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Toddler Memory Games for Fun and Learning

written by: Sylvia Cochran • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 1/5/2012

Whether you operate a daycare, teach in a classroom filled with toddlers, or want to help your child at home to increase his memory, toddler memory games are a must! These memory games for toddlers are fun, educational, and also a great way of passing a rainy day inside.

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    Early Development and Toddler Memory Games

    According to Child Psychology writers Judith Hudson and Ellyn Sheffield, toddlers between the ages of one and three experience a crucial maturing of their memory capabilities. This includes vocal recall and also event recollection. As you seek to introducememory games for toddlers that help hone these skills, you can successfully build on item recognition and also object classification abilities that children in this age group most likely mastered during mid to late infancy.

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    Four Games

    You are undoubtedly familiar with the study cards that hold various bright pictures, which are placed face down onto a table. The child turns over two of the cards, memorizes the designs, and if they don’t match, turns them over again. The game continues with different cards chosen, until the child successfully ferreted out all the pairs. This is a very effective game, but it requires you to purchase yet another box from the store. Rather than investing in a new memory game, why not try some different approaches?

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    Online Memory Game

    Peuter Spelletjes offers the online version of the memory card game. Although in French, it features the much beloved Winnie the Pooh, and the child may click on the various question marks to match Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit and other characters. Children learn not only the fine motor skills involved in moving and clicking the mouse, but also engage in the memory game. This is a perfect solution for an at-home activity or for a classroom that is equipped with one or more computers.

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    Color Memory Development

    Place a number of items the toddler can name around the room. Make sure that all of these items are of the same color. Explain to the child that this is a game where s/he will name all the items in the room of one color. For younger toddlers, reveal ahead of time which color will be chosen. Parade around the room with the child looking up and down and in all directions; next, take the child outside and ask to name all items s/he remembers of the one color. Take turns with multiple children or parade around the room with all of them and have them shout out what they remember once outside. Repeat with various different colors, gradually increasing the number of items you display.

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    Numeric Recall

    If the child can count one, two or even three items of one kind, this numeric recall game is a perfect extension of the color memory game. Rather than displaying items by color, display a number of different items in pairs or triplets, and then ask the child(ren) to name the groups. For example, you may place three apples, three red crayons, and three plush frogs in the room, alongside two bananas and two stuffed dogs. Ask the toddlers to name the items they saw in twos. As they children progress in their counting abilities, up the ante with the number of items you display.

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    Collective Memory

    This is a game perfect for older toddlers. It hones not only memory skills, but also teaches cooperation between the children. Place a number of different objects – which the children know how to name – onto a blanket on the floor. For example, you might include an apple, a banana, a book, a pen, a frog, two keys, and a host of other items. Have the children hold hands and parade around the blanket. After a few rounds around the blanket, place another blanket on top of it.

    Encourage the children to name the items they remember. Go around the room and have each child take a turn. If a child cannot think of an item, ask the rest of the kids to help by raising their hands and only answering when called upon. Keep track of the items named, and later on compare them to the actual items on the blanket. On a side note, you may be amazed at some of the creativity you will see in your young charges! Some, when they cannot think of another item, will regale you with suggestions such as “dragon” or “whale!” This game may be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be.

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    Memory Needs to Be Fed

    Of course, memory games for toddlers are only one aspect of maturing a child’s ability to recall items, colors, or numbers. Healthy food is another component that must not be overlooked. Why not go ahead and offer them – cut up in bite sized pieces – after the game activity as a healthy snack reward?