Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Match? Yes! A Match!

There is truly nothing quite like a memory matching game – so very simple, yet you can almost watch it shaping young minds as they test and stretch their cognitive skills. Traditionally it was played with a deck of cards, but has morphed over time into a myriad of visually-enticing, brain-twisting options. SO many options! I remember as a child absolutely loving my Memory game. I have a strong memory (no pun intended) of sitting on the floor in our basement TV room, playing it with my parents. However, my memory is not sharp enough to recall what the images on the little square cards were.

Because the game can be introduced to a child as young as three years old, and because it can be appealing to people of almost any age, it can easily be found and adapted. We have several. My boss, not one to indulge in gift-giving, but who has a daughter the same age as Samantha, gave Sammi this Chelona Memo Fantasy game, made in Germany. It consists of several wooden boards, printed on each side with images of nature (one has bugs, one has flowers, another with butterflies, and yet another with ladybugs) and a few paper templates with which to make your own (by adhering stickers, photos, etc.). They are set over four dowels to keep them in place. Little wooden snails are set on top of each image, covering them from view, and each player, in turn, removes two at a time. If they reveal two matching images, the snails stay off and remain in that person’s possession. The person with the most snails at the end wins. It is beautifully crafted, and fits my fantasy of what toys we would have exclusively for Samantha as she grew up – wooden, educational, throwbacks to a simpler time. A fantasy I had before she was born, and which dissolved into an impossible dream almost instantly, the moment Ernie and Bert reared their ugly heads, followed quickly by Dora and the Disney Princesses.

Speaking of whom…the next game is the Kai-lan memory match game. We also have the Disney Princess version. And seriously, these games are hard!! How many little square cards can you have with pictures that are almost exactly like the others? They’re like finding a needle in a haystack. Not like games should always be easy, but they should at least be playable without dissolution into frustration by both parent and child.  Maybe it's just me...?  Needless to say, these boxes don’t come out all that often (don’t let that torn corner fool you…).

My parents gave Sammi Tea Party Smarty, another memory match game, by Hallmark. I love this one. Cards big enough to actually see, pictures bright and individual enough to discern the differences at a glance (none of that is-Cinderella’s-hair-in-a-ponytail-or-in-a-sweeping-updo? stuff…), with images of items found at a tea party (duh). 50 cards can be a bit daunting at first, but are easily pared down for smaller games.

(I love how hard she's concentrating here...)

You really can make a match game out of just about anything, the more creative, the better.  Do you have any favorites?

I particularly love the version where my girl sorts her own lovely, rainbow-hued socks fresh out of the dryer. ;-)

A match?

Yes, baby, it’s a match.


Alicia said...

Elias' first matching card was brought from my MIL in one shopping day at USA. It was Noah's ark theme cards. You had to match the male animal with the female animal. it was cute.

I remember at special ed school they borrow me one to match object-utility. like glove with a hand, or brush with a hair. etc i thought it will be hard for Elias but it wasnt and he loved it. (he was 3)

Elias latest favorite thing are puzzles! dinosaur, toys story, sponge square pants are his favorite!

I LOVE buying educational toys but my husband says is enough educational going to 2 schools lol, the boy needs to play without thinking to much. lol. so Elias likes to play with hot wheels, so we count them, we put together the ones that are alike in shape or color, etc, hehe

Amy Flege said...

i love the picture of her with her little tongue out concentrating!!!

Zoey's mom said...

Oh Samantha,you never cease to amaze!

Crazy Beautiful Love said...

Emma is loving her match games too! We are also doing matching/sequencing games. ARe you guys working on those too?
Sammie is one smart cookie!

RobMonroe said...

That first one is REALLY awesome. We had all of those same fantasies/goals about what kinds of toys we would allow in our home. Ha!

Melissa said...

I love the wooden matching game! And I love Sammi concetrating. :)