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How to play the memory tray game with toys #31daysofactivities

For today, we have The Toy Scoop guesting on the site in our 31 Days of Activities event. If you’re looking for an easy, frugal, fun family activity then the Memory Tray Game is it! Kids of all ages (and adults) love to play!

Not only is it easy to set up and easy to understand but the kids can be involved in choosing the objects involved. A big thanks to Bandai for helping The Toy Scoop with this activity, and 31 Days of Activities overall.

What is the Tray Memory Game?

The Tray Memory Game requires a selection of household object or toys to be placed on a tray. One of the items is then removed and players have to correctly say which item is missing! For the purpose of this post, we’re going to use toys! 

Toys used in this photo are from the Timber Tots Magical Tree Playhouse

You can play the game 1-1 or have multiple kids playing at the same time. 

How Old Do Kids Need To Be?

You can generally start playing the Tray Memory Game from about the age of three. But it really depends on how long a child is able to concentrate.

The age of the children involved also determines how many objects are used and how detailed they are. For very young children, limit the number of toys on the tray and use simple solid coloured toys that they can easily recognise. 

Toys used in this photo are geomag Magicubes

You can then progress to different objects that are all the same colour, more toys on the tray and then start to bring in multi-coloured shapes. 

What Do You Need To Play The Game?

Play the Tray Memory Game you will need:

  • Tray (or piece of coloured paper)
  • Selection of toys for the kids to remember
  • Cloth to cover the tray
  • Minute timer.

How Do You Play The Tray Memory Game?

Get your selection of toys and arrange them on a tray (or your coloured sheet of paper) and cover it with a cloth until you’re ready to play the game.

Toys used in this photo are from the Timber Tots Magical Tree Playhouse, Plasticine F9L10119 Master Crafter Craft Clay Modelling Set, Geomag Magicubes and Spinmaster Monster Trucks

Set your timer for 1 minute.

When the kids are ready sit them directly in front of the tray. Remove the cloth and give them one minute to memorise everything on the tray.

When the minute is up cover the tray with the cloth again.

Remove one toy from the tray, without the child seeing you do it.

With the child facing the tray again, remove the cloth and ask them to tell you what is missing. 

Depending on how many children are playing you can give them a time limit to answer within, go for the first player to shout it out or get them to write it down. 

Tray Memory Game Variations

One of the great things about the game is how easy it is to adjust for different abilities. So with younger kids, you can make the game simpler by having fewer objects on the tray. And with older kids you can use a greater number of detailed smaller objects. It all depends on the capabilities of the kids playing!

As well as just being fun you can also use the game as an educational tool to teach them about colour, shapes, numbers etc.

And once kids have got the hang of playing the Tray Memory Game at home you’ll find it’s really easy to use when out and about.

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We’ve got loads of other amazing ideas for kids activities on the site – why not check out some more of our memory games, and printables?

Memory games and printables on KiddyCharts

Here are some more memory game and printable ideas for fun with the kids on the site.

There are other memory games on these sites too:

Memory games for free on the internet

Here are some other ideas for memory games on other great sites that provide resources for kids too.

We hope that you enjoy this article, and we can see you on the site again soon.


Anthea is a Mum to three girls who are currently home educated and preparing for their GCSEs. She reviews toys and games over on The Toy Scoop and also has a creative family lifestyle blog BlueBearWood

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