Exercise Your Mind and Have Some Fun With Verbal Memory Games and Brain Teasers
There are reasons for playing memory games other than memory improvement and fun, and I had one of those other reasons a couple of years ago: dealing with fear.
I'll tell you about that in a minute, along with what kind of memory game the supportive person with me used to take my mind off of what was scaring me. I can't say I forgot about my fear -- that would have been next to impossible -- but dedicating at least part of my brain to the memory game really helped calm me down.
And one doesn't need any type of physical aids to play fun memory games. Here are some suggestions....
The "I'm Going Camping" Verbal Memory Game
And how it helped mitigate my fear
So, okay, I was hiking in the Grand Canyon on what's called the Tonto Platform, which is roughly midway between the rim and the river. I was on a Search & Rescue mission, helping to look for a missing hiker. I was paired up with one other SAR member for this search, and we'd been dropped off by helicopter and asked to hike to another location and search the area. Along the way, the "trail" (what there was of it, anyway) took us right along the edge of a very long way down ... for quite a long distance ... and there was no way to get away from that precarious edge. So I basically froze.
My teammate realized I was no longer right behind him and returned to where I was standing. It was obvious I was afraid. So, he kindly let me hold on to the back of his pack and stare at his feet as we slowly moved along. Then he said, "Okay, we're going to play the Going Camping memory game. Here's what you do...."
He explained that I'd say, "I'm going camping, and I'm going to bring..." then say something that begins with the letter "A." (I said armadillo for some reason.) Then repeat, "I'm going camping, and I'm going to bring..." something that begins with "B" and then repeat the thing I said for "A." Then repeat, "I'm going camping, and I'm going to bring..." something that begins with "C" and the "B" thing and the "A" thing. And so on for the whole alphabet.
Pretty simple, huh?
It is, but the game really did help me focus on remembering the growing list of things for each letter instead of thinking about falling to my death. And the constant repetition after each new lettered object, going back through all the things I'd said before, took up a good amount of time, while my search partner and I covered a good bit of distance, taking baby steps along the precarious, narrow trail as I remembered my list.
Funny thing is, I guess I was so focused on that verbal memory exercise, I remembered the whole list a year later!
Oh, and feel free to substitute "I'm going camping" for whatever you wish, like "I'm going to France" or "I'm going to the beach" or ... whatever floats your boat.
A Book To Help You Remember Things
Because brains need exercise, too
Prevention magazine teamed up with memory expert, Cynthia R. Green, PhD, to create Brainpower Game Plan, a brain fitness book that translates cutting-edge research into a comprehensive, doable, day-by-day program that promises to improve your memory.
Verbal Memory Games For Groups
Games for children and adults
You can play verbal memory games with more than just two people. Here are a couple of ideas...
The Icebreaker: A verbal memory game to get to know a little about a lot of people
This one is good for a group of people who've never met. Everyone says his or her name in turn and something he or she likes to do. For example, "I'm Deb and I like to hike." The next person repeats this information and adds their own name and "like" until you've gone through the entire group, each person repeating all that was said before. You can go around a couple of times so that everyone, including the first person who went, has to remember the whole group.
A short story memory game:
Except for the reader, all participants first listen to a short story. As the story is being read, the others should write questions that relate to the story, with the questions ranging from simple to challenging and detailed. Once the story is over, give the questions to the reader, who will then ask those questions, beginning with simple ones and working up to the harder ones--one question per player. Repeat the questioning until a player gets a question wrong. That player is eliminated. The last player left is the winner.
The "What Was Moved?" Memory Game
A before-and-after challenge
This memory game isn't completely verbal, but it doesn't require any special props, and it can be played with two people or a large group, inside or out.
Have everyone study a room or particular area for several minutes. Then have the observer/s leave the room or area or at least cover their eyes (although, in that case, their hearing might help them some, so you might want to have them block their ears as well).
Next, one other person should move a number of objects -- how many is up to you; it can be one, a few, or a lot.
Once that's done, have the observer/s re-enter or uncover their eyes and figure out what's been moved. You can choose to have them write the things down and even note where the objects were moved from and to, and then see who has the most correct.
Here Are Some More Memory Games
- Neuroscience for Kids: Memory Experiments from the University of Washington
- Concentration Memory Game from MathIsFun.com
- Memory Games For Adults
- Brain Teasers and Games for the Brain from SharpBrains.com
- Free Online Memory Games for Kids
A Fun Memory Game for Adults
Lots of laughs and challenging too
This is a memory game for anyone who might need to sharpen their skills and brain cells. The game comes with hundreds of funny memory lists, 46 Senior Moment cards, eight Lost Key cards, two game booklets, a game board, colored markers and a die.
