“What’s Missing?”: A Pre-reading Game

To learn to read, children need discrimination skills and a good memory. Playing memory games with your preschooler is a great way to develop these pre-reading skills.

“What’s Missing?” is a fun game that you can do with everyday objects in a variety of places. First, put a few toys or objects out in a designated area. Ask your child to study what is there and try to remember what she sees. Ask her to close her eyes. While her eyes are closed, take one item away, then have her open her eyes.

Ask, “which item is missing?” Did she remember what was there that has been removed?

This game can be fun at an early age or for beginners with only two objects. She’ll likely know right away what is missing, and this early success will build confidence. Gradually increase the number of objects as your child’s skill level increases.

This game can be done in a restaurant with objects on the table or in the bathtub. As your child grows older, this game can be played with similar objects such as coins, which will help your child learn the names and differences in the coins. For another variation, paint popsicle sticks all different colors and ask your child which color is missing. There are lots of possibilities!