I first saw an I Spy bag at a friends house. Although it was supposed to be a children’s toy, it fascinated me and I had to find each and every listed item before I could put it down. Then, a couple of years ago, our Relief Society made I Spy pouches for enrichment. I wasn’t able to attend, but I got the basic information and then created my own version. As requested, here is how I make these toys. Whether or not you share it with your kids is your own prerogative.
Here is the basic layout of the I Spy pouch. The pouch is made with three layers–two layers of fleece and one layer of clear vinyl (available at Walmart in the fabric dept). One layer of fleece has a hole in the center, the layer of vinyl is sewn to that fleece piece around the hole. Then, the vinyl/fleece piece is sewn to the remaining fleece, leaving a hole to insert the fillings.
The fillings may include beads (these are my favorite–so much variety!), foam shapes (you can make your own), card stock paper punches, ribbon, paper clips, a tiny picture of your child, puzzle pieces, legos, miniatures, beans, popcorn seeds, googly eyes, shells, little bells, small Christmas decorations, and confetti. Use your imagination! Look around the house. Visit your local craft store (Hobby Lobby often has beads on sale) to peruse the little stuff. Once you have a collection of tiny things, keep them handy. You may want to make a bunch of these–they are great, creative, thrifty gifts.
You will also need a big filler–doll beads or rice work well. While rice is obviously cheaper, doll beads do not disintegrate if the pouch happens to get wet! Use the 40% off coupon to get the doll beads–one bag lasts quite a while.
Okay, so now you have your fleece, vinyl, doll beads/rice, and the I Spy goodies. Now you need the details. How big or little do you want it to be. I have a couple of sizes–4″ x 4″ and 2″ x 2″. In the 4″ square, I put about 30-35 items for the child to find and about 3/4 cup of the doll beads. In the 2″ square, I put about 20 items and about 1/3 cup of doll beads. You don’t want the pouch to be very full. Little fingers need room to manipulate the bag to find the items.
Also, decide on the hole size you want. My 4″ pouches have a 2″ square hole (conveniently sized for when I make the 2″ bags). However, a friend of mine made her pouches with a 1″ square hole to make the searching more challenging. You can make the hole into different shapes too, just keep in mind that sewing the fleece on the vinyl is a wee bit slippery so you don’t want to do anything too complicated.
After you insert all the fillings, sew the opening up, trim any excess vinyl, and you have an I Spy pouch! To make it a little nicer, you may choose to include a list of what the child is to find. I like doing this because I forget what is in each little pouch. Just make your list, laminate it, attach it to a ribbon and securely sew it to the bag.
If you really get into this, you may want to have pouch themes: Christmas, outside, at the beach, etc. I would recommend making a few of these, especially the 2″ ones. This way you can slip a couple into your purse. By having a few different pouches, they will keep your child’s interest longer too.