Parent tips: Memory games |

Parent tips: Memory games

Memory training games

There is no such thing as a bad memory. Just like any other muscle, your brain must be exercise and developed every day. Keep it in training! It will get used to repeated exercises and needs new challenges every now and again to improve and stay at its best.
From an early age, I started ‘training’ my children’s memories. We would play all the memory games below. These are lots of fun and allow you to interact with your child and keep them busy on long car trips.
These memory games work well with younger children Grades 1 to 3 and will enhance what they learn at school as well. Work through these questions with your children and add some questions of your own!
Test your memory
Let’s see how observant you are.
  • What colour is at the top of a traffic light?
  • Which side of your house does the sun come up in the morning?
  • What colour is a R10 note? And a R20 note?
  • What colour eyes do your mom and dad have?
How did you do? Try to think up three new questions to ask every day.
Card memory game
  • Use a pack of cards. Remove all the picture cards and sort the cards into pairs: 2 of diamonds with 2 of hearts, 5 of spades with 5 of clubs, and so on.
  • Start with twelve cards (six pairs). Shuffle and place them face down in three rows of four.
  • Each player gets a turn to turn over any two cards at a time.
  • If they match, the player keeps that pair. If they don’t match, turn them back over and give the other player a turn.
  • The trick is to remember where the cards are. The player with the most cards at the end wins.
  • If your young child struggles with this game at first, start off with a few games of Snap to get her memory tuned in to recognising the cards. Then continue with the game.
  • If the game is too easy, add more pairs of cards.
Mini Survivor memory game
You can play this with one or more children.
  • Start by giving your child one instruction to remember, like ‘run to the swing and back’.
  • Add an instruction each time, like ‘run to the swing, hop on one leg, run back’ and keep adding: ‘run to the swing, hop on one leg, run to the tree, pick a leaf, roll on the ground, run back’.
  • The more instructions the child gets to remember, the better. If they forget, they come back to you and you repeat ALL the instructions, in sequence, again.
  • A five-year-old will manage up to four instructions, and the older they get, the more they will remember. It keeps them exercised too!
Word stories game
My child was struggling with word sums in Grade 1. We would play this in the car to and from school every day and her marks improved tremendously!
  •  Tell your child a story that has at least FIVE facts. For example:
Five kittens were walking down the street on their way to school. They all wore pink gloves.
  • Then ask the questions: How many kittens were there? What were they doing? Where were they going? What were they wearing? What colour were the gloves?
  • Add more facts or challenge them, for example: Two of the kittens wore pink gloves and the rest wore blue gloves. One kitten lost their gloves.
  • You can use these little facts to make sums: How many gloves are left? How many wore blue gloves?
  • Ask your child to make up a word sum with questions for you. This reverses the thinking process and also allows them to understand the process of how the question works.