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How to boost your 3-year-old’s memory

children's memory game

Key Points:

  1. Toddlers can store memories, but their ability to recall is developing due to ongoing brain maturation.
  2. Activities to boost memory include recalling the day as a family, discussing events, playing memory games, and avoiding frustration with the natural forgetfulness of toddlers.

Although you have already seen a tremendous progress in your child’s capacity to recall events from the past, your little one’s brain is still very young. Toddlers can store information and memories, but because their brain, specially the hippocampus and cortex, is still developing, they have a much harder time than adults retrieving memories. This means that, although your 3-year-old might not be able to recall many aspects of daily life, memories are never truly lost. Psychologist Dima Amso from Brown University assets that every memory is essentially a unit of experience and, even if specific memories are forgotten, the whole of our memory, even from a very early age, is the basis of every person’s identity.


As time passes and your little one continues growing, their ability to process information, discriminate sensory information, understand concepts of time, and use language to recall past experiences will grow as well, and all this will contribute to their memory skills.

Like with many other skills, there are many activities you can do to help and encourage your child’s memory development. Here are some ideas:

  • Recall the day. Having the family share the events of the day during a mealtime or before bed is a good habit that can foster both linguistic and cognitive development by encouraging conversational skills.
  • Two heads remember better than one. After an activity, a visit to a relative’s house, a playdate, or an outing, sit down with your little one and recall the things that you did and saw. Prompt your kid with fun questions.
  • Play memory games, like remembering cards with pictures.

Just remember never to scold or show frustration about your little one’s developing memory, it’s normal at this age for kids to forget things.

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