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Cool Game for Kids: Look, Touch and Say Memory Game

Apr 10, 2014


There are many days during the school year when I have my primary grade-schoolers at home for school holidays. This means I have a houseful of children whose ages range from under 1 to 9 years old. Finding activities that include all or most of them can be challenging.I try to create activities that can either have open-ended play possibilities, or ones that can be tailored to fit nearly any age, depending on their abilities.Today we created a game that had all the children involved in some form or another. This game provides practice with sight memory, tactile memory, word recognition, speech, fine-motor control, numbers and number sequencing, one-to-one correspondence, tallying, listening and turn-taking. The toddlers, the preschoolers, and the grade schoolers created and played, and the babies watched and clapped as the excitement from the game rose and the players cheered each other on.And as it turns out, there is more than one way to play the good old-fashioned Memory Game. You can stretch this activity from breakfast to lunch if you start from the very beginning.What you need

  • picture cards
  • small objects that match the pictures on your cards.
  • a cardboard tray
  • craft paints and paint brushes
  • a plastic/metal tray for holding the objects
  • a timer
  • pencil/paper for score keeping if you choose to keep track

I gave the two oldest children the task of painting our cardboard lid. This was simply a cardboard soda pop tray from the market. I asked the two children to work together in painting the inside of the lid black. I chose black for the inside so colours or patterns would not distract the children from "remembering" as we played the game later on.

I did welcome them however, to paint the outside of the lid in whatever manner they pleased...

Once the lid was painted and set outside to dry, I gave each of the children a handful of picture cards from our Memory Game. You could also use picture flashcards, or draw your own picture cards if you'd like. I instructed the children to look around the house for toys that matched their cards, like a scavenger hunt! Once all the objects on their cards were found, we assembled them all neatly on a tray.

We all gathered about the table, ages 2 to 9 years, and began to play the game.

ROUND ONE:  Player 1 has 30 seconds to only LOOK at the objects on the tray. (We allowed 60 seconds for the under-5 crowd.) Once the 30 seconds are up, the lid is closed over the tray and Player 1 has 60 seconds to name as many of the objects as he can remember. Another player places the corresponding card for each object Player 1 names on the table to be counted when the minute is up. The round is over when each player has had a turn.

The children all counted the cards together after each player's turn to practice number sequencing and one to one correspondence. We tallied the scores right on our chalkboard table. We were not keeping score to see who won the game, but rather to see how each child progressed after each round.

ROUND TWO: Player 1 has 30 seconds to LOOK at and TOUCH the objects on the tray. Once her 30 seconds are over, the lid is closed and she has another 60 seconds to name the objects she remembers. The round is over when each player has had a turn.

Interestingly enough, TOUCHING the objects helped the under 5 crowd remember, while it hindered the memories for the older children. The touching distracted them and their second round scores were lower than their first.

ROUND THREE: Player 1 has 30 seconds to LOOK at, TOUCH, and SAY each object's name out loud. Once the 30 seconds is up, the lid is closed and the player is given another 60 seconds to name the object he remembers. The round is over when each player has had a turn.In this third and final round, all the players broke their own records, especially the little ones. There was much applause and many cheers as they tallied up their cards!ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY: To get even more playing time for smaller children from this activity, place a row of cards inside the lid and have the child choose the corresponding object from the tray, naming the object as they place it with the card...

Note: My own children are in French Immersion school, so our Memory Game is bilingual. 

Article Author Arlee Greenwood
Arlee Greenwood

Arlee is an Early Childhood Educator, earning her degree at BYU Idaho. She runs a government accredited care center in her home in Red Deer, AB. She studied with the New York Institute of Photography and she owns her own photography studio. Arlee is a mother of 6, an aspiring yogi, a lover of books, bento box lunches, travel, good food and wine. She’s a blogger in her “spare time” and she will never say no to chocolate. Find her at Small Potatoes, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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