The Memory Game: Have we forgotten the importance of remembering?

Some history professors would tell us that remembering important things, events, people is important because it not only teaches us lessons for the future, but it tells us about who we are and how we got here. Our ability to remember is also an important skill to develop, for both adults and children: an ability that has been forgotten since we hardly have to remember anything, now that we have all the data we need at our fingertips – remember when we memorized all important phone numbers? maybe you don’t remember if you are in your 20’s.


The memory game, as some call it, or “matching pairs” is a game you can play with your young children to encourage the use of their memory skills. Children learn how to retrieve information in a relaxed setting while developing patience and perseverance 1. Not only is this activity said to contribute to young children’s cognitive development 3, but according to Unicef, it helps develop their ability to recognize similarities and differences, categories, logic, creativity (by assembling the cards on their own). They also learn more about the world surrounding them through the pictures that are displayed in front of them 2.

I recently started playing the memory game with my 4-year-old daughter (in Spanish it’s called “Encuentra la Pareja”). Laid cards face down on the floor – the deck contains pairs of identical images – as they are placed randomly you need to guess where the matching cards are, by lifting two cards. Every time you fail is your opponent’s turn. Through this process, players attempt to memorize the location of the pairs.

During early childhood, the process of learning is supposed to take place when repeated experiences promote the development of neuron networks 4. Opportunities to practice tasks that require memory (such as “Encuentra la Pareja”) improve learning. A number of digital versions of this game can be found online, but nothing replaces the one-on-one interaction of playing cards with your kid.

As I played with my daughter, I realized I had spent a good amount of time where she was engaged in an activity that developed a number of skills – not just memory: sportsmanship, strategy, counting, but most importantly we laughed and bonded. If my memory doesn’t fail me, I started letting her win - now she beats me at it.

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(1) Playing cards will improve memory 





Jorge Gallego
Jorge Gallego


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