This is a very simple game that most preschoolers can play successfully. In fact, most young children are better at this game than adults.
This game can be played with any matching cards. Many different sets of matching cards are available commercially with various pictures, such as farm animals, insects, birds, household items, paintings by famous artists, etc. Standard playing cards or number cards can also be used. The number of pairs used to play the game should remain low (around 6 pairs) for the youngest players. With older children, more pairs can be used.
When children first play this game, they tend to choose cards at random; they often do not replace cards in the same place from which the cards were taken; and many times they do not pay attention to which cards other players turn over. As they become more experienced at playing this game, they begin to figure out that watching the other players turn over cards will give them useful information.
An interesting way that young children often play Memory is that when children see a player turn over a card and they think they know where its match is, when it is their turn they will often turn over the card that was just turned over first, and then try to find its match. Adults recognize that if they are not positive about where a card is placed, they should turn over the card that they are not sure about first, so that if they are wrong, they have not wasted a turn.
Young children often play Memory cooperatively. That is, when a player turns over a card and another player knows where its match is, that child will often tell the player which card to turn over in order to make a match. The cooperative game Secret Door (a commercial game by Family Pastimes) is a memory-type game with a twist to make it slightly more complex.
The versions of Memory sold in most stores are made by Hasbro.
Recommended # of players: 2 - 4
Click here to download the game.