Letter Memory Game – Alphabet For Starters

heart shaped upper case & lowercase letter memory game

I am still calling this an alphabet for starters activity but really my little girls is graduating to just plain alphabet activities. Matching upper and lowercase letters is not really a beginner activity but the playful way to learn with a memory game still meets the goal of this series . Playful alphabet activities. This game would be a cinch to adjust for more novice learners. Simply stick to only one case of letters or scrap the memory game and try something more straight forward like my friend Jamie did a few days ago on Hands On As We Grow. To make it tougher skip using the scaffold of the matching colors and use only one color of hearts.  To see our other Alphabet for Starters activities see our list here.

  1. Gather your materials.  You will need a sharpie and some colorful foam hearts. I got both at the dollar store for a buck each.heart shaped letter memory game
  2. Write out letter pairs with one upper and one lowercase letter. I didn’t do the whole alphabet , I rarely do. I choose letters I know she knows ( M, A, J) and some I know she struggles with ( Q, G, ) and fill in the gaps randomly. Also each pair is done in the same color. When we played I told my daughter to find the same color. This made the game much more accessible for a 2 year old and gave her color recognition work to boot. heart shaped letter match game
  3. Lay out your hearts face down.heart letter memory game for learning
  4. Play. She was enthusiastic immediately. I demonstrated once and she was off. heart shaped letter memry and match gameWe left our letters face up in their own spaces when we matched them up. She was thrilled when her letter ( M) was flipped overheart shaped upper and lower case memory game and even happier when she made a match. heart letter memory gameThe first time we played she called the Q a “funny O” we tried to figure out what letter is was and I ended up labeling it for her and we kept playing. The next day ( we’ve played daily for 5 days in a row so far) she called it a Q and matched it to it’s lowercase letter without any prompting. No drill needed , just a fun game.
  5. Celebrate with each match heart letter match for valentine's dayand hoot and holler when you have completed the whole game!heart shaped letter match game for kids I often gets asked if I play against my kids for memory games. Sometime I do but usually I don’t. We play as a team . For my daughter with a game like this I will narrate with her after she identifies a letter unprompted I will say ” Hmm I wonder which heart the lowercase B is under ?” or some such thing. If she is having a hard time with a letter. I will try to ask questions to help her instead of just telling her. Like with the Q I said ” What letter do you have ?” and she answered ” A funny O.” then I said ” What makes it funny?” ” It has a tail Mama!” . To which I replied ” Do O’s have tails.” and she giggled  saying “No!” and I said ” That is a an uppercase Q.” Even at such a young age kids can help figure things out and when we engage them like this they learn to ask questions , answer others and not just guess at the right answer.

 

Easy New Years Memory Game

new years activity for kids My kids and I had a blast playing memory with this homemade memory game that we made with pictures of some of our favorite memories of 2012.  As you will see both my kids played ( although they aren’t ready to play against each other yet – their gap in abilities is still too vast) and both loved not only beating mom ( I am terrible at this game) but also retelling stories about each picture and the memory that went with it. Oh and it’s so easy to make.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, double stick tape, digital photos , scissors and marker. new years memory game
  2. Choose 6 or more photos of favorite memories of 2012. You can print them out in a collage using a service like picmonkey.com or individually. Make sure you have 2 copies of each picture.
  3. Cut your pictures out. Mine are all black and white because I ran out of color ink not for any grand reason. new years memory game for kids
  4. Tape to the card stock.
  5. Cut out.new years memory match game for kids and toddlers
  6. I added the year on the back for fun. Also I plan on making this year after year.memory match game for kids and toddlers
  7. Time to play. First up was my wee one. I laid out 8 matches for her although I probably could have done 6.match game for toddlers
  8. She loved seeing the photos of herself – her first day of school with her teacher was her favorite.  The excitement was genuine when she made a match. She made six before she asked if she could play with her tea set :) Next time I will keep the number of cards lower.memory and match game for kids and toddlers for new years
  9. Then we set it up for my 6 year old. match and memory game for new years eveHe got the whole deck and was eager to show off.  new years match game for kids and toddlersHe didn’t know what photos I chose for the game and was happy to recount the stories that went with many of the photos. new years even game for kids  His favorite was a photo of him playing with our contributing writer Kim’s son .new years photo memory game He made matches so quickly and counted them up after each one. It was a perfect opportunity to skip count by two as well.new years eve memory game for kids

Happy New Year!

