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How to Improve Your Child's Memory

Updated on September 12, 2014

This traditional English mnemonic rhyme will help your child remember how many days there are in each month:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February alone.
And that has twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

Use rhymes and songs to improve your child's memory

Children remember better if they combine words with music and rhythm. Can you still remember the rhyme which begins: “Thirty days hath September, …”? Chances are you do. I know I do and I still use this rhyme from time to time to remind myself how many days are in a certain month. Combining words with music and/or rhythm helps us remember. If you’ve forgotten the words of a song, just get someone to hum the tune to you and you’ll find yourself instantly recalling the words. Similarly, children find it easy to learn dozens of nursery rhymes and songs which makes it a very effective tool to use for memorizing facts.

Tip: Using rhymes like ‘The Alphabet Song’ can help teach your child the letter order of the alphabet. Help your child make up her own rhymes, tunes and jingles to remember facts like days of the week, phone numbers and addresses.

Kim's Game

Instructions for Kim's Game:

  1. Place 5 items on a tray
  2. Ask your child to study the items for 30 seconds
  3. Place a cloth over the tray
  4. Ask your child to try to recall as many items as she can

You can adjust the number of items according to the age and ability of your child. Remember, children will become disheartened and give up very quickly if they find it too difficult so start off with just a few items and add more as they get better at recalling them.

Encourage your child to look hard at things they want to remember

Teach your child to make strong mental pictures of things she wants to remember. This really works as images are easier to recall than facts. Ask them to imagine objects balanced one on top of each other. This will help them to recall these objects later.

Playing memory games such as 'Kim's game' and the 'Magic Cup game' will help your child develop the ability to make strong mental pictures. It will also encourage your child to focus and pay attention, two key skills needed to succeed in school.

Use their senses to help them remember new information

Children remember information best if it’s linked to several senses. If you point to a Golden Delicious apple while naming it to your child, chances are she won’t remember it. However, if your child use all of the senses to experience the apple by seeing it, touching it, smelling it and tasting it while you tell her that it’s a Golden Delicious apple she is much more likely to recall the name the next time she spots one in the supermarket. Using your senses to make several associations with a new piece of information helps you remember it better.

Tip: Ask your child to describe how a new food looks, tastes and feels. Letting your child come up with her own description of new things will help her to retain it in her memory.

Crocodile River Matching Pairs

  1. Make giant A4 sized matching pairs by printing out pictures from the internet and laminating them. Also include cards that have no pair. Players will need these as they will act as the only stepping stones left to stand on at the end of the game.
  2. Put them face down on the floor as pretend stepping stones on a river.Players choose a stepping stone to start on.
  3. The first player turns any card that is reachable without falling into the crocodile river, then throws the dice, moves the appropriate number of spaces and turns a second card. If the cards are matching, then the player gets to keep them.
  4. Second player now takes a turn.
  5. Players continue until there are no matching pairs left. The winner is the player with the most matching pairs.

Make learning fun!

It's been proved time and time again that the key to helping children learn effectively is to make it fun. That's why making any sort of learning into a game will instantly make it more engaging and fun for your child. Making learning fun will help your child to memorize facts like times tables, capital cities and more.

I came up with a game called Crocodile River Matching Pairs (see box on the right for play instructions) which my children absolutely love. It gives an exciting dimension to a simple game of matching pairs. The game becomes particularly hilarious once the cards start to be removed as the kids have to take bigger and bigger steps to reach the stepping stones.

Tip: Make up your own fun games to play with your child. Or better still, ask them to come up with some games of their own.

Playing memory games can help improve your child's memory
Playing memory games can help improve your child's memory | Source

Memory Train Game

Instructions for Memory Train Game:

  1. Start off by saying..."I went to the supermarket and I bought bananas"
  2. The next person repeats the phrase but adds an item of shopping on..."I went to the supermarket and I bought bananas and milk"
  3. Players continue to take turns, adding an item on each time.
  4. Continue the game until players can no longer remember all of the items.
  5. Keep a record of your score and try to improve on it each time you play.

You can make up your own variations too, such as packing items in a suitcase for going on holiday or packing a bag for a school outing.

Play memory games to improve your child's memory

The benefits of playing memory games with your child are enormous. Memory games such as matching pairs, memory train and spot the difference will really help your child to learn to concentrate and focus. It will also help develop the memory skills needed to recall facts such as times tables. What's more, your child will have a great deal of fun whilst learning.

Tip: There's no need to spend a fortune buying expensive memory games. You can easily make up your own games or use one of the free printable matching pairs games available on the internet.

Using songs can help your child learn the times tables.

Do you have other suggestions?

Do you have any other ideas for games or activities that help improve a child's memory? I'd love to hear them in the comments box below.


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    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks for reading and commenting Nell, and for your own great suggestion. That sounds like a really fun way to help children remember facts. My daughter is starting to get into non fiction which I'm really pleased about as my two older daughters didn't like fact based books.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Great ideas Maggie, I used to read out a childs dictionary to my son, and ask him to explain the meaning, for example what is a chair? he would say, its something we sit on, made out of wood or metal, the shape is...and so on, we had so much fun, and it was a great way of making him remember stuff and of course being more confident when explaining things to people, nell