Sunday, December 11, 2011

Playing Memory for All Ages

My friend Kelly is the best at making handmade Christmas gifts.  She used to make them for our grandmas and now makes them for our kids.  One year she put together a vase with a betta fish and a plant for our grandmas.  My grandma loved her fish.  She told me how it would get excited when she came home or when she was about to feed it.  It was sooo sweet!  

This year, Kelly is my inspiration for making some gifts for my boys' friends.  I've decided to make a Photo Memory game.  It is in process and I will post a tutorial soon.  Here is a peak.  

While playing with KD, I realized that although he loved finding the pairs, I needed to get creative to make the game simple AND challenging to keep his interest.  I searched on the internet and found some great ideas and was inspired to come up with a few of my own.  

Variations for younger ages (up to 4):
  1. With tiles facing up, ask your little ones to find something for you.  KC (16 months) has few words but knows a lot and loves fetching things for me. If you sign, do the sign and have them find it.
  2. Play with all tiles facing up.  Have your child sort them into pairs and count as you go or at the end. 
      • Now ask them to take turns with you.  
      • You can ask for their help. "I love this one.  Can you please help me find the match?" 
      • You can try to help them and when they protest, you can suggest a 'No Helping' rule for this game.  Or 'no helping unless asked' rule. I KNOW I'm not the only one with a tot who doesn't exactly get 'taking turns'!! (see the 'KEEP IN MIND?' section below)
  3. Start with just four tiles facing down. Then add a pair after each game. 
  4. Start with all tiles facing up, give them 1 minute to study the board, then turn them over and start the game.  
  5. Flip over two tiles. If they don't match, let them stay facing up, till a match is found.
  6. Split the pairs so you have two piles.  Place one pile face down and the other face up. One player picks a tile from the facedown pile and tells the other what to look for without showing it.  This can be done like the game Catchphrase too.  Instead of saying what it is, they have to describe it or spell it. 
  7. Play Go Fish! Deal out n tiles then leave a pool in the middle.  KD liked this.
Variations for older ages:
  1. Keep the second tile secret if it isn't a match.
  2. Swap tile location after turning up.
  3. Like number 6 above but the person has to draw or act out the item/person; no talking.
  4. Have them make their own game. Go through magazines, pictures, etc and have them pick items.  You can do it by letter, number, color, animal.  They should be the same but different (e.g. one letter of different font and color). Have card stock precut so they know that it has to fit on the card.  They can cut and glue themselves, or you can help.
  5. Each person takes a turn with the whole board.  How many turns does it take to find all of the pairs? The other(s) are responsible for keeping track of turns. 
KEEP IN MIND! Try not to change the rules too much.  Pick one or two of these you think your tot would enjoy and play those.  Don't be surprised/frustrated if they start to make up their own rules and games- this is creative! If you find that they want to change the rules in the middle of the games or as soon as they aren't 'winning': 
  • have a rules sheet or index card that has the rules and consequences for each game.  You can make a couple before you start and then ask them to help you come up with new one.
  • set reasonable consequences: taking away a pair from the game (if they continue, there won't be any playing pieces) or skip a turn (be sure to break the rules too so they see you having consequences "oh! I forgot!").
  • you can ask if they need time by themselves to figure out the rules:)
Do you have any more ideas? What challenges can you see?? 


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