Good Memory Built Through Games – 3 Children’s Games to Build Great Memory Skills!

I have the wonderful privilege of working daily with young and developing minds as a Learning Support Assistant in a school in England. Almost every day I hear one or more of my charges saying, “I can’t remember!” whether it is when revising for exams, or just trying to recall where they have put their books, ‘phone or house keys! I am convinced we can help them, but more importantly help ourselves as well, by returning to some of the games designed for the very young to help build that all important memory.

When I was in my youth I spent much enjoyable time with my grandparents. To occupy my brothers, sister and I, my grandmother would play various memory games with us. Looking back I can clearly see how those very games were instrumental in equipping me with the powerful memory I enjoy today.

Remember, Remember!

No, not just a hope, but the title of a range of games (many published by ‘Galt Toys’) in which there were a large number of picture cards, each with a duplicate. The cards are shuffled, and spread out, face down, on a large flat surface (I remember them covering the lounge floor!). You then turn over two cards and if they match you keep them. If not they are turned back and the next player takes their turn. Spatial memory is vital here, where exactly was that card positioned that you saw from a previous turn? Of course the difficulty levels can be manipulated by placing cards in a row and column system, or scattering them haphazardly. You don’t need a specially purchased pack to play this memory game yourself; just an ordinary pack of playing cards will do, with hearts matching to diamonds, spades to clubs!

Kim’s Game:

Another classic from grandmother’s repertoire! In this simple yet thoroughly absorbing game a number of everyday items are placed on a tray and covered with a cloth. The tray is placed in the middle of the participants and the cloth removed for a given time, usually 2 minutes. During this time no-one may speak, but each has to remember the contents of the tray. The cover is then replaced and the players given a limited time, perhaps another 2 minutes,. to write down a list of everything on the tray. Depending on the age and mental agility of the contestants, the number and range of articles can be increased accordingly.

A variant on Kim’s game is played by removing one item from under the cloth after the observation and memory period and then revealing the contents and asking which item is missing. This can then be repeated until a list of ‘missing items’ is compiled.

I packed my bag:

In this simple add on memory game each member of the group is tasked with reciting the contents of a bag, packed for an expedition. Each time the list is repeated an additional item is placed ‘in the bag’. So we may have started with, “I packed my bag and in it I put an apple,” but soon we find the bag holding ‘an apple, a brush, a comb, a door handle, an easel, a flag, a grater, a hamster…’ and so on. As younger children we always added alphabetically, to aid memory recall, however random addition of articles can prove more challenging. This is a great game to play whilst out and about, particularly traveling, as a good imagination and an improving memory are the only requirements!