Memory skills - Games to train your memory

Your short term memory can be trained. Plus, it can be so much fun to try!

I’ve put together a list of games that you can play with children (or adults) to encourage their short term memory and also encourage other social skills such as turn taking and listening.


Memory game to play as a small group (3-4 children).

  • Place items of your choosing on a large table and cover up with a large cloth. (The amount of items you choose can be relative to the children’s age or ability. I would suggest 8-10 items.)

(Some examples of items are; stapler, spoon, remote control, a banana Try to keep all of the items a similar size.)

  • Take the cloth off and give the children 10 seconds to look at them.

  • Nominate one child to go out of the room whilst the other children decide which item to remove.

  • Remove the item and hide it from view.

  • Replace the cloth and call the child back in.

  • Remove the cloth and ask the child which item has been removed

  • If they haven’t guessed correctly, ask the other children to give them a clue. For example, “It has buttons on it”, “You find it in the living room”.

This game is totally adaptable, so if the children are finding it particularly difficult to recall all of the items, take some away. Or, if it is seemingly too easy, add a few more items.

It’s a great game that doesn’t cost anything, takes moments to set up and it can be played pretty much anywhere.

Your memory is like a filing cabinet, so the more you recall or revise something, the closer to the front the file will be.

Use our free worksheets pages to bring your knowledge to the forefront of your mind, or create new memory pathways by discovering new subjects and topics. 

English activities   Science activities  Maths activities


Memory game to play (1:1)

There are several ways to play this game depending on your child’s age and ability.

  • Write the sentence ‘I went to the supermarket and bought…’ on a piece of paper of whiteboard as a prompt until the child can recite the rhyme.

  • Take it in turns to say the sentence and add an item. Try to make the item imaginative. For example, ‘I went to the supermarket and bought a gorilla’

  • Then the child repeats what you have said and adds on another item ‘I went to the supermarket and bought a gorilla and a swimming hat’

  • You keep this process going until someone forgets their items.

If you need some prompt or direction, you can write the alphabet down and list items in order. ‘Apple’, ‘bus’, ‘cat’, ‘donkey’ etc.

As you can imagine, you can adapt this game in any way you want to make it more personalised. You can say ‘I went to the zoo and saw…’ for topical subjects, or challenge the child and say we can only buy red items ‘I went to the shop and bought strawberries, tomatoes, Porsches, roses’. If it is personalised, it’ll be easier to remember!


Memory games for the car

I play this game with my children when we are travelling long distances. It keeps us all occupied for a while!

  • As a group choose a theme. For example, sweets, brands, girl’s names, drinks.

  • Once you have decided on a topic, you must take it in turns to name one.

  • You must not hesitate or repeat what someone else has said.

  • The game ends when everyone is out! Some themes will last longer than others.

This is a great game for short term memory and recall. It doesn’t cost anything, can be played anywhere (even in a car), it can be personalised and recycled using different themes.

Practice makes perfect as always, so use your skills as often as you can and ensure that your child is learning the way that is most efficient to them. EdPlace's additional accessibility toolbar creates an inclusive learning experience. Find out more below or try one of our activities to put the SEND features to the test. 

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