Critical Thinking 101: Here’s How Memory Games Help Children Nurture Their Attention to Detail

Keeping young minds busy isn’t always easy. Children develop many skills while they’re growing, and it’s often a challenge to provide engaging, comprehensive guidance and teaching along the way.

That’s why we’re going to explore memory and attention to detail and look at ways to make the learning and development of these skills engaging, fun, and educational.

Memory skills are an important component in the cognitive development of children and they can have a major impact throughout their lives. Critical thinking skills, such as memory and attention to detail, are an important aspect of all of our lives, not just for kids. Their value is perhaps of greater importance in today’s information-dense world than ever before.

There’s also growing concern that the internet and digital media are having a detrimental effect on our attention spans, both for children and adults. By getting actively involved in developing your child’s attention to detail, you can help alleviate these concerns.



Sitting Up & Taking Notice

Before exploring memory games and their role in improving children’s attention to detail, let us first define attention.

Attention to detail is the ability to ignore distractions and focus on important information. This allows us to accomplish a task with consideration of all the factors involved.

There are many benefits to a well-developed attention to detail.

Instructions are easier to follow because attention is paid to the sequence of tasks. Learning new skills and information is easier because more attention is applied while learning. Social skills can also improve because of greater attentiveness to the details communicated by others. These are just some of the benefits that kids can benefit from.


Memory Games to Aid Attention

Memory games require that the players pay attention and notice details. The greater their attention and the more details that they notice, the better they are at the games.

The benefits of memory games are numerous, and of course, they include attention to detail. Memory games are proven to improve concentration, help train visual memory and improve short-term memory. They also improve the ability to categorise objects and identify differences and increase vocabulary.

By their nature and design, memory games are fun too, and they don’t have to cost a cent. So, using memory games provides an engaging, budget-friendly, and enjoyable way to contribute to the development of children’s critical thinking and cognitive development.


Types of Memory Games

There are many memory games to choose from that not only help a child develop their memory and attention to detail. Memory games also require the players to focus, think and plan.

Here is a small selection of engaging memory games your kids can try:


  1. Kim’s Game

Kim’s game gets its name from the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim. This memory game has even been used to test memory by various Royal Marine training schools. From this, you can see that memory games are not just for children. Most of us could probably do with some memory practice….If you play this with your child, you wouldn’t want them to beat you too easily, would you?


Originally Kim’s Game is played as follows:

  • Several similar objects are placed on a tray. The recommended number of objects is four to fifteen. The more objects, the harder the game.
  • The players are then given up to one minute to memorise the objects on the tray.
  • The objects are then covered with a cloth and the players must name or write down as many of the objects as they can remember. The player who remembers the most objects wins.

The greater the similarity between the objects, the more difficult the game and the more attention to detail required. In the novel, the first time Kim plays the game, he is attempting to memorise fifteen different jewels.

A variant of the game that’s often used with younger children involves removing one object from the covered tray after the players have attempted to memorise it. Players must then identify the missing object.


  1. Matching Cards

Matching cards requires a set of cards with pairs of identical pictures. There are many versions available on the market, but it’s also easy to make your own. The object of this game is to match the pairs of identical cards. This game requires paying attention to and remembering where specific pictures are.



How it’s played:

  • The cards are placed face down and spread out.
  • During their turn, each player gets to turn over two cards trying to find a matching pair.
  • If they don’t match, the cards are returned face down to their original place. If they match, the player keeps those cards and takes another turn.
  • Once all the pairs have been matched, the player with the most cards is the winner.

Just like in card games like Solitaire, the more cards   the more difficult the game.


  1. I Went To A Picnic and I Took a …

This is a memory game that is more fun to play with a group.

How it’s played:

  • The first player starts by picking something that they took on the picnic and then recites the sentence with their chosen item added to it. For example, the first player may say that they went on a picnic and took a basket.
  • The next player must then recite the sentence including the first player’s item and adding their own afterwards.
  • Subsequent players recite the sentence including all the previously added items and add their own at the end. After the last player’s turn, continue by returning to the first player.

You can easily change the starting sentence to add variety if you play the game regularly or to appeal more to the player’s interests.



Give Growing Brains A Memory Boost

Memory games are a fantastic and fun way to assist children in the development of their attention to detail and memory. Many memory games also contribute to the development of related critical thinking skills. The best part is, you can play them with items you already have at home.

Playing these games with children can have long-term benefits throughout their lives.

Enjoy them with your child and you will both reap the rewards!


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