I was a fan of the Michelin i-SPY books when I was little and I’ve bought a number for my children; I even included i-SPY On a car journey in my Car Games for Long Journeys post.
So I was happy when Collins told me about a new range of titles for the series. I picked three to review with my daughters and we’ve been using them loads since they arrived.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, the pocket-sized books all have a different theme, but same premise: you spy something, you tick off what you see as you go and you get a score for it (5 points through to 50 points according to how common/rare your spot is). When you get 1000 points you can apply for a certificate and badge.
The books really encourage children to look around and take notice of their surroundings and environment and provide a great on-going challenge.
i-SPY Wild flowers
We’ve been on a number of walks during the Easter holidays and have spotted lots. There was plenty of Gorse when we went on the National Trust trail at Headley Heath; in the wetland area of Morden Hall Park I found out that what I’d always thought were mutant buttercups were in fact marsh-marigolds, at Hampton Court we spotted an array of wild flowers and we also discovered that the banks of motorways were a haven for them, particularly primroses. We even got a ‘top spot’ with Green Alkanet in our own garden!
The book is colour-coded so if you spot a white, yellow, blue, pink… flower you can skip right to the appropriate bit in the book. This makes it nice and easy to use and the pictures are clear so everything is easy to identify. There is also a brief written description to make extra sure you’ve got it right. It’s also all indexed. There’s a fact file about each including info on when it flowers, where it’s found and what its scientific name is.
There are also some wild flower questions included so you can amass bonus points if you answer correctly. This one was my favourite of the three books.
My daughters have always been interested in different flags and particularly love spotting the Devon and Cornish ones when we’re travelling in the southwest, so this one was ideal.
The book contains over 140 flags and there is a nice little fact file on each country with details on the capital, languages spoken, currency, population and county’s size. All the countries are indexed too.
We’ve found that flags are fertile ground for spotting. We’ve not only seen them outside restaurants and shops serving food and selling products from different countries, but also on the news, at the funfair, at currency exchange bureaus and even when watching the Bahrain Grand Prix! I’ll keep you posted on our progress in spotting the São Tomé and Príncipe flag…
This is my eight year-olds favourite of the three.
i-SPY Something beginning with…
I wanted to get this one to give us some inspiration and hopefully expand the repertoire of our traditional eye-spy game.
Arranged alphabetically, there are a great variety of items to spot for every letter ranging from an easy apple to a very difficult ‘top spot’ of zither.
It was the easiest book to navigate, very straightforward with no fact files or info and it really suited my twin five-year olds; it even helped with their phonics homework.
We found it was worth flicking through first to familiarise ourselves on some of the things we should be looking out for. However, if you spot things that aren’t included there are extra blank spaces at the back for each letter to record your personal spots.
Priced at just £2.99 each, I think they represent fantastic value for money. The girls are particularly eager to get their i-SPY certificates and badges, so their interest will be sustained. Easy to use and ideal for taking out-and-about or alleviating boredom, these were perfect for my daughters, who are aged between five and eight. I think they would suit any child from the age of three and I’ve certainly been enjoying spotting things too!
You can find the full list of new titles here. They are available now.