following skills come into play later, when children learn to read.

Develops Focus

In order for children to be successful in spotting the correct shape, they must practice focusing on the card that is flipped, as well as then finding it on their own card.

Develops Visual Recognition

To be successful with the I Spy “Flip” game, children must recognize characteristics to quickly find a specific object. They have to recognize colors, shapes, and other distinctive features to locate the picture.

Improves Short-Term Memory

Processing data quickly is a product of short-term memory. Using short-term memory ultimately strengthens long-term memory and the ability to recall information at a later time.

Sharpens Cognitive Sorting

A child’s brain needs to sort information about each shape as it is drawn in order to narrow down where the specific match is. If the child flips a card with a red star on it, they must quickly sort which pictures are the color red.

– Life Over C's Game board and picture cards for the shape I spy game.

“My multi-aged group loved this even more than I thought they would! “

My kiddos love this! I use it for early finishers or in the morning while they are staggering in during breakfast. They are very engaged and enjoy playing!

How To Use The Activity:

  • Choose your option below to get the printable pack.
  • Print, cut out, and laminate the activity for durability.

Using the “Flip” I Spy Game

Choose how many players will be participating in the game. Make sure to explain how the game is played and possibly model how to play it for them.

Once the posters are laminated, there are many learning activities you can use them for, including using dry erase markers.

How Do I Play the I Spy “Flip” Board Game?

Playing this I Spy Board game is simple.

  • Choose your I Spy game board.
  • Divide the cards evenly among the players.
  • Place the cards face down on the table.
  • All players flip their top cards at the same time.
  • Race to find the picture on your card first.
  • Whoever finds their picture first wins a token.
  • Play continues until the playing cards have all been used.
  • The player that has the most tokens at the end of the game is the winner.

Extend the Activity:

Sorting Cards

Use the image cards to practice sorting shapes, colors, or sizes.

Color Words

Introduce color words by creating header cards with each of the colors included and ask kids to sort the shapes below the appropriate color word.

Language Therapy

Turn it into a game for a speech therapy session by asking the child to spot something on the mat and say, “I spy a…!” Then ask them to pose a question, “Can you find a…?”

I Spy Game

Use the I Spy pages to play traditional I Spy. Start the game with, “I Spy with my little eye…” and engage the children with verbal cues to find the matching picture.

Extend the I Spy Activity

Extend the learning into Math by having children count and graph each specific shape on their own mat. Since everyone’s mat is different, they can compare graphs when done.

Use Sorting Buttons

Use the I Spy pictures in other activities, like sorting real buttons onto the mats, or use the button cards as headers to sort buttons or other objects by shape or color.

Focus Skills

For I Spy “Flip” Board Game:

visual discrimination visual scanning working memory partner play Language Development cognitive sorting counting hand-eye coordination

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– Life Over C's Button-themed I Spy board game to practice 2d shapes.
– Life Over C's 2D shape buttons theme I spy game for kids.

2D Shape Button I Spy “Flip” Board Game Set

10 Game Boards

40 Playing Cards

Non-stop FUN!

or Purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers

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– Life Over C's I spy game for kids to practice 2D shapes and visual discrimination.

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author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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