I Spy

I Spy is great to play as an ESL game. Kids are excited when they get a chance to lead the game and pick the object that they “spy”. It also gives every child a chance to practice asking questions.


Target English: “I spy…” or “I can see”; colors; “Is it a…”
Things You Need:nothing
Age: 6 or older (Younger kids may be able to play this game, but may have a harder time picking out objects. In this case you may want it to be more teacher-led.)
English Level: any

Game Outline:
1. Before playing the game, make sure the kids understand the “Is it a…” structure. To do this, show some vocabulary cards and ask the “Is it a…” question. Be silly with this. For example, show a picture of an elephant and ask “Is it a banana?” Let the kids practice this structure a bit.
2. Kids should now be familiar with the structure. Look around the room and say “I spy…something blue!” For the first time, pick something obvious.
3. The kids should understand that they need to ask a question such as “Is it a chair?” They may try to just say the object that they are guessing without using the question phrase. Make sure that they ask it as a proper question. They can take turns asking the question.
4. When a student guesses correctly, it’s their turn to pick something in the room.


  • It’s your choice whether you want to use the traditional “I spy…” words of the game or switch them to something that’s more practical, such as “I can see something red.” Many ESL teachers believe that it’s more useful to go with the practical language.

Hope you and your kids have fun with this game.

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