A me•mor•able father's day

It’s almost father’s day. The kids want to go ‘father’s day shopping’. Apparently that’s what you do. 7 years ago at this time, I was trying to find a father’s day present that was meaningful, unique, connecting and affordable - and I wanted it to come from our three year old son as much as anything, because it was all about being a father and building the father-child connection. 

I wanted our son to feel like the present was from him and it was a special thought for dad, celebrating everything he was as a dad. My own childhood memories were of making presents ourselves. I guess there probably wasn’t the money to give to each of the four kids to buy something from the shop, but the result was that we grew up believing that handmade gifts created with love, care and effort were more special. Now, I wish for my children to grow up as capable individuals who are problem solvers and who feel capable and confident in their ideas and capacity to acquire skills. That they have the ability to make and create. And you don’t need to go to a shop for everything. 

Playing games, turn taking, learning rules, cognitive capacity building and brain training… are so much a focus for young children. I was always looking for opportunities for my partner to connect with his son between long hours at work and probably not having grown up in a house full of kids where family play time was a priority. Memory is one of those games that is easy to get in to at any age, the rules are simple and you can increase or decrease the number of matching pairs to suit the age and ability of the players. It’s one of the first games I remember playing with my parents, and one of the first games I played with my own.  

I collected any pictures I had two copies of - the extra passport photos (Felix’s first!), the leftover birth notices and birthday invitations, the photos I had printed off to send to grandmothers and aunties, multiple postcards I bought on trips and never sent, tickets to the Playschool show we had been to see. I printed off a few extra pictures of Felix and his dad - the things they had discovered and done together. And I got Felix to make some drawings on cards directly - the two copies turned out similar enough to be recognised as a pair! This manual process of making was probably what cemented the concept of matching pairs for him. 

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We played a lot of memory that week and talked about the memory on each of the cards as we turned them over.

Then the game was lost for a few years in the growing pile of games… until I pulled it out again when we started the Kindling creative journey and were brainstorming prompts to #makespacetocreate and build capacity and confidence in children and families to slow down, share creative experiences and the process of making and creating by hand. We were looking to ‘kindle creative sparks’ in lives full of screens, scheduled activities and commercial and packaged (plastic wrapped) entertainment.

We played the old memory game over and over that day - the kids giggling over how small they were and the parents reminiscing. It was like a playable family photo album, or the family slide night with the added sting of competitive strategising.

And that was the start of the me•mor•able DIY memory game. We’ve made it as a creative spark for you, to be personalised and played or gifted with love.

And I think this year the kids can make a me•mor•able extension set. They think memory games are too easy. I wonder how many game pieces can fit on our table ;). Visual - spacial perception training is  apparently also important for better Naplan results. And their dad turned fifty this year. He needs memory training. It’s been proven to keep braincells from deteriorating and delay the onset of Alzheimers. 

It’s a no-brainer :)

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me•mor•able

A memory game crafted by you, played for fun and shared with everyone!

My Story My Home

Awesome Arts Festival 2017, 'My Story, My Home', Art Gallery of WA

Awesome Arts Festival 2017, 'My Story, My Home', Art Gallery of WA

In October 2017, we put our building hats on and moved into the Art Gallery space, albeit temporarily!

We were invited to run some children's workshop in conjunction with the My Story My Home exhibition, designed and produced by World Press Photo Perth.

We learnt a good deal about engagement.

We learnt something about play.

We thought about our ways of working!

We had a lot of 'stuff'! But in terms of play and making, 'stuff' becomes something else. It is given life and meaning by those who manipulate it to create a new use for it.

A play space created by kids, for 'My Story, My Home' AGWA exhibition, 2017

A play space created by kids, for 'My Story, My Home' AGWA exhibition, 2017

And boy, can Perth kids play! It was such a fun weekend! Thank you AGWA and World Press Photo Perth for including us in this amazing activity!