Educators and families alike are in a sort of conundrum when it comes to entertaining their brood. Part of you wants something fast, part of you wants something that will entertain them for long periods of time – that they will genuinely enjoy, but that won’t take a lot of work on your personal part.
Creating homemade Memory and ‘Look and Find’ games will fit all of those requests, while still being educational.
First, let’s go through the process of the memory game. For those who may not have played the game growing up, it’s an easy concept consisting of many images that have a match and create a pair when put together. Each image is on a card that is turned face down, thus making the image hidden. All those playing take turns turning over just two cards at a time, all the while using their ‘memory’ to remember where the pairs are.
For the very young learners, this can be achieved with either the adult or teacher drawing simple pictures or using stickers. If you decide to do the drawings, although this would take longer – the teacher could easily have the child pick from a variety of images and draw out the ones the child picks. Another option is to have the children utilize stickers. They can adhere stickers easily enough, most from the age two and on. Plus it can keep them entertained while giving them ownership over the creating of their project. It also allows them to see and become familiar with the images that they will soon be ‘tested’ on memorizing.
Once the images are made on the cards, begin by going through each image and it’s mate. You can make the conversation as detailed as you would like. Plus allow for practice time of how to do the matching and the general concept of the game. If you notice that your participants are not fully grasping the concept of the pair matching, you can do a very basic ‘Look and Find’ of a particular image.
Almost everyone is familiar with the picture books, “Where’s Waldo?” Searching for a specific image amongst an entire background of images. Creating your own educational version can be made as well. There are two different versions that you can use with your learners.
One would be to use the cards from the previous mentioned memory game. Scatter the cards and then ask your young learners to find a particular image that you chose. For teachers, you could parlay this into various writing activities.
The second strategy would be to allow your participants to create an elaborate drawing, but designating what images you want to be ‘hidden’ in there. This could feel challenging, however with enough time, encouragement, and examples – the drawers should find it a fun and rewarding project. They could swap with someone else and have them ‘look and find’ the images that they have creatively hidden.
For educators, homeschooling families, and those educating children in a non-traditional setting, don’t dismiss these activities by thinking that they are not aligned with standards or core curriculum. This artistic project can be manipulated to fit any age group, as well as subject arena. For example, it could be an introductory or final project to a thematic unit or learning unit, it could tie into the alphabet, transportation, animals, or a book or novel that was recently read. You could utilize sight words, shapes and colors, mathematical calculations, perhaps a school field trip.
This article was written by Rosshalde Pak, for Games for Educators. Rosshalde is an Educational Entrepreneur based in Portland, Oregon. You can find other works of hers on EducationShortList.com