This version of the typical children’s memory game (known in some circles as Concentration) is for grieving families to share memories of a departed one. It was therapeutic for me to make, and while playing, the kids rehearse memories as they refine their recall and spacial skills.

Materials:
– cardboard large enough to make your template
– large sheets of scrapbook card stock
– scissors
– pens
– cold laminate sheets (optional)

First, create your template shape on cardboard. I chose a heart shape to reinforce that Daddy loved them – you can pick any shape that you want. Cut your template out with scissors.

Using the template, trace the shape onto your large pieces of printed card stock.

If your children are young, match each pair with unique print paper to help them match the pairs easier. If they are older, make it harder by having all the pairs have the same or different printed paper.

Make at least 12 cut-outs, so you will have 6 pairs.

Cut out your shapes on the printed card stock.

With the printed sides are facing down, write word sets to make the pairs on the blank side. It is up to you as to what they say. Mine are focused on helping remember their daddy. I made 6 pairs.

My 6 phrases were:
Daddy played peek-a-boo with you.
Daddy read at bedtime to you.
Daddy liked to tickle you.
Daddy took you to the zoo.
Daddy liked to snuggle you.
Daddy liked to give your bath.

Once you have written your phrases and decorated the pieces as you would like, you can laminate the shapes if you would like the game to be sturdy.

TO PLAY THE GAME:

Set up your game in a grid format, without little ones peeking! Place pieces word-side down on the surface. Mix them around as you put them down, you can “shuffle” them around when you are done too. Make a grid pattern.

Once the game is set up, kids try to find the matching pairs by turning over 2 shapes to see if they match. Read aloud together the phrases as your child turns them over, and ask if (s)he thinks they match. If they do not match, they turn them back over and try again.

At the end, all of the pairs will be face up with all the written messages showing.

Finishes with a wonderful visual set of memories for the kids to see… and maybe a nice little conversation can occur too.

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Kim Go

Kim Go

I am an artist in the expressive, installation and performance arts. I write because of our shared cultural beliefs about loss offer far too few tools to people working with grief. When I was very young, I thought little about impermanence. Then, my personal encounters with impermanence grew to include such challenges as: my father's death in early childhood, a near-death experience in adolescence, divorce, fertility challenges, death of a soul mate and spouse and subsequent loss of access to stepchildren, mugging and assault, pet loss, job loss, suicide of two close friends, and geographic resettlement. Perhaps we have something in common... perhaps not. I have learned that the specificity of the loss does not matter as much as the condition of the heart to be open to others who are learning to be present and alive regardless of the impermanence in their story.

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