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I Spy Preschool Game

The local adult school has a series of enrichment courses and resources. Of the latter, the one we use most is the "Toy Lending Library". Yes, you got that right, a library of toys and games to play-the perfect "try before you buy"-e.g. if the Princess is still interested in something after the month-long loan period, that it has some serious staying power.

This month's game du jour is the "I Spy Preschool Game", by Briarpatch Games based upon the popular book series of the same name. "I Spy Preschool Game" can be played solo, child with a parent/teacher/leader, or in small groups (e.g. 2-4 children). While the title correctly targets preschoolers (2-4), the game can also reinforce prereading and basic literacy skills in kindergarten or first grade children (e.g. ages 5-6).

The game contains 24 sturdy cardboard cards separated into 12 matching pairs. The leftmost card of each pair contains the 'starter prompt' "I spy a" followed by 2 objects photographed and spelled out in words. These cards have an indention or 'slot' that match only with a 'tabbed' analog. These analogs contain a collage or array of objects, two of which are the objects illustrated on the slotted card of the pair. Thus there are 24 objects in all that can be identified and matched up to their equivalents on the tabbed picture cards.

The leftmost card also has a colored tab on the left edge. If a player places two cards with matching colors together (they are both 'slotted' cards, so they won't interlock as puzzles), the second object on each card will rhyme together. The game can be varied in several ways, amongst them, looking at the "I spy" card and then finding one or both objects on the picture card or the reverse (e.g. taking a picture card and finding the analog "I spy" card).

Playing several games with the Princess, we found that one of the objects on the slotted card is generally larger, more colorful, and in general, easier to find than the other. The three year old Princess was frustrated at first, but definitely became more engaged once she was able to match her first few cards. Repetition breeds success which in turn begets confidence and now the Princess can complete all twelve pairs in about 10 minutes. She loves the game, and "I Spy Preschool Game" will be hitting the table almost nightly over the next month. Will Daddy buy this game for his Princess? Probably not (he's a noted cheapskate arrrh ), but he will certainly put it on the 'renew for another month' hotlist
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