Hidden Pictures

Hidden Pictures 1-450

I think I have no idea where to begin writing today. I have learned to just begin. I start with a sentence, a thought. An image appears in my mind and I begin to explore.

The process reminds me of Hidden Pictures, a game I play with my three-year-old granddaughter.

She and I look closely at an entire picture, using our eyes to find something out of the ordinary that does not fit in the context of the overall scene. I admit to her that real farm animals do not use hula hoops or have ice cream parties. Yet even in that drawing certain items do not belong. For example, once I found a banana in a horse’s mane, an envelope instead of a barn door. Each time we find a hidden object we locate the matching sticker on a separate sheet and place it over the no longer hidden image. We continue until we find all ten.

The more we play this game, the quicker she discovers the unexpected. I consider myself a master of finding pencils hidden in fences, houses, ladders, or rooftops. I know to look for linear shapes. She claims expertise locating tiny hearts disguised in clouds, trees or gardens. She knows hearts mean love. She also spots the mallet hidden in the stirrups and the worm in the horse’s mane while I miss them completely.

This activity takes time and at some point before we find all ten, one of us reaches a point of boredom or frustration. At that moment my granddaughter wants to look at the answer key in the back of the book for clues. I admit I showed her how to do this once when we could not find the last one.

Or since we both know the other will respond to a competitive challenge of who can find it first, often she issues the challenge and quickly identifies the most elusive image. I wonder how she does that.

While writing today, I realize something profound about this simple game. We use our eyes to intentionally look for the unexpected in a familiar scene and we rejoice with each discovery.

Just think about that for a minute.

Mentastics Minute

  • Take a minute to look at the objects in your everyday life, the items you see as a regular part of your daily scene. Find something unexpected.
    • Appreciate your discovery.
  • Use your eyes to intentionally look for the unexpected in any setting. For example:
    • the shape of the shadow across the lawn,
    • the number of branches on the tree you look at every day,
    • the few leaves that are still hanging on to that tree
    • Rejoice in the noticing
  • Appreciate with wonder this gift of eyesight.


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