Homeschool Diner Logo -- 1960's style sign with atomic starburst
Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Copyright 2006 by Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's
Homeschooling Special Situations
Specific Skills Help

Simple Games and Activities That Exercise
Your Child's Short Term Memory Skills

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2004, 2005, 2007

Some simple activities that provide practice for short term memory skills --
for both auditory and visual memory...

Many abilities and skills come into play when a child tries to remember bits
of new information -- information such as a new friend's telephone
number, a set of directions, the words to a new song, how to form letter
shapes, or the words to the sentence they were just about to write down.  
First, the child needs to focus on the information,  then find a way to store
the information in his or her short-term memory, and then retrieve the
information when it's needed.  Some children are better at remembering
things they have seen -- their visual memory, and others are better at
remembering what they have heard -- their auditory memory.

Some children seem to have an unusually hard time remembering, in
general.  Whether this is simply a developmental issue, the sign of a
preferred learning style, or a symptom of a learning disability, this difficulty
can be a source of distress and frustration for a child who can't remember
what everybody else can.  If you believe that your child has an unusually  
hard time remembering things, or suspect that your child has a learning
disability, be sure to tell your child's pediatrician about your concerns --
he or she may refer your child to a specialist for evaluation.

If you want to provide your children with some opportunities to use  
memorization, the games and activities listed in the following sections
provide practice in crucial memory skills, such as: learning to focus on
and pay attention to what is heard and seen, learning to notice details,
learning to discriminate differences in sounds and in visual images, and
developing strategies to improve short term memory span – such as self-
rehearsal, forming a mental image, and using auditory cues.  They are
fun activities for all children and may be helpful "exercise" for those
having trouble remembering.  If you have found or made up any other fun
memory activities -- please let me know!  I'd love to add them to our list :-)

Children will, of course, prefer certain games over others.  If a child does
not like a particular game, try to figure out why.  It might be that the game
is too easy for your child, but it might be because the game is too difficult
– above the child’s current ability level.  Or there may be too many rules
for a young child to cope with.

For all of these activities, freely change or eliminate rules and improvise
new games to meet your child’s abilities and interests.  As a parent, you
know what appeals to your child, what will cause them to balk, and what
will give them trouble.  Look for ways to make these activities fun for your
particular child… or come up with new activities that use similar skills.

Auditory Short-term Memory Games:

Simple Beginning Level Activities

Advanced Level Activities

Visual Short-term Memory Games:

Pattern Discrimination

Visual Perception and Visual-Motor Integration

Related Resources

Memory, Learning, and Emotion: the Hippocampus -- a nice tutorial
on the biology of memory

Does your child have a learning disability?
(back to)
special needs
"Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly
you are doing the impossible"- Francis of Assisi