How to Play Memory Card Games with Your Young Child

Playing a memory card game with a young child is not only a fun and entertaining activity but also a great way to enhance their cognitive skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play a memory card game with your child:

Materials Needed

Memory card game set with matching pairs of cards (See below for number of cards recommendation)

A flat surface to lay out the cards like a table or the floor


Select an Age-Appropriate Memory Game: Choose a memory card game that suits the child’s age and interests. Look for games with colorful and easily recognizable images like animals.

Set Up the Playing Area: Find a flat and clean surface to lay out the cards. A table or the floor works well. Make sure there is enough space for the child to move around comfortably.

Shuffle and Lay Out the Cards: Shuffle the deck of cards thoroughly. Lay them face down on the playing surface in a grid formation, creating rows and columns. Make sure the cards are arranged randomly.

Explain the Rules: Explain the basic rules of the game to the child. Let them know that the goal is to find matching pairs of cards. Emphasize that they need to use their memory to remember the location of the cards.

Demonstrate How to Play: Start by turning over two cards. If they form a matching pair (same image), keep the pair and take another turn. If they don’t match, turn them face down again, and it’s the next player’s turn.

Take Turns: Encourage taking turns to make the game fair and inclusive. If playing with multiple players, make sure each child has an opportunity to flip over cards and try to find matching pairs.

Offer Encouragement and Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate successful matches and reassure the child if they don’t find a match. The primary focus is on having fun and enjoying the process.

Adjust Difficulty for Younger Players: For younger children or beginners, consider starting with a smaller number of cards or using a memory game set with fewer pairs. Gradually increase the difficulty as their memory skills improve.

Make it Educational: Engage in a bit of learning by identifying the images on the cards. You can ask questions like, “What’s on this card?” or “Can you find another card with a picture of a cat?”

End the Game Positively: The game can end when all pairs have been found or you can set a time limit. Regardless of how the game concludes, end on a positive note, praising the child for their efforts and expressing how much fun it was to play together.

How many cards should I use?

When playing a memory card game with a young child in the age range of 6 to 8 years old, the number of cards you choose can depend on the child’s level of concentration, attention span, and familiarity with the game. However, a good starting point is typically a set with around 12 to 24 cards, creating 6 to 12 matching pairs.

Here are a few considerations:

Start Small: For younger children or those who are new to memory games, you might want to begin with a smaller set of cards, such as 12 cards (6 pairs). This allows them to grasp the concept without feeling overwhelmed.

Gradually Increase Difficulty: As the child becomes more comfortable and confident in playing the game, you can gradually increase the number of cards. Move from a 12-card set to a 16-card set, then to a 20-card set, and so on.

Consider the Child’s Interest: Choose a memory card game with images or themes that the child finds interesting. Whether it’s animals, numbers, letters, shapes, or familiar objects, selecting a set that captures their attention can enhance their engagement.

Observe the Child’s Response: Pay attention to how the child responds during the game. If they seem engaged and excited, you can experiment with slightly larger sets. If they appear overwhelmed or lose interest, it may be beneficial to stick with a smaller number of cards.

Quality Over Quantity: The focus should be on the quality of the interaction and the child’s enjoyment rather than the sheer number of cards. A successful and enjoyable experience will encourage them to play again and gradually take on more challenging versions of the game.

Remember that the goal is to make the game enjoyable and age-appropriate. Adjust the difficulty level based on the child’s comfort and enthusiasm, and feel free to customize the game to suit their preferences. As they become more adept at the game and their memory skills develop, you can introduce larger sets of cards for an added challenge.

You can use these free printable flashcards to make your own memory game:

Free Printable Kid Number Flashcards To Color

Free Printable Kid ABC Flashcards To Color

If you would like to support me in making more free printables, please feel free to leave a tip here. Thank you.

You can get a printable set of Memory Cards with cute woodland animals and birds in my shop.

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