Toddler memories and fact retention

Of course we know that toddlers are selective in their memory, conversation and listening.  But it does astound me at how good toddler memories can be.

N’s really on the ball with retention of certain facts.  Sometimes he’s rubbish (like when I’m trying to get him to remember numbers or similar things), but for certain tasks I’m always surprised.


He’s really good on remembering routes that we drive.  Even when we don’t go somewhere that regularly, he’ll quite often say the place as we’re driving in that direction.  So the swimming pool at the leisure centre where we’ve been a couple of times, he’ll remember where it is.

We’ve got 3 routes we return home, and he always tells me which aunt’s house we’re going to go past if I ask, or which of his 2 nurseries.


It took N a while to learn people’s names.  I think he just wasn’t really interested, but now after only a couple of meetings and amongst a crowd of children, he’s got really quick at remembering new people’s names.

It’s mainly at nursery I see this – all of a sudden he seems to know all the staff names and all the children’s and is talking about specific children at home.  Oh and recognising the parents of his nursery friends as they walk up to the doors.


Vehicles are another  item he has good recall for.  Not learning the actual makes (still some work to do there even on tractors!), but on recognising cars that belong to certain people.

So he’ll see a white ancient Citroen parked on the way out of town just like my brother’s car, and will notice it and shout out ‘Andrew’s car’.  Or see car’s like mine, the ones on the farm (pick up, Land Rovers), his aunt’s Discovery.

And at nursery, recognising the car is often how he knows whose parent has turned up before the person has got out of the car.

The car has to be the right colour though – it’s not the shape he recognises, it’s definitely got to be the shape and the colour.  For example, my car’s a Qashqai and you see lots of those on the road, but he only twigs the black ones.  Aside from that, he shows no other interest in learning about cars or vehicles.

For N, it seems to be all about the people connection as toys-wise, he’s not into cars.  He likes his wooden railway, but that’s more about the building of it.  And he’s into tractors.  He’ll spend ages pushing those around making vehicle sounds.  But cars – where other toddlers get obsessed with pushing cars round a track or playing with several little cars, he’s not fussed at all.qashqai

What do your children remember that surprises you?

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