Building Memories, One Game at a Time

Eliza Clark
March 12, 2009

Remember the first time your little one said "Remember when...?"  It's a bit of a shocking moment for all new parents.  If our kids are going to start remembering things, that means it's time for us to start getting our act together!

But since there's no going back to the days of blissful, memory-free, all in-the-moment consciousness, and as a good memory is an extremely useful asset in life, we might as well do what we can to sharpen our preschoolers' recollective powers. 

And it just so happens that memory games are rather good fun for all ages!  You may find that some of the activities and games we suggest below quickly become family favorites, and provide much-needed exercise for fuzzy mommy and daddy-brains as well.

Life on Earth Memory Game by eeBoo.

You remember laying on the floor playing "Memory" as a kid, don't you? It's a fantastic brain waker-upper, masquerading as a great way to pass time. Rainy day, sunny day, Saturday morning, 15 more minutes until dinner -- it's an anytime game. And this one is especially lovely, made up of 24 sets of beautifully illustrated cards featuring plants, insects and animals. The pictures might lull your little one into a daydream about googly-eyed frogs and bright-hued peacocks. Or she might be concentrating so hard on where she saw the matching card that she barely has time to think about where that jolly kangaroo might like to hang out. Either way seems fine to us. 

eeBoo also makes several other lovely versions of this  game: Friendly Animals; Once Upon a Time (for fairytale lovers); I Never Forget a Face; Numbers; Colors; and a Classic version.  Pick the one that will best suit your preschooler's fancy! 

What's Different?

This a great game to play with a group. My daughter plays it at her preschool and it always gets everyone laughing, adults too! Have everyone sit in a circle. One person is chosen to leave the room (they'll need an adult to help). That person then changes as much as they can about their appearance - the zanier you make it the better. Untuck their shirt or turn it inside out, tie their sweater around their leg, put a sock on their hand, put a little girl's hair in a crazy-looking ponytail, etc. They then re-enter the room and stand in the middle of the circle while the rest of the group takes turns guessing what's different. When everything has been guessed, it's another child's turn.

I'm Going to the Beach and...

This is a good memory game for car rides, restaurants, or anywhere that requires you to sit still. One person starts the game by saying, 'I'm going to the beach and I'm going to bring my ....' Fill in the blank with anything you want, 'flip flops' for example. The next person then repeats the first line and adds another item, 'I'm going to the beach and I'm going to bring my flip flops and my sunblock,' for example. Play continues around the group with each person repeating the items mentioned and adding their own at the end. Each player must begin with the phrase 'I'm going to the beach...' and they must list all items in their correct order. The game starts over when someone forgets an item or messes up the order. It's fun to change around the opening line, also. Instead of the beach you can go to the park, store, grandma's house, or wherever.

Squirrel at the Picnic

Lay out a blanket and five things that you would take to a picnic -- for example, a basket, napkins, plates, bottle of water, food container. Sit with your child on the blanket and look at the items. Then tell your child to close their eyes and take one item away. Once they open their eyes see if he/she can tell which item was taken by the "squirrel at the picnic"! This game is fun for the whole family; older siblings love to be the squirrel!

And for more, see our full list of memory building activities.

From the Parents

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