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"Children do not need to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world than anyone else could make for them." John Holt

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Homemade I Spy Books


Do your kids love I Spy Books? Did you know with just a small amount of effort and a scanner/printer you can make your own personalized I Spy Books? Well, this morning that's what me and my daughter did.

1. Gather random things from all around the house. Flat items work best because you are going to need to be able to shut the lid on the scanner. (This may be a fun way to keep your little ones busy, give them a bucket and tell them to go and gather toys and who knows you may even get to go to the bathroom alone!) Some things we found that worked good: cards, photos, temporary tattoos, game pieces, jewelry, coins, nails, screws, spoons and cds.

You can add as few or as many items as you want on a page. Older kids will enjoy lots of items as there are many different things to look for. You can group the items as a theme, like different coins or just put a bunch of random things together.

2. Scan and print the pages. This is where the kids will enjoy trying to arrange items on the scanner and seeing how many items they can fit on a page. As a bonus note, teaching kids to use the scanner means that the next time your busy and they need a copy of a workbook page or coloring sheet they will know how to scan and print them themselves.

3. Put together your book and write a list of things to find. We stapled our pages on construction paper but there are as many ways to put together a book as there are items to add to it. So far we have just been looking at the pictures and telling each other what to find but I am going to write down clues later so my daughter can enjoy using her book on her own as well. If your child has an older sibling they may enjoy writing down the clues.

4. Enjoy!  As I was stapling the pages to construction paper I got to thinking, hey this might be a fun way to do scavenger hunts with little ones. You already have scanned items from around the house on a page now all they have to do is grab a page and go looking for the items!

When we get our book put together it will have about 8 pages but I am sure we will add to it as time goes on. This is also a great homemade gift that kids can make for their younger brothers, sisters, or counsins.

Here are a few of our favorite pages:

Coins from around the world:

Random household items:
More random items:
Phonics tiles:
The phonics tiles are great for learning to spell words. You could also use Scrabble letters for kids learning their letters, or dice for picking out numbers, etc.