I Spy: A New Twist on an Easy Car Game

This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive.

Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent
Stash our paper towel roll telescope, some string and a sticker sheet in the car for an easy, last minute activity. This is perfect for those quick trips to the grocery store or home from ballet practice, when the little ones are jumpy and you need a quick solution to entertain their active minds.

This is how we roll…Paper Towel Telescope I Spy 3

Play this fun version of “I Spy” any time you need a quick distraction from the “are we there yet?” blues. Take turns guessing based on a color clue.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Is it a car, a cow or a crayon? The winner gets dibs on the telescope, adds a sticker, and makes the next pick!

Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Find out how to make our paper towel roll telescopes to play “I Spy” after the jump…

This is so easy, seriously. It will take you all of four minutes.

First, gather your supplies. You will need:
A paper towel roll
Construction paper or other colored paper
Glue (we like Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue because it really does dry fast)
Washi tape in fun patterns (Martha always does it right )
A hole punch and ribbon, string, or suede cord (which is what we used)
Optional: To add a fringe like we did (Scarlet insists this fringe does not impede her view and is necessary for maximum paper-towel-telescope-enjoyment), grab some French crepe paper, also known as double-sided crepe paper. We get ours at shopsweetlulu.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Now just cut some colored paper to the size of your paper towel roll, spread glue all over the wrong side, and wrap it around to cover the tube. If you aren’t using fast drying glue, go ahead and hold it in place with clothespins until it dries.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Now have your kid cover it in washi tape as they desire. Wrapping each end in a circle of washi tape then folding it over to the inside of the tube, will give their eye a nice soft place to rest. Also, be sure to cover the edges where your paper meets with washi tape as well for extra holding power.

Now I assume your child finds the fringe to be mandatory, correct? So to create it, cut a 4″ wide (or thereabouts, no reason to get to specific) strip of crepe paper long enough to wrap around your paper towel roll a few times. Fold it in half with long sides facing to create a crease, then open it up and run a stripe of glue down the middle. Fold it back in half and wait until the glue dries. Now, make small cuts with your scissors to create a fringe along the long edge. Run a stripe of glue down the folded side.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Go ahead and insert the fringe into your telescope, pressing against the inside edge until the glue has dried. Smash the fringe with your hand to flare it out a bit.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Now you can use your hole punch to create two holes on the opposite side of your telescope from the fringe. Run your ribbon or suede cord through the holes and tie to secure.

Since our “I Spy” game comes with the added bonus of STICKERS for guessing correctly, I stamped a muslin bag with alphabet stamps to write the words “i spy.”
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Now pack some colorful stickers and your telescope in there, throw it in the back seat, and be prepared for any sort of car-related meltdown on your next quick trip.
Paper Towel Telescope | Pretty Prudent

Happy travels!
Paper Towel Telescope I Spy 3

This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive.




Awesome idea! My son is super antsy in the car. We play eye spy all the time; this seems like an easy way to make it more fun. Thanks!


Thank you soooo much for this!!! My kids are beyond antsy in the car, my boy wants to talk about dinosaurs, my girl wants to talk about anything else, which always leads to arguing. This is going to solve my problem!!! Both of my kids are making their own telescope as I type this. Can’t wait for school pick-up today!


Great idea. I am always in the car and trying to keep my daughter patient is challenging. This way we can make it fun!!!!

Nancy Saccoccio

Another awesome idea for a school project before vacation and summer car trips, etc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *