Nearly every year at Thanksgiving, we make a trip to see family in Idaho. It's a 9-11 hour drive depending on the roads. My kids are not the type of kids that are content sitting in a car, strapped into their car seat for a long day. I've already started thinking about this journey and trying to come up with some activities to keep them busy without watching movie after movie.
I've seen I-spy bottles in the stores and I've seen DIY versions too. Of course, I am going to try to DIY instead of paying $20 for a store-bought version. I started with empty coffee creamer bottles. They're a little larger in size, so I can hide more stuff in them. Plus, I save our creamer bottles to use for various things, so I had a couple ready to go. I searched my house for a bunch of little trinkets. I used everything from pennies to dice to buttons to binder clips to jolly rancher candies to legos. Pretty much anything that was small enough to fit in the bottle I gathered up to use. Here is my super mom trick: My kids are little. They can't read. Making a list of things that are in the bottle isn't very useful, especially because I'm trying to create a quiet game they can do in the car on their own. So, I took a photo of each of the items before putting it in the jar. Remember this. Then I put all the trinkets into the bottle alternating with a 1/2 cup rice and 4-5 trinkets at a time. I used a total of 30 trinkets per bottle. I hot glued the lid to the top of the bottle and also hot glued the lid closed. I wouldn't want the rice and junk being dumped in my house or my car.
Enter the photos again. I uploaded the images to my local Costco and had prints made for each of the items. I made 2 bottles and they contained almost exactly the same items. There were a few different things in each bottle but mostly the same. I ordered prints of the images so each bottle had a full set of pictures of each of the items in that bottle. I trimmed the images to a smaller size, punched a hole in the corner and threaded onto a binder ring. Now mom or dad doesn't have to be involved with the game! (I get car sick and turning and looking into the back seat makes me incredibly ill.)
The girls can play the game in a couple ways. They can take their book of pictures and find each of the items from the book. Or, since the jars are nearly identical, they can race by flipping to an image and both trying to find the trinket at the same time. The second way does contain a little more involvement from me, but doesn't necessarily need to.
Hope this mini tutorial helps you come up with a good quiet game for your kids. The pictures are a great addition for younger children too. Spy away!!