Looking for a fun vocabulary builder for young learners? Try these I SPY picture mats!
On a recent trip to the field museum, my three-year-old looked through the glass at a rhinoceros.
“Is that a unicorn?” he asked.
Later, when looking at a display of pumpkin seeds, a zucchini, and pumpkin pie, my husband asked him what was behind the glass.
“Peanuts, a cucumber, and pizza!”
My husband looked at me and noted, “I think we need to work on his vocabulary.”
The truth is that my older kids had stronger vocabulary at this age.
I read to them more, played with them more, and generally paid them more attention.
I love my little boy to pieces, but these days there’s less of me to go around.
The trip to the museum was a bit of wake up call. I need to be more proactive with my youngest.
Watch the video below to see what I created. Zip to the end of the blog post to download the freebie!
Grow vocabulary with I SPY picture mats
I created a set of six picture mats:
- Vegetables 1
- Vegetables 2
- Fruit 1
- Fruit 2
- Farm Animals
To play, I simply name the objects on the page (or give a clue to help my preschooler find them), and my little guy covers the objects with poker chips.
He actually asks for these … and his vocabulary is already growing!
You can use the I SPY mats however you’d like. I list four levels of play at the bottom of each mat. Each level gets progressively harder.
For example, on the I Spy Vegetables mat, the levels look like this:
Level 1 – Have your learner cover vegetables by their color.
Level 2 – Have your learner cover vegetables as you name them.
Level 3 – Give clues that relate to how we eat the vegetables. (Example: I spy a vegetable that we can make into a pie.)
Level 4 – Give clues that relate to the plants themselves. (Example: Which vegetable is the seed of a plant?)
Another way to play
My Three’s favorite way to play is to simply take turns naming the objects and covering them. It sounds like this:
My Three: “I spy corn.”
Me: “I spy a potato.”
My Three: “I spy celery.”
Use these mats with …
- Toddlers and preschoolers
- English language learners
- children and adults in speech therapy
Get your free I Spy picture mats!
Check out our bundle of vocabulary picture cards!
500 Vocabulary Picture Cards
These cards are ideal for vocabulary building with children ages 3-8, English language learners, students in speech therapy, and children with autism or other special learning needs.