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Quick and Easy ‘I Spy’ Jar

How To Make an I Spy Jar

I love fun activities that help children learn and play at the same time. Imagine my excitement when I discovered  ‘I Spy’ jars. These jars are great to use in calm down corners, on long car rides, and for individual play. Not only are ‘I Spy’ jars great fun, they also help to strengthen children’s concentration, observation, and self-soothing skills.  What else could you ask for? And as an added bonus, they are extremely easy to make!

Making an “I Spy’ jar

color rice materials i spy


Materials you will need:
* Clean, clear jar
* Rice, small pasta, or other similar filler objects.  (Find directions here on how to make color rice).
* Small objects (i.e. small toys, pom-pom balls, foam numbers, foam letters, etc.)
* Hot glue gun or super glue


Step 1

three quarter full rice
Fill jar ¾ of the way full with rice or other filler. Make sure you leave enough space in the jar so objects can move around inside.

Step 2

put objects in rice

Add small objects to the jar.  My little one chose to also add gems to the rice to give it some sparkle.  Most of the toys she used were items that had no ‘home’.  Some were toys that came with fast food meals or  novelty items she received in goody bags from birthday parties.  I’m so glad I finally have a use for those trinkets!

Step 3

glue cover on
Seal jar with super glue or hot glue gun.  This will prevent the rice from spilling all over the place when they are being used.  Believe me, once you get rice grains on the floor, you will be stepping on rice grains for weeks to come.  Save yourself the headache and do not forget to secure the jar lid with glue.

Step 4

Shake your jar until the toys get mixed into the rice. Now you are ready to enjoy your ‘I Spy’ jar! Children will delight in finding  a new toy with every shake.  They can take turns with a sibling or friend trying to “spy” different objects, or they can choose to play alone.  You will be amazed at how long a craft like this can hold a child’s attention.

Activities for ‘I Spy’ jars

  • If you plan on using ‘I Spy’ jars with older kids, take pictures of the items you are putting in the jar.  Print the picture on photo paper or heavy card stock.   Challenge children to find the objects in a set time frame.  For example, tell them to see how many objects they can find in one minute.
  • Use it as a tool in a calm down center.  Instead of putting toys in the jar, write coping skills on plastic reusable ice cubes.  Instruct the child to do whatever coping skill he/she reads on the plastic ice cube.

Please feel free to share fun ways you use or plan to use your ‘I Spy’ jar!

If you like this post, you may also like How To Make a Calm Down Glow Jar.

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