It’s time for kids to put their memories to the test.
Memory Palace, from Peaceable Kingdom, is a new storytelling game that helps kids ages 5 and up strengthen their memories and imaginations through cooperation rather than competition. The brain-busting adventure utilizes mnemonic devices to help kids organize information in their heads by creating “memory palaces,” or imaginary locations in the mind that house images. Think of it like creating a wacky and descriptive story to recall a list of items, such as a grocery list.
Here’s me giving it a go: Mario and Luigi are taking a dip in a rooftop pool filled to the brim with chunky, red salsa. Moments later, flying slices of crust-less white bread swoop from the heavens and begin firing colorful rounds of pretzel M&Ms at the pool-dwelling pair. It all sounds ridiculous, but there’s little chance I’ll forget to grab chunky salsa, crust-less bread, and pretzel M&Ms after work. It’s like barbell curls for the brain, and it’s helpful and fun.To begin flexing those muscles and creating their own “memory palace,” kids can first lay out the 16 Palace Tiles in a four-by-four grid, or in any way they choose. The palace tiles are all very colorful, and they feature detailed illustrations of rooms such as a messy kitchen or a dark attic. I love them because the details in each image assist kids in creating more quirky stories.
After all the location squares are placed on a carpet or table, players can drop all three Monster Tokens face down onto three spaces of their choosing and randomly take however many animal tokens (there are 27 in total) they need to fill the remaining tiles. The animal tokens are super cute, and feature a big-toothed shark, an adorable panda, and a smiling skunk to name a few.
Next, kids pick up one animal token at a time, and show it to their friends and family. They then get to make up a little story about the animal they chose in a specific location in the tile palace. When they’re done, they simply place their token face down in that location on the board. Each player does the same until every space in the palace has a tile.
When that’s all said and done, a designated Memory Master (a very prestigious honor) attempts to guess which animals were placed where by recalling the stories told by the other players. The goal is to guess the correct location of each animal without accidentally flipping over one of the three Monster Tokens. Flip over a Monster Token before correctly identifying where all the animals lie, and it’s game over. Kids can play as many games as there are players, so everyone has an opportunity to be the Memory Master.
Memory Palace is a wonderful cooperative game that encourages teamwork and trust in an effort to win. Games take no longer than 15 minutes, and with no reading required, almost everyone can get involved. And for the youngest ones, adults or older players can include them by challenging them to find certain objects in the detailed illustrations.
Chunky salsa, crust-less white bread, pretzel M&Ms.
Still got it.