 

Masterpiece Memory Game

While browsing through the kid section of the gift shop at The Art Institute of Chicago I saw a fine art memory game that I wanted, what I didn’t want was the price tag, or the extra weight in my suitcase on the trip home. So instead I grabbed a few packs of Art Stickers ( for $1.50 each) and made my own. Memory games like this are great to teach basic game playing etiquette , good sportsmanship as well as an appreciation of the subject matter.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, fine art stickers and scissors.
  2. Start by cutting your card stock into squares. I made 16 ( 8 pairs) which seems to be a great and manageable number of pairs  for my son . Memory games have never been his strong suit so follow your own child’s abilities and you can always add or remove cards as needed.
  3. Pop the stickers on. I made the pairs match up with card color too as an extra hint for my son since I am trying to encourage him to play this game more without it ending in frustration over not getting it right away.
  4. All done.
  5. Flip over .
  6. Time to play.
  7. He made a match!

This game was a bigger hit this time than memory has ever been before, not sure if it was the color hint , subject matter or simply the right game on the right day. All I know is to keep trying lessons, games and activities even if they weren’t hits initially.

_____________________________

Books About Fine Art

Touch the Art: Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo is the inspiration for this post and my son’s new found love of Renaissance Art. The book is a board book with touch and feel aspects to it. The text is cute but not a story, each page asks the reader to do something with the touch and feel item . The real gem is bringing the art to young eyes. The book includes wonderful masterpieces : Girl with A Pearl Earring , Birth of Venus, The Arnolfini Portrait and more!

Katie Meets The Impressionists by James Mayhew is a art fairytale! Katie goes to the museum with her grandmother and before she knows it she is in the paintings and the world of the painters and their families.  Katie goes from painting to painting gathering flowers for her grandma and exploring a world on the other side of the canvas.  What I enjoy about this book is that it brings the paintings to life for readers and it shares the  back story in a way that children can connect to and imagine the possibilities when they go to museums! Of all these books this one held my son’s attention the least. I like to think it’s because he’s not a fan of impressionism, but I think it was simply a little long for his not quite 3 year old attention span.  Maybe if Renoir had painted garbage trucks… seriously though this is a fabulous book and worth a read!

Here’s Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves (Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures) is devoted to self portraits and the story behind each one in this fascinating book. This is a book for children older than my son who is 4 but I still showed him every painting ( all self portraits) and read highlights of the text which I found fascinating and can’t wait to share it with my kids when they are a little older. I read a lot of art history books for fun and I learned a few things reading this.  I can’t think of a better book to couple with a lesson about self portraits for kids 6-12.

Character Memory Game

I tried to keep characters, TV and movies away from my son for as long as I could. That lasted about a year, now he recognizes most characters even ones he’s never seen anywhere but the store like Spider man .  Seeing all the merchandise in the store is tempting for kids and the last thing I need in my house is another plastic toy that offers few learning opportunities, so instead I made this.  I spent one dollar on these Toy Story stickers and we have been having fun playing and learning since. It’s a great compromise.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some character stickers ( 2 sheets of matching), some card stock, scissors or a paper cutter, and some family members to play.
  2. Start by cutting your card stock into squares.
  3. Pop the stickers on
  4. Make sure the stickers on on the same colors, I made it a little tricky for my 3 year old by having multiple characters , but used different colored card stock to help act as a hint.
  5. Gather some grandparents to play with your child !

This was one of the games we took with us on our road trip to the beach, it’s small, packs easily and fits into our Travel Craft Box !

Cupcake Match Game For Kids

cupcake memory game

Matching games not only exercise your child’s memory they teach color recognition, patience and taking turns.  It’s birthday party season around here and this paper was bought for a friend’s party last week, and this week the extra gets turned into fun.  I started out playing it with the cupcakes facing us simply looking for matches, it was way too easy so I flipped them over and we played the game properly, and my son beat me fair and square!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some patterned wrapping paper, some construction paper, scissors and a glue stickcupcake matching game supplies
  2. Cut your construction paper into 12 or more squares.
  3. Cut 2 of each picture out- we did 6 individual picture for 12 cards total.cupcake matching game 6
  4. Using the glue stick glue the wrapping paper down.cupcake match game tutorial
  5. Let dry
  6. Play- either face up searching for matches, with young toddlers.cupcake matching playing game
  7. Or  traditionally face down taking turns .cupcake matchign game match

Book!

“If You Give A Cat A Cupcake!” by Laura Numeroff is the newest installment of her ever popular “If You Give…” series. I like this one , I mean any book with a cat in a bathing suit is worth a look. I am a big fan of these stories not only because they have just the right amount of text for young preschoolers, but also because the illustrations by Felicia Bond are so detailed you can spend ages talking about what your child sees in the book after the words are read. I love the cause and effect , and after a few readings your child will have fun telling you what’s next.