If you have ever taken a long car trip with children, then chances are you have played the innocent, although often annoying, game called, “I Spy with My Little Eye.” The game requires one person at a time to pick out an item or object and then give hints to the other players to see if they can guess what it is.
The fun, little game can be a good way to help pass the time and a great tool to teach your kids to be observant and aware of their surroundings and to take notice of things that may seem out of place.
Play the game while you are driving, and ask your kids to make mental notes of the passing cars. What are the make, model, color and number of doors of the vehicle as well as any other glaring features such as out-of-state plates or bumper stickers?
As your children’s observation skills increase, push them a little further to see if they can:
- Identify any features of the driver or passengers.
- Count how many people are in the car.
- Remember whether each person is male or female.
- Memorize what each is wearing.
If you are at a gas station and the kids are restless, challenge them to make mental notes of what they observe going on around them. Also have them notice the number of people who are not paying attention to anything around them or anyone who may be following them. After you leave the station and drive down the road a bit, ask them to recount what they saw, and encourage them to give vivid descriptions.
Even though you are passing the time with the game, it also is teaching your kids some very important skills that could help them avoid becoming victims of a personal crime, or help them survive crimes if they happen to them.
It also teaches them to make mental images of people, places or objects just in case they ever witness a crime or are the victims of one. Plus, this simple, little game helps kids develop a keen sense of observation and awareness of what is going on around them at all times.
Being observant is one way to help your kids, and you, stay safe. When you pull into a large shopping mall or department store parking lot, take a look around; you soon will discover that very few people are aware of their surroundings.
Recently, while waiting to pick up a friend in a Walmart parking lot, I took notice of how many people—men, women, kids, teenagers and older people—were completely oblivious. Statistics show that criminals also are aware of how oblivious the average person becomes, especially during mundane activities. Helping your kids become aware of how unaware others are helps them develop a good sense of personal awareness now and in the future.
Playing games, such as I Spy, not only helps pass the time on a long ,boring road trip but also helps your kids improve their observation and memory skills. Not to mention, it may just be some early career training in case they grow up to be FBI profilers; then, they can look back and say a simple game helped develop their keen senses.
Have you ever played I Spy? Did you think about using it as a way to increase your observation skills? Now that you have seen what it can do for you and your kids, how do you plan to use it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.
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