Brain-Boosting Memory Match Games for preschoolers

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The rate at which toddlers develop, not only physically but also mentally, is astounding. One month can make a world of difference when it comes to their cognitive development.

As parents, we closely observe them and diligently tick each milestone. Between the ages of 3 and 5, we want to make sure that kids are as ready as they can be for their academic life.

To this end, we start playing games that, besides being fun, are also educational and target certain cognitive processes like problem-solving or memory.

Today we are going to focus on brain-boosting memory match games best suited for kids between the ages of 3 and 5.

But first, let’s take a quick look at what a child between 3 and 5 should be able to do.

It is very important to know that this is a general list of milestones and each child develops at his/her own pace.

Cognitive Developmental Milestones for kids between the ages of 3 and 5

  • 3-year-olds

– pay attention to stories and poems and can recite their favourite fragments back. They can also make short remarks related to the story or poem.

– understand concepts like “same and different”.

– can sort objects according to their colour, size or shape.

– know basic shapes like circle, triangle, square.

– can recognize and name basic colours.

– can count to 10

– their attention span is about three minutes.

– they can make themselves understood with basic vocabulary that contains anywhere between 300-1000 words.

  • 4-year-olds

– like experimenting with words.

– they are able to count to 20 and start understanding the relationship between objects and numbers.

– they can recognize some letters and numbers and can write them.

– they start grasping the idea of past tense and start using it correctly in sentences.

– they are very curious about the world around them and ask many questions: Why? How?

  • 5-year-olds

– they start having a basic understanding of time, passage of time and may learn to tell the time.

– role play becomes more complex.

– they can count higher than 20 and can recognize and write numbers from 1 to 10.

– they can give general information about themselves like name, age, address, city of residence, phone number etc.

– they can identify the letters and even draw some unprompted.

– they are aware of hazards like hot objects, stairs, high places, sharp objects and so on.

Again, I want to stress that these are some of the main cognitive milestones and the ages at which children reach them are not set in stone. However, if you have some suspicions of developmental delays, address the issue to your paediatrician or other health care professional.  

Memory match games are a fantastic way of exercising your little one’s brain and preparing them for more complex functions.

If you want to read more about a child’s developmental milestones, take a look here

Your child’s young brain needs exercise like any other muscle. Boost your child’s memory with this amazing Memory Match Games Bundle.

Benefits of playing memory match games:

  • Improve concentration: the ability to concentrate and stay on task will benefit children not only during school but also later in their adult life.
  • train visual memory: one way the brain remembers is by seeing. When children play memory games that involve pictures the brain will start making visual associations more easily.
  • improve their problem-solving skill: memory games push kids into developing a strategy that will help them solve the problem in front of them.
  • faster thinking process: the brain is like a muscle so the more it is used the better it becomes at certain tasks. The more children practice their memory, the better and faster they will become at accomplishing memory-related tasks.

Memorization is a complex process that comes in three stages: encoding (receiving information), storage (creating a permanent record of that information) and retrieval (recalling the stored piece of information at will, when we need it). Read more about these complex processes here.

Memory match games for preschoolers

1.Mirror me

How to play: Each player has an identical set of cards. Player number 1 will select anywhere between 3 and 12 cards and arrange them in a certain order. Player number 2 will have one minute to closely look at the cards and memorize them. After the allotted time is up, Player 1 will cover the cards. Player 2 will have to look for the same cards in his/her deck like the ones Player 1 has selected and arrange them in the same order.

Alternatively, you can play this memory match game as a competition, increasing the level of difficulty as they go along. Player 1 will start by displaying two cards which Player 2 will mirror. Next round, Player 1 will display 3 cards, followed by the next one where s/he will display 4 cards and so on until Player 2 makes a mistake.

*Of course, you will have to adapt the number of cards to the age of the child. A good number for a toddler would be no more than five cards.*

Materials needed:

– Mirror Me- Domestic Animals set of cards

2. Bingo

A great way of boosting your child’s brainpower and a fun memory card game is Bingo.

