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Winter Reading Fun: Memory Game Activity

Favorite Books Memory Game

Have some fun as a family! Gather some things associated with your favorite books (see our suggested list below) and play a memory game together.

What you need:

  • tray (tv tray, cardboard box, or any flat surface)
  • small cloth or blanket (dish cloth, small tablecloth, baby blanket)
  • assorted objects (see list below)

What you do:

Prepare the activity …

  1. Make a list of favorite book titles. You will need approx. one dozen titles to make the game challenging. TIP: When playing with ages 5 or younger, use fewer items.
  2. Find something associated with each book, e.g. a toy farm animal for Charlotte’s Web.
  3. Gather the items together in a box or basket.
  4. Arrange approx. 12 items on the tray. Now you’re ready to play!

What you do: Play the game!

  1. Take turns being the leader and the guesser. The guesser observes the items on the tray for a set amount of time (like 20 seconds).
  2. The leader covers the tray, and while the guesser turns to face the other way, secretly removes something from the tray.
  3. The guesser then turns around, uncovers the tray and tries to guess what was removed.
  4. Make it harder by removing more than one item. Make it even harder by moving the items around after an item is removed. TIP: The number of items removed should be determined at the start of each turn – no fair trying to trick the guesser by taking away two items when they think it will be only one!

There doesn’t have to be a winner for this game, but if you want one, keep track of how many times each player guesses the missing object. You can give three points for a correct answer on the first try, two points for the second try, etc. The one with the most points when you stop playing is the winner. You can play all week and see who has the most points by then!

Our List of Books and Items

Here are some suggestions of items that go with classic children’s books – but you can use your own ideas, too. If you don’t know why these items are associated with these books, then it’s time to borrow them from the Library!

  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig) – pebble
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears – spoon for the porridge
  • Corduroy (Don Freeman) – button
  • The Day the Crayons Quit (Drew Daywalt) – crayon
  • Hansel & Gretel (Brothers Grimm) – slice of bread
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (folktale collected by Joseph Jacobs) – a bean
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) – a chocolate bar or chocolate kiss! (TIP: The winner at the end of the game gets to eat it!)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak) – toy boat
  • Dog Man (Dav Pilkey) – dog toy
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography (Russell Freedman) – a penny
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Mo Willems) – a car key
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats) – a mitten
  • Mercy Watson (Kate DiCamillo) – a toy pig or a picture of a pig
  • Strega Nona (Tomie dePaola) – pasta
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Bill Martin, Jr.) – alphabet letters

Extend the activity! While preparing the activity, invite each member of the family to choose a book and find something that can be associated with it.

Extend it again! Instead of using 3-D objects, ask the kids to draw pictures for each book used in the game. They can cut copy paper into four pieces and put a picture on each one. Glue the pictures to an old cereal box so you can play the game another day.

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