Personalising games like this memory match one is such a simple way to engage a child with a sense of belonging and it is a great way to get them interested in something they may not usually want to participate in. If its a game about them, featuring them and their loved ones, well it kind of makes them famous.
Memory match is a classic, we've all had a go or remember a memory match game. Flip two cards and try to get a match, if your unsuccessful turn them back over then try again but remember the place of those cards as you go in order to improve the likelihood a of matching a pair. Easy right?
Well, not really. It's estimate that your brain only uses a significantly small portion of neurotransmitters in every day memory, actually out of trillions of neurons your brain only uses a few thousand. However while the brain is still forming in the first 5 years neural pathways are rapidly connecting and being enforced, so this number can be increased dramatically through memory games such as this.
Using or "exercising" more pathways in the brain on a regular bases while it is at its most significant growth period = childhood, ensures their connections and stability, therefore increasing the brain power of the child overall. By brain power, I am referring to concentration, focus, memory, overall functioning, cognitive and reasoning skills. "Exercise" for the brain has also been proven to ward the mind against Alzheimer's disease and improve ones quality of life by lowering stress levels.
Memory match games are aimed at children age 3-15 years usually. Unfortunately for the brains sake they can be portrayed as utterly boring. Dimples hasn't really been fond of them. So when our business scanner/fax machine was on the blink I had extra ink canisters that needed to be used before we installed the new machine. I used the left over ink cartridges to print family photos and did a bunch of doubles. I had no idea what I was going to do with them initially because the quality wasn't very good but I knew I wasn't going to waste all that ink.
Viola- family memory match. I used the Doubles to surprise Dimples with a Memory match game featuring him, he hadn't yet seen what pictures I had printed out.
Dimples and I had turns of trying to match pairs. First he wanted to play by claiming the pictures as his own, so if he "won" a pair they were his and if you won a pair you then got a second turn to flip a set of cards.
We also played a full board by keeping them spread out until all pairs were turned up right. For a game he isn't too fond of he really enjoyed himself and he was keen to see which photos I had printed out of the family. Surprise- Children love the element of surprise!
The key to memory match games is to start small so the reward pays off and gradually increase the number of cards as their attention span and memory increases. The great thing about this game is that we can keep it and expand the collection as our family changes and grows over the years to come.
Quite possibly in 5 years we could be playing the same games with a mix of baby photos and childhood photos of both Dimples and Cherub.
Once our family had a few games of the family memory match featuring . . . US, we packed them away in an envelope to store in the games box. See the thing is 'exercise' doesn't pay off if you do it once a month, its got to be regular and used in intervals. Brain exercise is the same, we will play this again more often and add more photos as time goes by.