When I was a little girl, my sister and I had a game called “Baby Animal Memory”. It was just a set of little cardboard squares, pale blue on one side with sweet little cartoon drawings of animals on the other. The object of the game was to turn all of the cards face down, turning up two at a time and using your memory to find matching pairs of baby animals. We loved that game and played with it for hours. The baby bunnies were my favourite, and I can remember what they looked like even now. Thinking of that makes me smile. I love those kinds of memories.
A set of “Memory” cards is the perfect, portable activity for keeping kids entertained on the go. I keep a little set of homemade Memory cards in a ziplock baggie in my purse, pulling them out on occasions when we need to happily occupy some time, such as while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room or waiting for our meal at a restaurant. Of course, “Memory” in a classic sense is a fairly challenging game. But there are endless variations that will help keep even the tiniest kidlets entertained…
· Babies will enjoy looking at the pictures, and listening as you tell them the names of the pictures (a great way to build language skills)
· Toddlers – give your child one picture, and ask them to find one that is the “same” from three or four pictures arranged face up in front of them. As they catch on to the concept, try seeing if they can find a match when there are more cards to choose from.
· Bigger kids – Play the traditional way, with cards face down. The older the child, the more cards you can put out to choose from. A fun challenge even for mom and dad!
· Any age – Have your child line up several of the cards in a row in front of you. Then tell your child a story based on the pictures in the order they’ve arranged them. Or if your child is older, have them tell you the story.
And why go out and buy a Memory game when making your own is not only easy and budget-friendly, but also makes a fun craft activity to share with your child! To make your own Memory game…
You will need…
Sturdy paper such as cardstock – should be dark in colour so pictures don’t show through
Two sets of the same pictures – i.e. two identical catalogues, magazines, or flyers
Begin by cutting out a set of evenly sized squares from the paper (as many as you think you’ll need). Remember that the cards need to look identical on the back side, so be sure to choose plain paper. Then choose a set of matching pictures to cut out. The pictures can be of anything you think your child will be interested in – animals, vehicles (magazines are good sources), toys, household items (catalogues are good sources), food, articles of clothing (flyers are good sources), or even of familiar people and places (simply develop doubles of some of your favourite family photos). If your child is older, have them help you cut out the pictures. Or if they are younger, have them help you glue the pictures to the paper squares. Allow to dry and you have your very own homemade Memory game, sure to help you make lots of happy memories with your little ones!