May 15, 2013

Tutorial: "I Spy" Toddler Travel Game

One of my favorite ways to keep my toddler busy when we are out is to have him look for things.  When he starts to get a little restless I will say things like "can you find something blue?" or "look for some flowers" and he will quietly look around until he finds what I asked for.  This game works great in places with lots of stuff like a restaurant or grocery store, but not so great in other places.  I mean, how many times can your two year old find the coffee pot while you wait on your oil change before he decides mom's game is not so fun?

So I came up with this little game.  It is just a tiny little quilt made with some fabric scraps, but it can roll up and fit in the diaper bag and provide hours of entertainment!

For little toddlers, like mine, you ask them things like "can you find an apple?" or "point to a dinosaur?".  When they are a bit bigger, you can work on color recognition with questions like "can you find something red?"  If you use fabric with numbers or letters on it you can even work on letter or number recognition.  If your kids are spelling, you could try things like "where is something that starts with the letter L" or "find something that rhymes with rug".  Even older kids could have fun with this playing the traditional "I spy" game.

To make the game, you need:
  • 44 rectangles of fabric that are 3" wide x 4" tall with different objects on them (22 for the front and 22 for the back)
  • a rectangle of batting 28" x 8 "
  • a little over 2 yards of bias tape or binding
  • one rectangle of fabric 2" wide x 10" long 
  • a snap or velcro

Sew your rectangles into 4 rows of 11. Two row are for the front and two are for the back.  Press the seams of the two rows in opposite directions.

Sew the two front rows together.  Repeat with the two rows for the back.

Sandwich the batting between the rows and quilt some rows about 1" apart across the whole thing.

Fold the 10" by 2" strip in half and sew the long end and one short end.

Turn the strip right side out and press it.  Baste the raw edge to one of the short ends of the game.

Bind the raw edges or sew on bias tape.  Click HERE for help with binding.

Add one end of the snap or velcro to the end of the strap you sewed on.  

Roll up the game and wrap the strap around it.  Mark the position the other end of the snap or velcro should go then add it to the strap.

Roll up your game and throw it in your diaper bag.  You will be happy to have it next time your toddler gets bored!


  1. This is wonderful! The best part, for me, is having an excuse to buy a quarter yard (or fat quarter) of a print that's really, really cute (like yours, here) that you normally wouldn't know what to do with! And I like the open-ended way the game is played too. Since it's the rare shopping trip that would yield a sock monkey spotting, that picture can become a real or stuffed animal sighting - or a picture of one...very clever!

  2. This is so cute and a great idea for the car!

  3. Love the idea! Interestingly cute prints to keep toddlers away from boredom! :)

  4. Congratulations! This post was featured over at Diana Rambles on Friday and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest. Please grab a featured button off my sidebar or via the link under the features. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

  5. This is the coolest idea ever! This is WAY better than the Eye spy bottles or bean bags. Not noisy, and smaller and no choking hazard if the kid gets it opened! I am so making my son one of these for church, and this would be a great baby shower gift too! I love taking things that are different than clothes, and sometimes things that can be saved for an older baby/child! This could even be given to an older sibling when a new baby comes. I will need to start collecting a few more types of fabric!

  6. I love this! Thanks so much for sharing, it's a great idea - I made a version of it and posted it here if you want to see it: I can't wait until my little one is big enough to enjoy it. Amazing!

  7. This is a super idea and wonderful to look at. Nice work!

  8. That would be great if checked this site on mSpy app, becouse people need to stay informed. And protect their kids

  9. I love this idea. It is a great way to use scraps from other projects.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Love this idea and will be using it to finish off some eye spy blocks my mom was working on for a quilt before she passed away. The finished game board will go to a special baby and her mom. Thank you for the inspiration!

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