HomeYoung Learners"What do I spy?" classroom activity

“What do I spy?” classroom activity




Girl Examining FlowersThis activity has been taken from Vocabulary Activities , part of the Oxford Basics for Children series, and is intended for young learners age 7-12. The vocabulary activities in the book are based on the idea that children apply many of the same skills they used for acquiring their first language when they are learning a second language.

Activity (10-15 mins)

  1. Tell your class that you’re going to describe six different items in the classroom. Tell them the shape, colour and size of each item. They have to guess what you’re describing. Say this short rhyme before you describe each item:

    What do I spy? What do I spy?
    Way down low or way up high.
    Can you tell me what I see?
    It’s near you and it’s near me.

    It’s in this room.
    It’s small and round and red.
    What is it?

  2. When your learners want to answer, they should raise their hands.

    OK… Do you know what I’m describing… Yes, you have your hand up… The pencil sharpener on my desk?… Yes, that’s right!… Well done.

  3. When your learners have guessed all six items, ask them to get into small groups. Tell them to pick four things and prepare to answer questions from the other groups, as well as to guess what the other group’s objects are.
  4. When they are ready, tell them that:
    • each group has to say the rhyme before they give the clues
    • the group that guesses the correct object goes next
    • if no-one guesses the object from the size, shape, or colour, the group can give extra clues.


Ask your learners to give more clues in their first description. For example, they could say:

  • what something is made of: It’s made of wool, It’s made of plastic, etc.
  • what it is used for: You drink water from it, You cut paper with them, etc.
  • what sound the name in English starts with: It starts with ‘sh’.


Practise the stress pattern in the rhyme:

WAY down LOW

And in descriptive phrases, such as:

It’s ROUND and YELLow.
It’s BIG and SQUARE and BROWN.

Follow-Up Suggestion

Let your learners draw something they like and keep their drawings for the next time you do this activity. You can then ask learners to describe the objects in the pictures for the class to guess.

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