Isobel has always enjoyed playing memory games on the computer so I decided that I would make her a set of memory cards myself so that we can play the game together. For a week I mulled over all the different ways I could make cards for a memory game without realizing I already had the makings for a kickass memory game in my craft cupboard, no assembly required. Then it hit me – photographs! I keep a stack of printed photographs in the cupboard and send each one with a thank you note to my Etsy customers.
If you don’t already have doubles of photographs you can order them inexpensively from a drugstore, and not only to you have a memory game for your child all ready to go but you also have a game personalized to their lives. You can make themed cards: people you know, family, places around town, animals. If your kids are a bit older you can let them in on the project from the beginning and have them help you decided what to photograph or choose their own images from what you have on hand.
You do need to keep in mind the orientation of your photos. I made two sets for Isobel; one for horizontal photos and one for vertical ones. Another thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that this works best if all of your images are all facing the same way. You know that a rose right-side up and a rose upside down is still the same rose, but it will take longer for your child’s brain to figure that out and that could lead to frustration. In order to keep the cards in the correct orientation pile and to make sure they are all right side up I put a tiny initial into the left hand corner of each card. Horizontal photos got a tiny “H” while the vertical photos received a tiny “V.”
Make sure each photo you choose is distinct, with only a few things going on. You’ll want each photo to have their own colors and subjects that jump out easily. The photos I chose aren’t always simple shapes but they will have one overarching color that sets them a part from the others.
Other thrifty ways to make a memory game:
- Buy two copies of a magazine and cut out the same pages and glue them to index cards.
- Buy two sets of stickers and decorate pairs of index cards identically. Cut the cards in half first and you have a mini-memory game.
- Draw simple shapes on your cards with crayons to help very young children learn shapes and colors while working on memory.
- Have your kid color or paint a set of cards and then photocopy them to make duplicates.
If you have index cards all you need to do is to find a way to make them look similar.
Isobel and I played this game so long the other day that I eventually had to make her stop because I got bored. May you have the same problem!