My tot is all about wanting everything now and not remembering that a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Her brain is working a mile a minute and full of egocentric thought – and being polite isn’t important. Remembering to toss out a “please” or “thanks” is pretty rare, and I’m a bit tired of all that prompting.
Memory is a compilation of items that make up the ongoing experience of life. Although it’s a concept, and not a single tangible part of the brain, memory is an actual brain-wide process. Encouraging each individual memory helps the entire process work together, aiding kids in remembering the capitol of Peru and how to tie her shoes – or to simply say thank you.
There’s nothing wrong with having some fun while learning and honing memory skills. Sure, you can get out a few board games and get bored or mix things up with some inventive ways to use stuff around the house while spending some quality memory building time together.
What’s Missing? – Ages 4+
Take advantage of a child’s love of small items by creating a game utilizing a blanket and the power of her brain. Training the short-term memory to work longer than 20 to 30 seconds helps encourage a child’s brain to make strong memories, which can be accomplished through a fun memory activity.
-Have the child select five to seven small objects she would like to use for playing the game, such as miniature cars, plastic animals, or colored blocks.
-Take a moment to describe each item discussing its color, shape, and special characteristics. Explain to her that she will be playing a game with the items where one at a time, an object will go missing. Talking through an activity encourages the child’s left and right brain to work together, creating complete learning.
-Help position the objects in an arrangement on the floor or a table so they are close together. Once again, have her describe each object and its characteristics helping to form her memory of each item. Repeating aides in memory.
-Cover everything with a blanket and remove an item by hiding it in the palm of your hand and then placing it behind your back without allowing your child to see which item has been removed.
-Take away the blanket and ask your child what item is missing. If she has problems remembering, prompt her with descriptive words she used to describe the object, such as its color or shape.
-Continue removing items and playing until no items are left. Once all the objects have gone missing, ask if she can recall each item that was used to play the memory building game.
Rhyme it Up – ages 7+
Young adults are busy with schoolwork and hanging out with friends. Helping memory skills with a mnemonics memory activity gives an edge when it comes to getting homework done so there is more time to socialize – and will keep parents happy with the resulting good grades.
-Have your child select a collection of items or facts she would like to work on memorizing, such as social studies facts for an upcoming test.
-Using story telling as a memory booster is a fun and entertaining way to train the brain. To remember information, it needs to be committed to long-term memory with connections that make the facts easier to recall.
-Discuss with your child what mnemonics are and how they benefit memory skills. Mnemonics can be any type of rhyme, story, song, or chant to help remember items. For example, just about everyone knows, “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
-Help your child organize the information she would like to use for creating a fun story mnemonic. Once she’s ready, she can write out the story using key words from her facts, making sure to connect each sentence so her story is easy to remember. Remember, the sillier the better!
-Now she can share the funny mnemonic story with others, strengthening her memory skills and testing others on their retention abilities.
-After sharing her story, she can test listeners by seeing how much of the silly mnemonic they can repeat back without help. Your child can aide listeners by giving them prompts as needed.
-See who can remember the most of the silly mnemonic out of your child’s friends and family and offer a prize to the memory game winner.
Total Recall – 11+
Tweens and teens have lots of pressures including excelling in school along with after school sports and activities, other responsibilities such as jobs, and socializing with friends. Help everyone keep on track with a memory boosting game that also offers the opportunity to spend some quality time together too.
-Select several images from magazines to use for the memory activity, such as pictures of people sitting in a restaurant, images of different types of landscapes, or advertisements.
-Everyone has a different type of learning, and using that to tap into memory is extremely beneficial. Your teenager can experiment with her learning style by playing a memory game using the magazine pictures and determining which way encourages the best memory retention.
-Using a timer, provide your teen with a magazine pictures and set the timer for 3 minutes. The goal is to see how many random things she can memorize about the picture and then recall later. Encourage your child to work silently, tapping into her concrete learning style.
-Once the time is up, she can pass over the picture to be quizzed. Ask her various questions such as how many people are in the picture, what color clothes individuals are wearing, animals in the image, and so on.
-Keep track of all her correct answers and the ones that she misses.
-Now she can do the process again but with a different picture. This time, she can describe the image out loud instigating her active learning. Does this help or hinder her memory retention?
-Compare and contrast her skills from previous picture and if she had better results while memorizing silently or while talking.
-Other ideas would be for her to act out the image, write out words for prompts, or create a rhyme for the picture to help remember information within the 3 minutes for each picture.
-See which way of learning provides the best results for the memory retention game and offer a reward for all her hard work – like heading out for some well-deserved ice cream.
Playing memory games are a fun way to train the brain and also boost retention skills. Keeping the memory strong ensures those special memories will be around for many years to come, along with all those important facts and dates.