Category : Visual Memory

Visual Memory

Hands-on Learning Games: How to Improve Your Child’s Visual Perception

Does your child have problems with her visual perception? A child who has weak visual perceptual skills will have trouble matching letters, numbers, or words. They might also have trouble telling what is different or the same about several objects or symbols.

For example, if you show them a picture of a horse and a cow, they would find it hard to explain that both have four feet and a tail. Older children might understand a word in one context, but not in another. So they might understand what extreme sports means, but not "taking things to the extreme."

Weak visual perception skills are not something your child is stuck with forever. You can use these simple games that are both inexpensive, easy to make, and fun to play.



  • nuts, bolts, buttons, shells, beans, seeds, small colored "jewels,"  miniature animals, foam geometric shapes, different coin  denominations
  • small containers to hold each type of object. These could be small  Tupperware containers, mini baking tins, tiny plastic serving bowls-  visit your local paper/party goods store for ideas.
  • a small tray to hold the containers. This is necessary in order to define  the work order and also to contain spills; it's not fun trying to pick up      dozens of rolling pinto beans!

How to Play:

  1. Choose the items you would like to sort. In the beginning start out with only two different types of objects. Later, as your child becomes more proficient, you can increase the choices to 3 or 4.
  2. Select the number of containers you will need. This will depend on how many different types of objects you have. So if your child is sorting geometric shapes, and there are 4 different types of shapes (make sure that each shape is always the same color, otherwise your child will not know whether to sort by shape or color), then you will need 4 different containers. You will also need a larger container to hold the unsorted items.
  3. Place all the containers on the tray, with the objects that need to be sorted in a container in the middle.
  4. Demonstrate to your child how to sort, making sure to demonstrate what to do if something spills, or if they finish (how and where will they put everything away?). They should pick up the objects with their thumb and index finger, but if they are older you can vary the game and make it more complicated by choosing tongs, tweezers, or other fun items.  Don't use a lot of explanation to do this; your actions will be enough.
  5. Let your child enjoy practicing sorting. Be prepared for siblings demanding to play as well- it is enticing even for older children as well.

TIP:  You can make this game especially pleasing by choosing matching colors for all the containers, and the tray, or by using crystal look-alike plastic. These are fairly inexpensive but add a lot to the game.

Category Fun

  • Pictures of items in several categories, such as: household furniture, food, clothes, animals, vehicles, appliances. You can use Yahoo Images to search for appropriate pictures. Just go to the regular search page, and instead of the page you automatically do your searches (this is called "web") you will click the word "images" next to it.
  • You should laminate each picture, or glue each picture to hard paper for durability. Tip: when laminating, be sure to cut out each picture before you laminate, rather than just laminating your whole sheet of pix and then cutting them out afterwards. Doing so might cause the two pieces of plastic holding your picture to open up a the ends.

How to Play:

  1. Choose two categories.
  2. Take one picture from each category and put them next to each other horizontally.
  3. Mix up the remaining pictures. Take a picture from the pile, and show your child how to decide where it goes. For example, if you have furniture and food (two obviously different categories) you would take a picture and ask your child, "Is this something we could eat? Oh, so it has to go here, with the furniture.
  4. As your child gets the hang of things (and it shouldn't take long), you can use more difficult categories, like: fruits vs. vegetables, wild animals vs. pets, hot vs. cold.

Another version of this game is called Secret Squares. You can find it in most toy stores, or online. You can also make it at home.  Basically you play it like 20 questions: you set out all the cards (face-up for an easy game, face-down for much harder), and one of you secretly chooses a card, and places a red plastic disc under it, to mark it.

The other players then have to guess where the red disc is by asking categorical type questions, like "is it something we eat?" If it is, then they can automatically take out all the things that are not edible. They then proceed to ask more specific questions, like,"is it a dessert?" until the tile is found.

This is a game for advanced players only, but you can make it easier by helping your child with the questions, and then letting her eliminate the tiles that don't belong.

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Visual Memory

Hands-on Learning Games: 2 Games to Improve Your Child’s Visual Memory

hands on learning games

Hands-on learning games are an ideal way to help your child improve his visual memory. If you find your child often has trouble remembering where she places her things, or finds it hard to locate familiar places, then these games, played regularly, can help increase the amount of space on your child's visual "hard drive."

Game #1: Picture Perfect

Gather your materials:

You will need actual objects or pictures of common items, such as: a small ball, fork, toy car, play figure, etc.

Play the Game:

  1. Choose three items. Lay them on the table in a horizontal row in front of your child. Putting your finger on each item, ask your child to name each one.
  2. Then ask your child to leave the room. As she leaves the room, cover the objects with a baby blanket or other suitable material. Then sing a song, asking her to come in.
  3. When she enters, see if she can remember what items are under the blanket, preferably in order.

This game can be played alone, but it is also great fun to play with friends or other family members. Here are some fun variations on the game:

  • Once your child is proficient at remembering three items, you can go up to 4 or more items at a time.
  • Try adding an item after your child leaves the room. She then has to guess which one was added.
  • Try taking away an item. She then has to remember which item is missing.

Tip: In the beginning it will be easier for your child to remember items that are dissimilar, such as a ball, a shoe, and a fork. Later you can make the game more complicated by sticking to one category. For example, you might use a fork, a spoon, and a knife. 3-4 year olds should be able to remember at least three items, while 5-6 year olds should be able to remember at least 4-5 items, sequentially.

Game #2: Devious Dice

Gather your materials:

You will need large foam dice, which can be found at most toy stores.

Play the Game:

1. Start with three dice. Place the dice in a horizontal row in front of your child, then turn the each die randomly.

2. Tell your child to look at the dice for at least 7 seconds; encourage them to look at them for the full amount of time, as often children think they have it down after only a glance, only to find they don't actually remember.

3. Ask your child what numbers they saw, in order.

Here are some variations to this game:

  • Add another die for more of a challenge.
  • Ask your child to remember only the color of each die, to make it easier/
  • Advanced players can have the dice laid out so that there is a die above and/or below another die. They will then have to remember, for example, 2,4, 6, and a 2 under the 6.

Tip: This is a game on the harder end. Play only twice a week, and make it more exciting by taking turns, playing "challenger" rounds, or giving a small prize to the winner. A prize need not be material; it can also be staying up a half-hour past bedtime, or getting to choose the menu for dinner.

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