Game name (and type): 'I Spy' (guessing game)
Alternative type: word games, speaking games

Handwritten description of the guessing game 'I Spy' written for Dr Dorothy Howard by John Williams, a student at Double View Government Primary School, presumably on 25 March 1955. Williams describes 'I Spy' as an indoor game played by any number of children. He writes that any counting-out rhyme can be used to determine 'he'. Williams transcribes his preferred method 'Counting Spuds': 'One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato, more'. Seated in a circle, children sing the rhyme repeatedly, eliminating a child each time the word 'more' is reached. The last child is pronounced 'he'. 'He' must select a visible object before reciting 'I spy with my little eye something beginning w...', in which the first letter of the item is listed. Players must guess the object, turning around if successful.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's games written to children's Folklorist Dorothy Howard between 1954 and 1955. Dr Howard came to Australia in 1954-55 as an American Fulbright scholar to study Australian children's folklore. She travelled across Australia for 10 months collecting children's playground rhymes, games, play artefacts, etc. This letter, together with the other original fieldwork collected by Dr Howard during this period, is preserved in the Dorothy Howard Collection manuscript files, part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC), Archive Series 3. The ACFC is an extensive collection documenting children's folklore and related research.

Physical Description

Handwritten game description in pencil on lined paper. Features borders ruled in red pencil; text printed on one side only.

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