Challenge your friends and family to a game of WV State Parks "I Spy"

“I spy with my little eye, something that begins with…” Kids home from school and bored? Challenge them to a game of “I Spy.” You can play this classic children’s game anywhere you like, from a state park to your own back yard or neighborhood.

Get started with these prompts.

I spy something wild that blooms

The cheerful little Jack-in-the-Pulpit wildflower grows in rich woods throughout West Virginia and emerges in spring. It’s easily identifiable by its pouch-shaped, reddish-purple spathe (“pulpit”) and overhanging hood that surrounds the finger-like spadix (“Jack”).

I spy something that peeps

Put your Easter baskets away — not that kind of peeps! Spring peepers are nocturnal amphibians that hang out in wooded areas and grassy wetlands near ponds and swamps. To identify these chorus frogs, look for the dark lines that form an X on their tan or brown backs.

I spy something spongy

The morel is a wild mushroom that grows in West Virginia forests from mid-April to mid-May. The conical-shaped caps of these mushrooms have ridges and pits that give it a honeycomb appearance. While these mushrooms are edible, don’t pick them unless you have the property owner’s permission. And don’t eat them unless the species can be verified by an expert in wild foods foraging.

I spy something wet

Spring rains often mean the streams and rivers are running high, and that’s the best time to view waterfalls at their best flow. You can find waterfalls at most state parks, such as Twin Falls, Pipestem and Holly River. Parks aren’t the only places where you can find these beautiful natural wonders. All you have to do is follow a stream and you’re sure to find water dropping off a rocky ledge somewhere.

I spy something man made

The iron furnace at Coopers Rock State Forest and the remains of the old sawmill and gristmill at Valley Falls State Park are prime examples of what happens to abandoned structures when nature takes over. Take a walk in the woods and you might stumble upon an old cabin or a stone fence from a bygone era.

I spy something that looks like an animal but isn’t

The forests are full of big boulders that resemble all types of animals, and Kanawha State Forest is home to one of the most notable ones. Alligator Rock is actually two slab-like boulders that resemble the gaping jaws of a gator. Use your imagination and see what other animals you can see in the rocks and boulders around your neighborhood.

I spy something that helps you meditate

Time spent in nature is good for the soul. Where do you feel most at peace? Perched on a rock beside a rippling stream? On a mountaintop watching the sun set? Or maybe just lying on the grass watching the clouds drift by. Find your special spot and take time to relax and soak up the sun and fresh air.

What other other objects of nature or history can you add to this list Compile your own list and challenge your family to a game. Or send your list to friends to see how many things they can find near their own homes.

Ready, set, go!

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