As a kid, the first hidden object games I played were in Highlights, a monthly magazine for children. I remember how excited I was when I started getting the magazine, a birthday gift from my grandparents. I could write the answers on the pages or cross out the hidden pictures I found because it was mine and not from a doctor’s waiting room.
These games are a way to aid memory and learning in a short time. Kids like me had fun looking for the objects without realizing we were honing these skills.
This all came to mind a few weeks ago when our cat Pip and I seemingly played our own three-dimensional hidden objects game while I was making breakfast.
If you are unfamiliar with these games, then you probably don’t have children. They are everywhere.
To this day, the most popular feature in Highlights is “Hidden Pictures.” Editor Christine French Cully told National Public Radio that the games are “non-negotiable — they’re in every issue.”
Scholastic, the educational book company, has a hidden object book series called “I Spy.” When Scholastic celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011, the Jean Marzollo books had expanded to include 42 million in 12 languages and an Emmy Award‑winning television series.
“Where’s Waldo,” a series of look-and-find books by Martin Handford first published in 1987, has sold more than 55 million books in more than 35 countries and 30 languages.
The Dayton Daily News has published a popular hidden objects game for more than 20 years. Liz Ball’s syndicated Hidden Picture Puzzles can be found on Tuesdays and Sundays in the Life section.
My adventure with Pip began innocently enough.
As I headed into the kitchen to prepare my usual Quaker Oats squares and sliced bananas with vanilla almond milk, Pip, always into something he’s not supposed to be, followed quietly. I say quietly because normally he’s right in front of me squawking about some injustice he has just experienced.
The pantry door had been left open as I would be returning the box as soon as I had finished pouring cereal into my bowl.
While putting the almond milk back into the fridge, I heard a rattling sound in the pantry. Figuring it was Pip, I grabbed my cereal box to return it and to fetch the gray-and-white feline.
But when I put the cereal back on the shelf, I didn’t see Pip.
A quick scan of the shelves revealed no furball. No squawking. No rattling of boxes. Just silence.
I looked around the kitchen. No furball. Looked down the hallway. No furball. Maybe he slipped out while I was pouring the cereal.
Then, just as I was leaving the kitchen, I heard a scratching noise in the pantry. I quickly turned on the overhead light and opened the door. There he was perched on a shelf, sitting like a stone statue, blending it with the other items.
He looked at me. I looked at him. He jumped down, triumphant in his hidden picture prowess.
Me? I said, “Good job, Pip!” and ate my cereal.
PHOTO FIND-IT GAME
How many items can you find in the photo published with this column? (See the photo placed directly above this section to play the game.)
1. Skippy peanut butter
2. Wesson oil
3. Old El Paso taco shells
4. Velveeta shells & cheese
5. Pace salsa
6. French’s yellow mustard
7. Del Monte green beans
8. Honey Bunches of Oats
9. Ritz crackers
10. Pip the cat
Karin Spicer is a member of The Dog Writers Association of America. She lives in Greene County with her family and two furry pets who inspire her. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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