When kids lose someone close to them, the adults that love them can make a creative space to help them survive and thrive.
This blog sub-topic will include creative exercises and art ideas to help families process and remember.
Memory is a key building block for children as they grow into being fruitful adults. Our first blog post is about something REALLY EASY that you can make for - or with - your wiggly one to help them remember their special person and practice spacial memory.
A Memory Game (double entendre intended!)
This version of the typical childrens memory game is adapted to share memories of a special departed one. It was therapeutic for me to make, and while playing the kids rehearse memories as they refine their recall and spacial skills.
You will need:
- cardboard - large enough to make your template
- large sheet of printed paper - scrapbook card stock is great
- stickers or other decorative items you would like to use (optional)
- cold laminate sheets (optional)
- your list of memories about the one you want to remember
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 onto your large piece of printed paper.
If your children are quite young, match up each pair with an exclusive print on the paper (our example is for a young one) to help them match the pairs easier. If they are older, make it harder by having all the pairs have the same printed paper.
Make at least 12 cut outs, so you will have 6 pairs. If you make an odd number of pairs (like 7 pairs) two can play and your game can have a "winner".
Cut out your shapes on the printed paper.
Flip your shapes over so that the printed sides are facing down. On the “blank” side, start organizing your pairs. You will need two shapes per pair. You will write words to make the pairs. It is up to you as to what they say.
Mine are focused on helping know and 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.
(Instead of phrases, you could also use different photos of the departed, printed in pairs and glued to the back of your shapes if you wanted a visual/non-verbal version of the game. Perhaps different pictures of the departed when they were interacting with the kid(s).)
Once you have written your phrases and decorated the pieces as you would like... you may cold laminate the shapes and trim the edges if you would like to have the game be sturdy.
TO PLAY THE GAME:
Set up your game on a clean flat surface. Ours was simply on the clean carpet. Make sure no wiggly one is peeking as you order out those pairs in a grid format! 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, tell your kids to 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 wiggly one to see... and maybe a nice little conversation can occur too.
We will be posting materials like this again in the future.
Our love to you and your wiggly ones...