More Memory Games and Brain Teasers
Mostly for kids, but grownups can play -- and exercise their memories -- too
This was one of my favorite games growing up ... and even now. There are several different ways to play this memory game, but the basic game is to repeat the pattern the machine builds with a series of colored, lighted musical notes, beginning with one, then two and increasing in number and speed from there as you respond by pressing the correct buttons in sequence.
This game, which has been around for a long time and still as popular as ever, is suited for all ages. You're never too old to play a memory game.
A Matching Memory Game
This is a basic flip-and-match memory game with everyone's favorite monkey. Turn over two pieces. If they match, yay! If not, flip them back over, let the other play take a turn, then try to remember where you last saw two matching pieces and try again.
A Traveling Memory Game
This game is great for travel in the car or the plane, because there are no loose pieces and the compact game is stored on the board. You choose from fourteen fun themes, then slide a card into the game board and start looking for matches.
This memory game is appropriate for young children.
How Well Do You Remember Faces?
This a tricky flip-and-match game, because faces can be difficult to remember. The pictures on these pieces (which for some reason aren't showing here at the moment) are really cute.
You've Probably Heard of This One
This game can be played three different ways, with the simplest version being a basic matching of memory card pairs. Children as young as 4 can play, with no reading is required. Two slightly more complex games use riddle cards, included.
What Have I Left Out?
If you know of any other verbal memory games -- or at least a memory game that doesn't require purchasing anything -- let me know in the guestbook below. If it fits the bill, I can feature it on this page.
How's YOUR Memory? - Do you remember how you got here?
mariacarbonara on May 26, 2013:
Funny because I always remember faces, even of people that I dont know but have seen in the street, but names I forget almost immediately
anonymous on May 19, 2013:
Fascinating topic. Fortunately my memory is pretty good bit it could always use some improving.
anonymous on April 01, 2013:
I don't have a link for this memory game, but it involves making words from one large word of a phrase. When I'm passing time and I have nothing on hand to do, I find a big word (like a chemical ingredient on an ingredient list) and I predict how many words I can get from it (20, 50, 100); then I go through my list of words. By the time I get to 50 (in some cases), I recall which words I've already done. Did you know you can get 50 words out of "theatre"?
Delia on March 23, 2013:
Very interesting lens...what a coincident for me to run across it at this time...I've been talking about my memory loss of things that are current, when I say current I mean right now ...guess my memory bank is full and my ram is running out room...ha ha ha
Blackspaniel1 on March 22, 2013:
Memory is important, I wish mine would improve.
gin001 on March 20, 2013:
Really enjoyed your lens. The games appear to be lots of fun. Will try a couple the next time I have friends over. Thanks very much for sharing.
poldepc lm on March 20, 2013:
great lens...thanks for sharing
GeekGirl1 on June 16, 2012:
My memory is still in good shape, I guess. Playing memory games always help.
Twinheadtwo on August 16, 2011:
This is a great article. Good info for all.
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on August 16, 2011:
My memory is not so good these days, but I still love to play memory games like these. Your Grand Canyon story reminded me of honeymoon last April in Cornwall when Debbie freaked out walking along a clifftop path that was too close to a sheer drop for her.
smithlights on June 26, 2011:
Great ideas! Fun games! I've played a few of them but would like to try the others!
Ann from Yorkshire, England on May 28, 2011:
loved it - angel blessed and I will feature it on my Squid Angel Road Trip lens when it is done. cheers
BageAKumar on May 17, 2011:
Nice game lens.New to this concept.Thanks.
alyssa87 on April 12, 2011:
this is cool, i never knew about such games these are really interesting :) thnks for this info.
rwoman on April 08, 2011:
I need to do more of these. My memory is so bad...what was I saying?
Addy Bell on April 02, 2011:
I played a game like this with my Girl Scouts when we were on a canoe trip and caught in a storm. We had to pull off the lake and weren't sure when we'd be able to find a real camping spot. It took everyone's mind off of things!
Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on March 31, 2011:
I like your "I'm going camping" game. I'll have to try that sometime.
Lisa Auch from Scotland on March 31, 2011:
My memory is awful - i now have a wipe board in the kitchen to remind me of daily things, I really need to sharpen the old brain!
anonymous on March 31, 2011:
Sometimes I wonder.
Mona from Iowa on March 31, 2011:
I love memory games though most of the time I play them on Nintendo. :)
I-sparkle on March 31, 2011:
I have the worse memory in the world. Your lens sounds like a lot of fun, however, and I'm curious to give it a try. Nice job.