I Spy with my Little Eye, according to this source, is relatively new – first cited in the Winnipeg Free Press in December 1937. This may surprise the many parents who find themselves blessing the elegance of this little word game every time they find themselves driving the kids somewhere, or just hanging around with the kids waiting some place for something.
As you so well know, it is also a popular picture game, and the inspiration for several significantly educational games, produced by a collaboration between Briapatch Games and Scholastic.
I Spy, Seeing Doubles is a card and dice variation of this wonderfully familiar theme. There’s a deck of 48, thick, oversized cards. Pictured on each card are three different objects. There are five large plastic dice. Four of the dice have pictures on them and determine what objects you are trying to find. The fifth die, the “Action Die,” presents different game variants.
Players divide the deck of cards between them and arrange their cards in a stack to create a draw pile. One player rolls the game action die. Players then simultaneously turn over the top card on their draw pile to begin a “Target Pile,” and roll their picture dice, hoping that their card will have one of the objects they see the picture dice. If they are successful, they turn over another card from their draw pile, placing it on face-up, on top of their Target Pile. They keep on playing until no match is possible, and then another player begins the next round, throwing the game action die to determine which variant to play. The first player to turn over all the cards in her Draw pile wins.
If the Action Die shows the “Seeing Doubles” icon, players can also look for matches on their opponents’ Target Piles, and discard their matching cards to their opponents piles..
The game is most definitely designed by people who understand kids and fun. Learning the game only takes a few minutes. Playing simulataneously keeps everyone involved. The game action die adds variety. And the challenge of matching images in two different contexts (die and card) remains visually and cognitively intriguing.
Recommended for 2-4 players, ages 5 to 10, the game proves to be as educationally appropriate as it is fun.