I Spy with my little eye… winter is here! Are you looking for a way to keep your preschoolers or homeschoolers busy during cold and snowy days? This winter I Spy printable is perfect for those cold winter days when you are stuck inside. (Indoor recess, anyone?) Whether you are a parent or teacher I Spy games are a great way to introduce new skills to preschoolers without the ‘work’. Learning through play is often the most effective way to teach new skills. Grab this free printable for your kids to enjoy during your winter theme and forget about the cabin fever that is soon to set in!

– Life Over C's

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Winter I Spy Printable for Preschoolers:

  • Laminating Supplies
  • Cardstock
  • Scrapbook Paper Trimmer
– Life Over C's pages of the I spy printable game with winter themed pictures

Getting started with I Spy is so easy! Even if you have never played it before, you will be ready to play in just moments with these simple instructions.

How Do I Play I Spy?

How to Play I Spy with Preschoolers

The directions for playing I Spy are simple enough for even the youngest players to grasp right away.

One player is chosen as the first “spy”, secretly chooses an item and makes the statement “I Spy with My Little Eye… (insert a clue about the object).

The other players take turns making guesses to identify the object.

If the players who are guessing are having a difficult time guessing the object, the “spy” can offer additional clues about the location, size, etc.

The person who guesses the object becomes the next “spy” and chooses an object of their own.

Why Should I Play I Spy Games with Preschoolers?

Look, I get it. There are a million different ‘preschool games’ to choose from. Even more nursery rhymes, fingerplays, and an abundance of learning activities to use.

Sometimes, new is good. Like newly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils.

But many times, a classic game, such as I Spy, that has stood the test of time, is just what we need to support toddler and pre-k learners.

We can also take those classic games and give them a new twist, like we have done with our I Spy “Flip” Board Game series here on Life Over C’s.

Check out our Winter I Spy “Flip Board Game.

Modifying the Game for Differently-Abled Players

While many of us will have no problems with the general guidelines of the game of I Spy, we have a daughter with special needs and that has led us to make modifications over the years to ensure that she enjoys playing and that the game is still beneficial at her skill level.

Ways to Differentiate I Spy Games:

  1. Choose a color and the person guessing finds ANY object that is that color (not a single specific object.) For example: “I Spy with My Little Eye… something blue” answers could be someone’s eyes, the sky, a blue bicycle.
  2. Line up several objects on a table and choose one of those objects to ‘spy’ to limit the possible guesses.
  3. Use dry erase markers to mark objects on a laminated gameboard as they are found.

What Skills Can I Teach with I Spy Games?

Much like the original I Spy game played by families in Victorian England, we can use I Spy to teach any number of skills by simply changing the focus of the game.

I Spy Game Skill Adaptations:

  • Focus on Beginning Sounds: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something that starts with /w/”
  • Learn Real World Shapes: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something that looks like a triangle”
  • Explore Positional Words: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something that is under the table”
  • Practice Color Recognition: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something that is blue”
  • Textures and Describing Words: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something that is fuzzy or big or tiny”
  • Build Thematic Vocabulary: “I Spy with My Little Eye…. something red and white on the Christmas tree”

What other adaptations can you think of? Let me know in the comments below!

Where Can I Play I Spy Games?

One of the reasons I Spy is such a perfect game is that it can be done anywhere.

Unlike other activities for kids that require a special setting, supplies, or preparation, I Spy doesn’t have any of those limitations.

Which can make it the perfect time-filler for transitions. Lining up for recess can be so much easier when the kids are focused on a game.

Places to Play I Spy:

The verbal version of the I Spy game is just right for:

  • Driving in the car to avoid ‘Are we there yet?’
  • Taking a nature walk to notice new seasonal surroundings or identify plants
  • Waiting in the doctor’s office
  • In the kitchen while making lunch
  • Before bed to calm down and focus
  • Rainy day activity
  • Class party
  • Family night

Seriously, anywhere.

And you need no preparation to play. Which is every preschool teacher or busy mom’s dream.

Printable Versions of I Spy Games for Preschoolers:

While I Spy is extremely versatile, sometimes we need kids to be able to occupy themselves while we are busy or during transitions throughout the day.

Printable I Spy games for preschoolers are a great way to focus their attention on a specific skill and keep the novelty of the game alive and well.

Here on Life Over C’s we really love I Spy!

Get more I Spy Games Here:

35+ I Spy Games

50+ I Spy Games in the Life Over C’s Club – Exclusives Included

 Using the Free Printable Winter I Spy Game with Preschoolers

Materials Needed for the Printable Winter I Spy Game:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Laminating Supplies (optional)
  • Dry Erase Marker (optional)

Preparing the Game:

Getting the Winter I Spy Game is very simple. All you need to do is print the full colored version.

Of course, you can laminate the pages to make them last if you want to use them with more than one child.

Other options:

  • Use a page protector in a binder
  • Use a dry erase pocket
– Life Over C's Image showing the two pages of the winter theme I spy printable game.

How to Use the Winter I Spy Game for Preschoolers

This I Spy printable game is really a preschool counting activity disguised as a game for kids…

Choose a picture on the recording sheet and have your child count how many of each picture that they find. Then, write the number in the box on the recording sheet.

Add this I Spy activity to your winter theme lesson plans to practice counting and build basic math skills.

Tip for Using the Winter Themed I Spy Game:

If your child has a hard time keeping track of counting while locating the pictures, have them place a pom pom, game marker or bingo chip on each item as they find it.

Then, go back and count the physical objects.

It may also be helpful to cross off each picture as it is counted.

This season forget about the cold outside and have some fun with a free Winter I Spy printable game! Then, extend the game by playing I Spy out the frost covered windows on a snow day when you’re desperately searching for screen-free activities!

Or for more activities for preschoolers, grab our Winter I Spy ‘Flip’ Board Game for some fast-paced I Spy fun!

Get 35+ Winter Themed Math & Literacy Activities in One Bundle

Included in the Winter Math and Literacy Pack:

  • 2 Sets of Number Mats (empty ten-frame, filled ten-frame)
  • Beginning Sound Match Up
  • 4 Sets of Clip Cards (color, ten-frame, array, shape)
  • Winter and Summer Clothing Sort
  • Class Set of Ten-Frame BINGO
  • 2 Graphing Dice Games
  • 2 Spinner Graphing Games
  • Line Tracing Cards
  • Line-Up Puzzles for Counting to 5 & 10
  • 4 Matching Games (picture, number, alphabet, rhyme)
  • Missing Number Cards
  • 3 Levels of AB Patterns
  • Winter Play Dough Mats
  • 2 Sets of Counting to 10 Puzzles (array, ten-frame)
  • Roll and Count Mats
  • 2 Sets of Sorting Activities (shapes and big/small)
  • 5 Spin & Cover Games (1-5, 6-10, shape, picture)
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • 4 Sets of Tracing Cards (uppercase, lowercase, number, shape)
  • Visual Discernment Clip Cards
  • Trace, Write & Draw the Room
  • Ten-Frame Cards

I Spy “Flip” Board Games

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– Life Over C's vertical image of winter free printable I spy game
– Life Over C's Image showing a free printable winter I spy game for kids.
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– Life Over C's Winter prek math and literacy lessons counting alphabet sorting shapes
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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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing with us on Good Tips Tuesday. We are sharing this as one of our featured posts this week.