At the International Skogsmulle Symposium in Japan last year there was an afternoon of playing games and undertaking practical activities such as making things with bamboo. This very simple memory game was featured and this is how it is played…
Firstly you prepare your “cups.” These are toilet rolls which have been quartered. Each one is decorated with black pens lines to make it look like birch bark. (It might be an interesting challenge for children to find any nearby birch trees to copy).
Next, the children need to gather objects to hide. This is a good opportunity for children to learn the concept of pairs. For each game, you need six pairs of objects which are small enough to be hidden under one of the “birch bark cups.” Alternatively you can just provide a range of these counters as illustrated in the above photo.
The board is created in the grit or woodland area. A chalk or stick square would work well too. Six pairs of objects are laid out in a square with the birch bark cups covering them. Then, just like the ordinary “Pairs” game, the children take turns to lift the cups two at a time to see if they have found a pair of objects. If they have, the objects are removed and kept. The winner is the person with the most objects.
What is nifty about this game is its ability to increase the challenge. When the objects are removed, the birch bark cups can be. Alternatively, they may stay in play so that the children turn over blank cups if they forget that the objects have been removed.
Finally like all good games, children should be encouraged to change the rules once they have learned them and enjoy making their own versions. Have fun!