My sons have a memory like a sieve. Ask them to recall things and they flop at it. What did they do in school? What did they wear this morning? What did Grandma say when she called earlier? All these draw a blank – all I get is a sort of glazed look.
Friends say this could be a “boy thing” or is it because the school-day always passes by in a blur? It worries me somewhat, especially when they have tonnes of facts to remember and regurgitate in exams. It would be a bad idea to forget, for example, that spiders come under arachnids (not insects!) and salamanders are amphibians (not reptiles!).
Experts say that a good memory is linked to good school performance and that is not hard to believe. As a way to improve my children’s memory, what I do is play memory games with them. These are fun, help the boys focus and are good on long-ish car trips.
Here is one game we love playing:
Name of game: I pack my bag…
Players: Two or more players (kids must have some inkling about spelling and general knowledge)
Objective: To remember an increasingly lost list
How to play: The first player says “I pack my bag with an abalone.” Following the alphabet, the second player says “I pack my bag with an abalone and a bandanna.” Then the next player says “I pack my bag with an abalone, a bandanna and carnation.” The players continue this list alphabetically, and the person who forgets any of the items drops out, until one player remains and he wins the game.
The beauty of a game like this one is that you can modify the rules to make it simpler or more difficult.
Variation 1: Consecutive items should not belong to the same category. For example, if Player A says "I pack my bag with an ambulance", the second player cannot say "I pack my bag with an ambulance and bicycle" as both ambulance and bicycle are vehicles. This helps your kids with classification.
Variation 2: Make it harder by expanding on the sentence, so Player A says "I pack my bag with an arrow to go to America" or "I pack my bag with an ant to go to the abbatoir". Here you decide whether to use names of countries/cities or names of places such as "bakery", "cinema", "dance-hall" etc.
Variation 3: Use accompanying adjectives – "I pack my bag with an amusing antelope and a busy bee."
Think of other ways to play this game to suit your kids’ ages. I often think I have an edge over my boys, but sometimes I lose! Yesterday we played the game and for the life of me simply couldn’t remember the sequence of words – “I pack my bag with an abalone, burrito, carnation, doughnut, err…, fan, gummybear..”. I kept thinking “elephant” but my son said “elephant” belonged to another game we just finished. (The right word was “espresso”.)
It can get confusing if you play several games in a row – so I lost that one! Sounds fun, right? Try it!
Written by Rohaniah Saini, a mother of two boys. WWW.LOGICMILLS.COM