Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Memory Games

Hi Friends!  It's Jamie from Play to Learn Preschool.  I'm here to share 3 of our favorite brain boosting Memory Games.  There are lots of times in preschool when we have just a couple of minutes of free time.  Our day is very short, so I look for ways to use these little snippets of time effectively.  Here are some easy (you already have the supplies on hand), quick (you can gather the supplies in just a minute) and effective ways to improve your children's memory.
The first game is a "Memory Tray."  It's a very visual, hands-on version of the classic "What's Missing?" pictures.  Watch this video to see how we play the game in class.
The first time I introduce the game to my students, the tray will only have 3 objects,  Each month I add another object, so here in December we are up to 6.  Older kids would be able to handle more, I'm sure!

I make these trays about once a week with different themes.  The one in the video is a baking tray.  We also make Christmas trays, school supply trays, animal trays, farm trays, and so many more!  One idea = hundreds of possibilities.
The second memory game that we play regularly is a math game that teaches concept of number.  We start the year with sets of 5 objects.  I make up a story about the set and then remove some of the objects.  The students have to figure out how many are missing.  Watch this video of the girl eating gingerbread cookies below.
This is another game that I play with every theme.  When we do transportation, there are 5 cars and the students have to figure out how many drive away.  When we are studying the ocean, I use blue saran wrap to cover some of the shells with a "wave" and the students have to figure out how many are covered.
Later in the year, when I am sure that the entire class has developed a concept of 5 (1+4, 2+ 3, 5+0) then we move onto bigger numbers.

This is a terrific, versatile Penguins On Ice math game from Learning Resources. Each iceberg has space for 10 penguins.  We practice lining the penguins up and having a certain number "jump off" into the water.  The students determine how many are on the iceberg and how many jumped off.
The set includes 10 icebergs and 10 sets of different colored penguins so it's great for a small group of kids.  I use Scholastic bonus points and got our classroom set for free.

The final game is a "Grid Game."  You might think that preschool is just play, but this example will hopefully illustrate how we use a play environment to practice really important thinking skills.  This game is actually pre-algebra -- learning about rows and columns (x-axis and y-axis) and coordinates (the intersection where a card is missing).  Watch the video to see how it's done.
The best part of this game is that it requires just 1 sheet of paper, copied in black and white onto different colors of paper.  When we start, I will use just 3 or 4 colors.  By December, though, our class is ready for 6 colors.

Please download these free thematic Grid Games and try them with your own children.

When I'm not teaching preschoolers, I am a mom of 4 active kiddos.  I have been known to use these little games in waiting rooms and restaurants (using condiments and utensils, or items from my purse) when they get restless.  It never gets old.  Enjoy!


  1. Jamie,
    Great ideas. Can't wait to implement these in my classroom. The first one is such an oldie but a goldie we used to 'play' it when I was in girl guides all those years ago.
    Sheri :)

    1. Thanks Sheri! Some of the best ideas are the oldies, aren't they?

  2. Thank you for working so much on number sense with your preschoolers. We kindergarten teachers appreciate it!!

  3. Amazing! So fresh, creative, and original! Thank you for sharing a freebie, too!