tutorial :: midwinter sunbathing
25 weeks

in praise of the memory game

family memory game 1

A few days ago, Alicia and I had a funny email exchange about the oddity of being a craft blogger while writing a book. You see, there is a ridiculous amount of craftiness going on behind the scenes, but it can't be shown around these parts until we have the publisher's thumbs up. Consequently, you probably think that this is becoming a cat blog, right?

Every once in a while, I'm able to fit in a non-book sewing exploit like this one here, which happens to be from Alicia's over-and-beyond-lovely book, Stitched in Time: Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share .

It's full of projects that I wrote down on my "must make" list (all of which must be completed in the six weeks I have between turning in my final book manuscript and the arrival of the baby [insert eye roll and chuckle here]). Because, heck - we all know that once he arrives I'll just want to stare at him all day (and night) long. And that will be when this little space shifts from a cat blog to a Mama blog.)

family memory game 2

So let's talk about the memory game, shall we?  As a Montessorian, I'm a big fan. I used many variations on the memory game in the classroom - as a tool for increasing concentration and spacial awareness in addition to vocabulary-building activities.

This fabric version is great. It was my first time printing photos onto fabric, and I think I'm in love. Too bad my love alone won't fill the color ink cartridge! If you don't want to splurge on the cost of the special fabric, I would just print off the pics and paste them onto little squares of foam board, or print them directly onto a thick card stock.

I thought Alicia's tip to make the game using photos of family members was stellar. It does make for a rather large collection of tiles, however. I'll end up rotating them to attain a more manageable number depending on the needs of my little boy as he grows.

Here are just some suggestions for using the memory game with children:

  • Matching game - Once your child begins to show interest in things that are "the same", introduce the tiles as a simple matching activity. Place the tiles face up and show the child how to pick up two that are the same and place them in a basket to one side. Start with a small number of pairs, increasing the number as s/he needs more challenge.
  • Distance matching game - Separate the two sets of tiles and place them, face up, on rugs/child-sized tables at a certain distance away (gauge the appropriate distance by how far your child can walk between the sets without becoming distracted by something else en route!) Provide a "marker." This can be a bean, a fancy coin, or other small object of interest. Show the child how to play by placing the marker on one of the tiles. Walk over to the other set of tiles and find the matching tile. Pick it up, and place the pair together in a basket near the first set. Continue, placing the marker on another tile. Introduce more tiles as your child is up for the challenge.
  • Vocabulary cards
  • The last step in all of this is the actual playing of the traditional memory game, placing the tiles face down and turning over two at a time, searching for a pair. From my own experience, I would say that some four year-olds and most five year-olds will be ready for it, but observe your own child. You wouldn't want him/her becoming frustrated.
  • Make lots of different versions of the memory game! If your child is interested in arthropods, make an arthropod version. Perhaps s/he has presidents on the brain? A collection of presidential paintings would work, too. Think musical instruments, animal and plant kingdoms, and more specialized sets such as felines, canines, and flowers that grow from a bulb. The possibilities are endless! The more specific you become with your memory games, the more challenge is added for the child. I like to compile photos for such things by using this site for access to free stock photos. It's been a godsend for all of my Montessori material making.

morning tea

Now go and have a cup of tea. This photo really makes me laugh, because despite all of the pretty images and "perfect little snapshots" into my life, things are (gasp) not always so perfect. While I'm writing this Patrick is outside in the icy morning trying to get our driver's side car door to close. Imagine me driving your pattern packages to the post office while trying to hold the door shut! Ha. Such is real life!

P.S. Don't worry, Mom. I'm sure Patrick will figure it out. He's good about stuff like that. :)