Working Memory

Working memory underpins cognitive development and learning for young children

Teacher points to animal in book as baby looks on

At a Glance

In a busy classroom, it can be challenging for toddlers to keep rules or instructions in mind. That’s because young children are just beginning to develop their working memory skills. Educators can help children by having reasonable expectations, giving simple directions, and using cues and visuals.

What It Looks Like

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

Play Games

Playing games that require children to remember specific movements or actions supports their working memory. Notice how the educators provide support by restating directions and modeling each new action.

Refer to Labels

Directing children’s attention to labels on classroom items, like this educator does with names on chairs, helps children develop working memory.

Use Visuals to Revisit the Day

Using visuals, such as a picture schedule, can help children remember how they spent their day and recall details about what they did. Notice how this educator guides children to remember what instruments they played.

Hide and Seek book cover


Hide and Seek

Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi, this book supports young children to develop working memory by providing visuals to refer back to as they look for objects hidden within the illustrations.

Activity Cards for Toddler Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, activity cards provide simple and fun ways to help toddlers develop their working memory
Breathing: Flower & Candle Activity Card label

Breathing: Flower & Candle

Children work on remembering each part of these breathing exercises.

I-Spy Activity Card label
using games


You can scaffold this game for all children and can help them develop their working memory.

Sequence Songs Activity Card label
using music

Sequence Songs

Songs that keep building on a sequence challenge and grow children's working memory skills.

Show Me... Activity Card label
using games

Show Me...

In this game, children remember and demonstrate the actions you give them.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of the Core Skills