What Are the Different Types of Working Memory Games?

Eugene P.

Working memory games come in a number of varieties to help stimulate the concentration and memory of the players. Matching-pair card games are popular because they are simple to understand. Scavenger hunts in which the list of items sought is only seen once also are easy to implement. Certain types of games involve showing items to the players and then removing them, requiring the players to name the objects that are missing. There are even computer-based working memory games that can increase the difficulty of the puzzles as the player’s memory improves.

Card playing can be beneficial to memory.
Card playing can be beneficial to memory.

Card-matching working memory games are easy to understand and can be a challenge for all ages. A grid of face-down cards is placed in front of the player, who then flips two cards at a time. If they do not match, then the cards are turned face down again and the player again attempts to match two cards. This type of game tests the short-term working memory and concentration of the player while dealing with the frustration of not being able to see the cards.

Playing dominoes may help improve memory.
Playing dominoes may help improve memory.

A blind scavenger hunt is a type of game in which items are hidden around a given area and a list of the hidden items is shown to the players. When the scavenger hunt begins, the list is taken away. The player must see how many objects on the list can be remembered while actively looking for them and being physically active. This develops short-term memory and concentration, and does so while the player physically navigates within a given space.

Certain working memory games can be beneficial to developing children. One of these is a game in which objects are spread out on a table or floor. The objects are covered, one is secretly removed, and then the objects are uncovered again. The player must determine which object is missing. This kind of game can help with a child’s cognition and concept of object permanence while also helping with his or her working memory.

Computer-based working memory games often offer abstracted exercises to help develop abilities. These kinds of games have few limitations. They can help to integrate the different senses of the player, including memory, concentration, dexterity, sight, sound and perception. Games that flash colors or shapes or test the memory of sequences also can be strictly timed in a computer game. The ability to integrate sounds and visual stimuli, such as matching sounds to specific animals in a matching game, can help to improve all areas of working memory.

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