Using Games As A Way To Improve Working Memory.

In our February 3rd blog "Improving Working Memory," we defined working memory as "the part of memory that helps us hold various bits of data on line…A common observation in children who struggle with learning is that they have a hard time holding more than one thing in mind at a time."

Families often struggle to support their children with this type of processing weakness. A recent book, "Executive Functions Training" by Gottschall and Rozendaal, provides an excellent springboard with suggestions of games families can play that will exercise a child's memory.  Among the suggestions:  The game "Clue" provides rich visual stimuli in the process of solving intriguing dilemmas that can engage the whole family. "Twenty Questions" can work well on a road trip. Remembering not only the questions already asked but figuring out the categories to determine the final answer can create great fun. Additionally, memory card games are a terrific standby to turn drill and practice of math facts, states and capitals, historical dates and corresponding events into games, along with many other alternatives.

Card games can also be a terrific way to build a child's memory – games such as  "Go-Fish," "Crazy Eights," and "Four-Card Golf" can take the labor out of  "memory" drills and turn them into fun.

One favorite is collaborative-story telling. A leader begins the story and each member of the family adds another sentence.  Here's a great format:  One day…when…all of a sudden…after that…after that…in the end .

The best approach to these games is to remember that games should be fun, otherwise students can reject them as just another chance to fail and be censured.

What are some games that you've used to help your student improve memory?

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