How to play: Give each player an Alphabet Bingo Card. Each card contains nine different images of letters. Spread out on the table all the Bingo Letter Cards upside down. Players take turns in extracting an image and saying the letter (you can encourage the child to tell you a word that begins with that letter too). If they have that image on their Bingo Card, they will cross it out. The aim of the game is to cross out three images in a row, whether it’s in a line or horizontal.

*Preschoolers will benefit greatly from the Alphabet Bingo game*

Materials needed:

– Alphabet Bingo Cards + Bingo Images

– Pencils or pens

3. Retell the story

How to play: This is a simple activity that will practice both memory and vocabulary. Simply grab a storybook and read it to your preschooler. After you have finished it, encourage the child to tell you what happened in the story. For favourite stories that you have read over and over again, kids will be able to reproduce it word-by-word.

If you are good at drawing you could draw fragments of the story on cards, shuffle them and ask your little one to put them in order and tell you the story.

Materials needed:

– storybook

– optional: pen, coloured pencils, paper

4. The missing number

How to play: You are going to start counting but at one point you are going to skip one number. Your child will have to pay attention and say the missing number. Take turns in counting. This is a great game to practise both memory and concentration.

Alternatively, if your child is more of a visual learner, write the numbers on a piece of paper and arrange them in order but leave one out. Ask your child to tell you which number is missing.

Materials needed:

– just you and your child

– optional: pen and paper

5. Memory Card Games

How to play: Cut the Marine Animals Memory Card Game and place them in two rows, face down. Make sure that the images don’t repeat in the same row. The little player will turn one card from the top row and one card from the bottom row. If they match, hurray, they remain face up. If not, turn them back. The purpose of the game is to find all the pair in as little turns as possible.

*Memory Card Game comes in two options: picture to picture for kids who don’t master the alphabet yet, and picture to word for kids who can recognize letters.*

Materials needed:

 -Marine Animals Memory Card Game set

6. I went to the supermarket…

Who hasn’t played at least once on a road trip “I went to the supermarket…”. It’s a classic. Not only that but it’s a fantastic way of exercising memory and vocabulary.

How to play: The first player says “I went to the supermarket and bought (a melon)”. The second player will repeat what the first player has said and add another item. “I went to the supermarket and bought (a melon) and (1 kilo of strawberries)”. The third player will say what the first two have said and add yet another item. The game continues until one player forgets the order.

Materials needed: – just your family and friends

7. What’s missing

This is one of the games that I used to play a lot with my students. It’s very versatile and improves memory, observation skill, concentration and vocabulary. You can use everyday objects from around the house or flashcards.

How to play: Gather some small objects and place them on the table. Allow the child to look at them for one minute. Ask the child to close eyes and remove one of the objects. The child will have to say which object is missing.

Materials needed:

 – objects around the house or flashcards

8. Memorize the drawing

How to play:  Draw something on a piece of paper and show it to your child for one minute. Take the drawing away and ask the child to draw what s/he remembers.

*Depending on the child’s age you can draw more details or less.*

Materials needed: 

– pen and paper


Final Thoughts:

The brain is like a muscle and a child’s young brain in particular needs exercise. Introducing these great memory match games in your preschooler’s routine will be not only fun but most importantly beneficial.

Memory games will mould and develop the youngster’s brain preparing it for the “rigours” of academic life where a child is expected to concentrate for longer periods of time, stay on task and make connections quickly.

Prepare your little one for school with this brain-boosting Memory Card Game Bundle!


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28 thoughts on “Brain-Boosting Memory Match Games for preschoolers”

  1. Glad to know that you shared this with us..Thanks indeed for sharing…Well do agree with your ideas and tips these all mentioned games and all are truly very beneficial and helpful for boosting up kids memory..This blog post is much useful…

  2. Love these types of brain games. I have an app for brain games and this type of activities is on there. Also played these with my grandmother as she had dementia. Great for any age!

  3. Thanks for sharing a detailed blog post. I used to play the Memory Card Games when my kids were younger, and I still play the game on my phone via an app from the play store. LOL

  4. My two year old niece would love this! And the fact that it’ll help with her development is a HUGE plus. I know what we’re going to be doing the next time we’re together.

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