Keep In Memory Games

KIM Games (Keep In Memory)

Originally adapted from the Rudyard Kipling’s book Kim’s Game, the object of this exercise is to help increase a student’s memory.

KIM games are used extensively in the military for a reason, they work.

KIM games easy to set up and run by micro-teams (2-3 men). For your observation exercise, you will need some help (your battle buddy), some basic tools and class material, and some training aids.

Everyone should take turns setting up the KIM game and partaking in the exercise.

KIM games are normally set up with both items from the real world such as tactical equipment, projectiles, brass, pens, scraps of paper with writing or photos on them, cleaning rods, boots, etc., and realistic miniaturized toys such as rifles, handguns, vehicles, people, tactical equipment, etc.

Support material will include a small table (not required, you can place items on the ground), a opaque sheet large enough to cover the items sitting to be observed, a simple camera (phone will work), a printer with standard copy paper, and enough pencils, blank paper and clipboards for each student.

The KIM game should be kept simple and can be customized to meet your training objectives.

The Setup

Select a room or any controlled environment as your training area. You only need enough spacen large enough to allow all participants room to move around a table/floor you are about to set up.

Set up your table with about 10-15 items randomly placed on the table. Items can be touching and resting on one another, but should not prevent accurate observation.

Take a photo or two of the items on the table and print up one COLOR photo for record. A high quality photo and paper isn’t required, a phone camera quality photo printed on standard paper will work fine.

Again, use the circled numbers on the front and numeric list on the back describing the items.

Once the items have been placed correctly they should either be marked on the front of the photo with circled numbers and listed on the back, or the items and photo should be placed in a ziplock bag until grading is complete. Once grading is complete, keep the photo(s) for record.

Once all items are properly placed, cover the table and items with your opaque cloth.

Begin the Exercise (The Reveal)

Begin the exercise by bringing the students into the observation area, and allowing them to stand around the covered items.

Again, no communication between the students is allowed.

Let students know that they will have a limited time to view the items under the sheet (but DON’T tell them what that time limit is).

Let the students know that they may move around the table and they can get close to the items in order to see them, but they are NOT allowed to touch the items or otherwise disturb them.

Remove the covering and begin the time.

For the first KIM game leave the students unmolested during the reveal (this can slowly change as they progress in their training).

Time Limits

Initially give students 15 seconds per object on the table and adjust the difficulty and time as needed.

If your students are having a hard time remembering objects you have either put too many on the table, didn’t give them enough time, or they will need a little more practice.

Adjust as needed.

If on the other hand, they are remembering everything quickly with more than ample time to spare, you may need to add more items and/or give a shorter time limit per item.

For the first exercise – once the exercise time limit has been reached, immediately cover the items again and escort the students into another room. In the room they should again have a clipboard, blank piece of paper, and a pencil.

Tell the students that on your command they should flip their papers and legibly print their name in the top left of the paper, the title of KIM Game in the middle top, and today’s date on the top right side of the blank paper.

Students should now numerically list each item they saw sitting on the table.

Instruct the students if they saw an item but couldn’t quite make out what it was, they should write “ATB” (appears to be) with their best guess and description of what the object was, and create a sketch of the object either on the front or back of their paper. If students chose to continue on the back with an ATB description they must annotate with “c.o.b.” with the appropriate item number annotated.

Again tell the students that there is a time limit, but don’t tell them what the time limit is (for the first exercise it’s 10 seconds per item).

On your mark, have the students flip over their pages and begin.

The Review

Walk the students mentally through the exercise first by asking students to reveal one item that they remember, ensure each item is described and in detail, ask for different opinions, and finally clarify with the item itself.

If any items were missed by the group (unusual) you can refresh their memory by using their ATB hints.

In the next post, we will discuss how to increase difficulty while adding variety, increasing mental flexibility and improving retention.


Spread the word. Share this post!