Developing Working Memory

Working memory is a child’s ability to remember and use relevant information while in the midst of a task

following recipe instructions

What You Need to Know

Working memory is the information children can hold in their minds that helps them complete a task or remember rules in the moment. Preschoolers are still in the beginning stages of developing their working memory skills, and it is often hard for them to keep a rule or instruction in mind. You can help them by having reasonable expectations for what you are asking them to do or remember, giving simple directions, and using visuals.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can help children develop their working memory

Use Visuals

Draw attention to how children can use strategies for keeping things in mind, like visuals and songs. These can help children remember what they are doing in the moment.

Use Memory Games

Incorporate games that allow children to practice their working memory by having to remember a movement that is associated with a sound or sign.

Provide Hints and Prompts

Provide hints, prompts, or ask questions to help children remember the rules of a game or the expectations of a situation.

Chimpanzees for Tea

SUPPORTING MEMORY THROUGH BOOKS

Chimpanzees for Tea

Written and illustrated by Jo Empson, this story is about a boy who goes shopping for his mother. But when he loses the grocery list, Vincent has a hard time remembering what he needs to buy!

Activity Cards

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, activity cards provide simple and fun ways you build children's working memory, while also fostering other critical skills, such as language, movement, and impulse control.
I-Spy Icon Card
spotting

I-Spy

Children get to practice remembering clues to find an object in the classroom

download
Simon Says Icon Card
listening

Simon Says

Simon Says is a fun way to listen for and remember simple one-step directions

download
Breathing Dragon Icon Card
breathing

Breathing Dragon

These breathing exercises foster both working memory and calming down strategies

download
What's Wrong Icon Card
examining

What's Wrong With This?

Children have fun looking for something that has changed in the classroom

download

Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills