I Spy Shadow Boxes

Just had to share this fun, environmentally friendly craft for all ages that my children have been continually making and playing with for months now. Using odds and ends from around the house or from your recycling bin, create a collage in a shoebox. Then use the collage to play “I Spy”, an all-ages game that most children never get tired of. Close the sheoebox lid and take it with you for an entertaining game while you wait at a restaurant, doctor’s office, or in the car.

Like in the national bestseller I Spy books by Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo , kids can choose a theme to create their collage around, or go completely random. Some ideas for materials include pictures cut from magazines, material scraps, shells, small toys left over from birthday party goodie bags or Happy Meals, stickers, foam letters or shapes, puzzle pieces, or anything you can think of.

I Spy clues can vary based on age, such as ‘I see something red’, ‘something that begins with b’, ‘something that rhymes with wish’, or ‘something you find at the beach’. The game can also be played in a 20 Questions format as well, where the guesser is only allowed to ask yes or no questions about the mystery object. Games such as these build thinking skills, and are more engaging to children when their own works of art are involved.

My kids made their first I Spy Shadow Boxes at the Raynham Public Library’s summer art workshop led by Lee Gullens, local artist and children’s book illustrator. If your children are interested in art classes, the museum offers Art Exploration, a drop-in for preschoolers on Friday mornings, and Judy’s Art Studio, art classes for children ages 5-18 held at the museum after school and in the evening. A local business recommended by Mrs. Gullens is Turtle Feet in Easton www.turtlefeetonline.com, newly owned by Kevin Hebb, which offers “art classes with an academic twist” for ages 3-12.

One final I spy idea: Another mom once told me when your kids do something that makes you want to pull your hair out, don’t scream… take a picture. Someday you’ll look back and laugh. So one day when my kids’ room was extremely messy, I went around taking pictures. We now use those pictures for playing I Spy on long car trips. And yes, it brings us lots of laughs.

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