New Ideas for Classic Memory Games

Variations on Memory

“I remember,
A time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again.”

Ah, Memory games. That therapy room staple that you grab in a moment of desperation and activity that appears on nearly every articulation app. It was like the greatest, most inspired idea when you started using it in the clinic, right?

Who’s secretly sick of it?

That’s a lot of raised hands. Mine included.

The reason Memory games stick around isn’t because they are the most fun you’ve ever had, but because they are so easy and such an easy way to get practice in with minimal set-up.

It’s time for some alterations.

Let’s start with the beginners.

Young ones or older ones that can’t handle a big memory load (‘cause let’s be honest, seldom are we targeting the memory aspect really) or a wide visual array are going to need some adaptations.  Try these:

Memory one row copy

Make two identical decks and only lay one of the decks face down.  Now, have your kiddo draw the top card from the other deck and flip ones from the array until they get a match.

Let’s make it slightly harder by laying out two rows—each with all of the cards (I usually only have 5-7 pairs when I play this way).  Have kiddos start with a card from the top row, and see if they can find the match in the bottom row.

Memory every other card copy

In a bit of a rush or have a kiddo easily upset with the memory component? Get rid of it!  Place the cards in a large array and have them flip over every other card (or every third card).  Once you have those flipped, collect the matches.  Repeat. Collect. Repeat.

Got some older kids that think Memory isn’t enough of a challenge? Shake them up with a red herring or two.  Add at least one or two cards that don’t have a match (if I were doing this with a regular card deck, I’d use a joker, but you’ll find a funny one you can add—like the “gorilla” from your /g/ or /l/ decks.) Play as usual, but if you flip the “surprise” card—oof! You lose one of your pairs.  Your choice as to whether the surprise card happens once or stays in the game.

Or tell them that any two cards can go together as long as they can give you a sentence with both. Or maybe you want them to give you a reason they two cards could be related?  (ex. “‘Cow’ and ‘kangaroo’ are both animals.”)  Up to you.  Be prepared for some pretty kooky answers, especially as you get down to the last few!

Confession time. When’s the last time you played Memory?





This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Susan Berkowitz

    Some great ideas for adapting the game to fit the players!

  2. Annette Macher

    I really like the adaptations for playing memory. Now I have even more reason to keep that game in the repertoire!

    1. admin

      Thanks, Annette!

  3. Susan

    I do know know when was the last time I played memory.. ah, there goes my memory. Maybe I better start playing. I have 5 min kids and don’t have time. I like some of these ideas. They would work for these short spurts; more fun than lists.

    1. admin

      MUCH more fun than a list for both you and students! Hope you enjoy!

  4. julie Berens

    Thanks for these variations, very timely!!

    1. admin

      Have fun!

  5. Melanie

    I love the matching aspect. I’ve created a game that guarantees a match, and only one match, every time. Great to play with kids. Quick and easy set up. Play for a few minutes, or a whole session. Some game genes target specific sounds, others target holidays, seasons and more. Check it out.

Comments are closed.


The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.