Having a well developed Working Memory is a crucial skill that will encourage growth in all areas of your toddler’s life. For example, toddlers who possess good memory skills can: remember and follow instructions, apply what they have learned in a previous experience to a new task and they can sustain their attention throughout tasks. In fact, these examples are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Studies show that early training in thinking and learning skills improves long-term academic performance (particularly in math and reading skills). Today’s post illustrates how practising memory skills using a memory game can be simple and fun.
Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum
This week’s Theme: Bath Time
Activity Description: What’s Missing? (Memory game): On a tray, place several items related to bath time (cloth, loofah, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, etc.) Encourage your tot to look at the tray then hide his/her eyes while you remove one item from the tray.
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Cognitive Development
Specific Skill: Improving memory skills
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 4 months
- Setting up the tray – As a warm-up exercise to this activity, I enlisted the girls to help think of and collect items related to bath time. They enjoyed doing this! This is what we came up with:
- Explain the memory game – We reviewed the vocabulary and I let them manipulate any of the objects they were interested in. I explained to them the object of the memory game. They seemed a bit unsure so we did a practice run. They hid their eyes, I took away the toothpaste, they opened their eyes and I said, “What did I take away? What is not here any more?”. They both eagerly pointed to the area where the object was missing. I said, “Yes, it was there. Do you remember what it was?” They both shouted, “toothpaste”. “Hooray, you remembered”, I said, and I gave it back to them to place back on the board. We did this several times.
- Differentiation –
If this game is proving too difficult, try this: If your tot can’t remember what was taken, have him/her hide eyes again while you place it back in the same place. Ask, “Do you see it now?” If not, give verbal clues. (Ex. You put it on your toothbrush)
If the game is proving too easy, try this: Once your tot is consistently answering correctly, you could add more objects to the tray and/or try taking two items away (I did this with the girls and it was a better challenge). To make it even more difficult, you can take an item (or two) away and mix up the remaining items on the board (so that they are not in the same spot as they were before your tot closed his/her eyes.)
- Extension – This game was very enjoyable for them, but proving only mildly challenging. To extend the activity further, I had them play with each other. This simple extension offers an opportunity to practice communication skills (Language Development) and co-operative play (Social Learning). If you are doing this with only one child, you simply hide your eyes and let your child lead. In the case below, M instructed O to close her eyes. She took the bath toy and instructed O to open her eyes, “What I take, O?” O replied, “The hippo!” “Great job O!” said M and hands the toy back to O. (P.S. I totally love to watch them talk to each other!)