27 July 2012


I am currently in the UK, playing with my two grandchildren, Oliver aged 4 and Elsie aged 2. I only see them once a year, so each time I see them, they have developed so much. This time, it was stunning to see how well Oliver can remember things.

We were playing a memory game. The idea is that there are twelve cards, as below. One person looks away, and then the other person turns one of the cards over, to show a slightly altered picture. The first person then looks back to see if they can spot the difference. Here is the original:

You should focus on the picture above to see if you can remember it before looking at the modified picture.

Below is the changed one. Can you spot the difference without referring back to the original? Can you remember what was in the original picture?

The answer: the third card in the middle row has a green and yellow animal missing.

What I found interesting was that Oliver could spot the difference immediately even though he didn't seem to be concentrating very carefully. (In fact, he was jumping around all over the place.) In contrast, I had to focus very hard to try and remember the pattern.

This illustrates how much children are able to absorb with apparently little effort, while older people like me struggle to remember things.