Very young children have no trouble using their imagination and forming ridiculous pictures. They not only do it easily, they think it’s lots of fun. If you have children, acquaint them with some of the ideas on this website; you can harness that lively imagination and help them sharpen their sense of concentration—without their realizing what you’re doing, of course.

How To Help Your Kids Improve Their Memory

Make a game out of the Link system. During an automobile trip, see who can remember a list of items faster, or who can remember the most items. It is fun—and the children are learning a useful skill at the same time.

If you want to play the game of remembering items by number with a child who’s too young to learn the phonetic alphabet, there’s a way to teach him ten Peg Words almost instantly. They’re easy to learn they rhyme with the numbers, and most of them come from a song your children probably know.

1. one—run
2. two—shoe
3. three—tree
4. four—pour
5. five—hive (picture bees)
6. six—sticks
7. seven—heaven
8. eight—gate
9. nine—sign
10. ten—hen

Some of the words from the song have been changed to words that are easier for a child to picture. Teach the youngster to picture the item running, for 1 (run); being poured out of something, for 4 (pour); in the sky, for 7 (heaven); and so on.

how to improve memory for kids

The number-word rhymes make it easy for a child to learn the words in minutes. Once he has been tested on them, and knows them, he can be taught to associate (don’t use that word; the children won’t know what you’re talking about) any item to any of these Pegs. If you mention banana for number 6, the child will think sticks and, perhaps, see a bunch of bananas tied like a bunch of sticks. Give him a suggestion or two the first few times.

Here’s another way to use the Link as a game. Place eight or so items on a tray and cover them with a cloth. First remove the cloth for a short time (a minute or so), then replace it and have everyone try to list all the items. Each player receives one point for each item listed correctly; the more a player lists, the better his score.

Or you can show the items for a moment, then remove a couple of them without letting the players see which ones have been removed. You expose the tray of items again for ten seconds or so. The first player who correctly lists the missing items wins. Both these games are fun for children and teach them to start using some important mental powers—observation, memory, and concentration. They also work as incentives for the child to try to apply a simple Link.

You can also start helping the child to remember words through the Substitute Word system. When five-year-old Bobby Lorayne kept saying “caterlipper” for caterpillar, he was told to picture a cat chasing the crawling thing up a pillar (or pillow). It worked!

Surely every parent has used something of this sort at one time or another. But now you can take it much further. Use Substitute Words, with the child, for English or foreign words. It’s amazing how well the system works with children.

Here’s another game that children enjoy. In this one, pairs of letters are called or written, and each pair is assigned a hiding place. For example, PN is called, and the hiding place is the fish tank; FX is hidden in the TV set; CP in the window; TR in the flower pot, and so on. The child who remembers the most pairs of letters wins.

Tell the child to think of a word that begins and ends with the vital letters and then associate, in a silly way, that word (or thing) to the hiding place. The child might picture a gigantic pin swimming in the fish tank, a fox jumping out of the TV screen, a gigantic cup crashing through a window, and tar overflowing from, and ruining, a flower pot.

Any word can be used that will remind the child of the letters. If the letters are BN, bin is fine—but bone would still help the child remember them. For TR, tire or tree would also do.

how to improve memory - for adults

The game encourages the child to think of letters and words and get them right, helps his memory, and is fun to play. Children love to win; they’ll learn just because they want to play and win.

You can take this particular game a step further by using two letters plus a number from 1 to 10. Use the ten rhyming Pegs for this. If you call PT and number 5, hidden in the kitchen sink, the child might see a ridiculous picture of himself turning the faucet in the kitchen sink, and millions of pits and bees (hive-five) coming out of it.

There’s an old game in which each player adds an item to a list. The first player might say, “I’m going to Indianapolis to get a bottle.” The next player says, “I’m going to Indiana polis to get a bottle and a desk.” The third player says, “I’m going to Indianapolis to get a bottle, a desk, and a fish.” The game can be played with any number of players, each of whom must repeat all the items correctly and add one item. If there are four players, the first person’s turn comes up again after the fourth person. The first player who misses an item is “out”; the last person “in” wins. The application of the Link to this old game gives it a new dimension. With a little thought, any game can be changed or made more challenging by using such memory systems as the Link, Substitute Words, and Peg Words.

Starting young children off on some of the principles of a trained memory is one of the most useful things you can do for them. Imagine how helpful the systems can be to them for play, in school (most schoolwork is based on memory), and, later, socially and professionally.