Friday, October 23, 2009

I Spy Board

I'd like to you meet my I Spy Board:

Back story: I got a call from the YMCA asking if I'd like to set up a table at their Lights On Afterschool event. It would be for 200+ school-age students, so I pondered what to do.

We could do a craft, but for 200 kids that would be A LOT of supplies to cart around. After throwing ideas back and forth, my staff and I came up with the idea to create an I Spy Board.

I used some discarded books that we'd withdrawn from the collection and a bunch of product catalogs that we had in the recycling bin. I cut out pictures and collaged them on a piece of poster board. When I went to the event, I stapled the poster to a sturdy cardboard stand-up.

I created rhymes that tell the kids what to search for, like in the I Spy books. I discovered that I shouldn't have gone to the trouble because the kids were just interested in a list of what to search for.

It was a hit! I had kids stopping by my table, intrigued by the large picture of The Stinky Cheese Man that I had in the middle of the collage. Then they'd stay and search for a few minutes, often helping each other and working as a team. I had bookmarks and plastic spider rings (left over from a past Summer Reading Club) to hand out.

I love to be part of outreach events, but besides bringing crafts (which can be expensive and/or labor intensive for a large group of kids), I didn't know what else to bring with me. Now that we have our I Spy board, I'm sure we'll be bringing it on many events in the future! I love it because it's very portable, fun for the kids, and easy for one person to run.


  1. Abby, I LOVE this idea! I have been searching for something for our outreach events too and this is a great solution! Thank you so much for sharing your genius!

  2. We did an I Spy board from our mystery summer reading program. I think it's a great idea for outreach!

  3. This is such a good idea! Even not being in the library world right this moment, I'm probably going to "borrow" this idea some day, if not for library patrons, for my own kiddos!

  4. This is a fantastic idea!!!! We always do an I Spy for our display window each month, but I never would have thought it was something you could take on the road!

  5. I am going take this idea into the classroo by using book covers. I will have the kids 'spy' for books they have read or heard read as a way to get to know more about their reading experiences at the beginning of the year! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is a FANTASTIC idea! I'm going to remember it for our Community Arts Day in the spring.