A couple of years ago we were taking our 1 and 3-year-olds on a trip to Disneyland with my husband’s family. His family loves to go in January when the park isn’t as busy which works beautifully except that we have to get there and back in winter weather. We got stuck in our smallish airport for hours waiting for a storm to pass, and the batteries started to run out on their movie player. We walked up and down the terminal several times, we ate, we looked out the window at the snowflakes and airplanes, but we still couldn’t leave.
Finally, we were sent to a large, circular, crowded boarding area where hundreds of people were sitting on every part the floor waiting to get on their flights. Then we waited another 1-2 hours, and this time there was no space to walk. So we played ‘I Spy.’ It was a bit tricky at first for my 3-year-old. She had a hard time guessing and I wasn’t sure she was really thinking of something while I was guessing. I decided to tell her what color the item was that I was spying. “I spy something Red.” Instantly she would look around the room for anything red. If she happened to guess something that was not red, I would teasingly remind her that the item was not red and encourage her to guess again.
It was a fabulous game. She was searching for colors, choosing colors, and getting an instant response on whether she was correct on her color guess and she was enjoying it. Before long I noticed the a little girl from the family sitting next to us watching us. I could see that she wanted to play so I invited her to spy along with us. Her mother told me later when we were leaving to board our plane that her daughter had whispered to her, ” I wish I had a mom like that.” Of course I was flattered, but it also deepened my appreciation of ‘I Spy.’ Any game that could make me look like an enviable mother, after getting up way too early in the morning and spending 4+ hours in the airport trying to keep 2 little children happy, was a good game!
A couple of other variations we play: Big or Small and Tall or Short.