Mad Memory Games
Virtually everyone loves memory games, from basic games involving playing cards turned upside down on the carpet to more elaborate detective work.
After all, the mind is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to stay in optimal shape, and this is true for both children and adults alike. In fact, stretching your memory helps it to become stronger, and ultimately work better.
Memory games work well with youth group members even of varied ages – all you have to do is tailor each game to fit the group. Try them when it’s rainy, when the children are getting bored, or when they need to wind down after an outdoor activity. Memory games can also be good icebreakers.
What’s Missing?This is a favourite for children both young and old. Take a cloth, cutting board or towel and place a specific number of objects on it, according to the child’s age.
For example, for a six-year-old you might place ten objects, including a bar of soap, clock, spoon, plastic cat, comb, blue pencil, mobile phone, apple and boiled sweet.
Have them leave the room, then remove one object. When they come back in, they have to ascertain which object is missing. The older the child is, the more objects you can add – and take away at one time.
Write it DownSimilar to What's Missing, but a bit more elaborate. Gather together a bunch of objects, corresponding to the age of the group (five objects for five-year-old, 12 objects for 12-year-olds). Don’t let the youth group members see the objects, and cover them with a cloth.
Give each child a pencil and piece of paper and remove the cloth for one minute. Then have them write down all the objects they can remember seeing from underneath the cloth. Play again adding or removing one object at a time, which can ultimately make this game even harder!
Going to the ShopsHave all the members of the youth group sit in a circle. The leader says “I’m going to the shops to buy a…banana.” The next child says, “I’m going to the shops to buy a banana… and a plastic spinning top.” And so on and so on. Whoever forgets the exact sequence is out of the game, until you have a winner.
To make this game even more mad, apply stipulations. For example, all items mentioned must be blue. Or edible. Or beginning with the letter “r”. Or blue, edible and beginning with the letter “r”!
Match that Memory!Have everyone in the youth group write down a topic: anything from “snow” to “at the zoo” to “favourite foods”. Write the topics down so everyone can see them, then have everyone write down on the paper one memory the topic brings to mind.
If the topic is” snow”, for example, the memory can be: “The first time I saw snow I was three years old and on holiday in Yorkshire. I cried when a snowball hit me in the face.”
Post all the memories on a board or wall, then select a member of the youth group to choose which memories belong to whom – and why. Points are given for matching the correct memory to the right person, and for giving the correct reason.
Give everyone in the youth group a go and see who wins. Obviously, this game works best when the members of the youth group know each other well.
Testing Recall, Concentration and Observation
Memory games are great fun, and they also test children’s skills of recall and concentration. They’re also a good way to stretch your brain and improve your powers of observation.
Sometimes the youngest children of all have the best recall – when you play memory games, the results may surprise you!