Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

A new game for memory and math

on April 20, 2010

So I made up a new game today! At least I hope I made it up. If it has already been patented, and the owner or a friend of the owner sees this, I hope that individual will be gracious and realize my plagiarism was entirely unintentional.

You can play this with any matching cards, like a regular deck of cards, but it’s most fun with cards from the game “Memory”. Any child 3 and up, who understands how “match game” (as my kids call it) works, can play.

Give and Take

For 3-6 players

Object: To match up all the cards through cooperation

How to play:

  1. Give each player 5 cards, and have them lay their cards in front of them, face up. They should be arranged in a square (two on top, two underneath, one in the middle, just like dots on a die)
  2. Place the remaining cards facedown in the middle, one pile for each player, to make draw piles. For instance, if there are three players, divide the cards into three stacks. (If any players match all their cards, they sit out, and move any remaining cards into two stacks for the two remaining players)
  3. Play starts with each person looking at his or her cards and seeing if any matches are already present. These are set next the player in his or her “win” pile.
  4. The dealer (usually mom or dad) starts play:
    • Take one card and hand it to the person to the left. If it gives that player a match he/she puts the matching cards in his/her win pile. If it doesn’t, he/she adds it to his/her cards
    • Take one card from any draw pile. If it’s a match, move the cards to the “win” pile. If not, add it to the cards on the floor.
    • The turn is over
  5. Game goes in a circle until a player gets rid of all his/her cards. That person sits out until all the cards are matched up.

Winning: Whoever has the most matches wins.

Skills to be learned:

  • math:arranging the cards in familiar shapes to represent numbers, and teaching the child to recognize the group, rather than by counting each individual card (there are studies out there proving the former is much better for later math mastery); order (“Caleb is first, Isaac goes next—that’s second—, Makenzie goes third . . “)
  • shape, color, or object recognition (matching);
  • Character training. Now, we are not believers in the “everybody is a winner” philosophy. Part of character building to help later in life is learning early that you’re not always a winner, you’re not always best, and you’re not always going to have things go your way. However, for the sake of teaching other valuable lessons—helping others, looking out for others over yourself, teamwork, cooperation, etc—you could make this game not about winning and losing, but about getting to the end. I noticed that my 5 year old would see that he had a card his younger brother had, and so would pass it on to him. My 4 year old, on the other hand, while happy to take the freebies, kept giving me cards I didn’t have a match for and hording the ones he did. I honestly don’t know if it was deliberate or not noticing, but even if it’s the latter it is a lesson that needs to be taught: notice how you can help people. So you can play this game for win or lose (frankly, if you’re concerned about “lose” and it’s negative connotation, you can simply say, “There’s one winner, and everyone else has a chance to win next time”), or play it for character building skills.
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