A favorite game we invented last year we named "I see..." It's a lot like I spy... but without the guessing. I love this game because we can play it anywhere, inside or out, and it has helped to avert many tantrums! It started when I was pushing Sammi in the swings at the park. We were swinging in silence. To break the silence I said to her, barely two at that time, "I see trees" and she responded "I see trees, too!" We proceeded to name all the things in the park.
The next day when we played it she didn't copy what I said, she found her own things to see! After about six months of playing this game, whenever we are driving in the car and it's silent she pipes up "I see ..." We were driving home one day and as we came around the corner onto our street Sammi said, "I see our mailbox!" I'm always impressed with the details she spots out the window that I miss because I'm looking at the road.
This game also helped us a lot as we drove from Utah to Tennessee. We went through lots of different landscapes and it was fun to find new things and familiar things. We also used it as a way to help her identify the country from the cities we passed through.
While this game is a lot of fun and helps time pass more pleasantly, it has some benefits to development as well. "I see..." is a great way to build a young child's vocabulary. You are naming familiar objects for your little one and, in many cases, the child is repeating and thus learning the names of these objects. This game also develops little ones' awareness of the world around them. Developmentally toddlers are fairly self-centered in their awareness. Through this game they start to broaden their view of their world by looking beyond what is within their reach or what is affecting their immediate situation.
What do you see?