What’s Missing? Fun No-Prep Memory Game for Preschoolers

Have you ever played “What’s missing?” This preschool memory game is a fun way to practice observation and memory skills and requires no preparation. Oh, and it is guaranteed fun and learning time together! 

A picture of items shown to kids for playing what's missing game and a toddler closing his eyes during his turn and a picture of toddler thinking what is missing
Shall we find the missing item?

How to play the “What’s missing?” game with preschoolers 

This game can be played anywhere and anytime you have a collection of items available to you and a few minutes to play. Kids of all ages will love to get into the memory game. Older kids can help set up different game scenarios. Younger kids will want to play…forever!

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Gather items around your house to play what is missing activity with prescholol going kids
Gather items around your house to play the What is missing game?

Supplies Needed

  • Gather small items around your house like scissors, battery, pen, pencil, keys, etc. Around 8 to 10 things will work for a 3-4-year-old.
  • Increase or decrease the number of items based on your child’s age.

Rules of the Game

Step 1

Arrange them in front of your child.

Step 2

Name the things to make sure he/she knows the names of all the things.

Step 3

Ask the child to close their eyes or turn around.

Hide/remove one of the items from the display. 

Step 4

Child can open eyes and name the missing item.

Step 5

Take turns and have fun finding the missing item.

Play what is missing with a pack of markers
Play what color is missing with a pack of markers

Fun Variations of the Preschool What’s Missing Game

Color What’s Missing Game

Grab a pack of markers or crayons, markers or other sets of colors and play what color is missing. 

If you are learning the colors of the rainbow, lay them out in order and then remove one and play!

Alphabet & Number What’s Missing Game

Take around 6-7 alphabets or numbers flashcards to play what is alphabet/number is missing. Try this at first with the numbers or letters in order to reinforce sequencing and then once they are good at that, mix them up!

Shape What’s Missing Game

Use any shapes sorting toys or wood blocks in different shapes to play what shape is missing.

Themed What’s Missing Game

Try using different types of toys under the same theme to make it as theme play like different types of trucks, different varieties of dinosaurs, different kitchen items, etc

One of the item is missing from the display and the child has to find the missing item
Can you find the missing item?

How we played the “What’s missing?” game

I gathered the things like battery, comb, building block, pencil, hair clip, marker, a boy toy, and a scissor to play the game. 

To get his attention, I made sure I included something he loves. He loves yellow color so I included a yellow building block and his favorite boy toy. Also, I wanted him to learn the word “Comb” so I included one. (He knows to say the name of the comb in the other language we speak at home so, I used this game as an opportunity to teach him the word in English.)

First, we started with pointing the finger and naming all the things displayed before him. Then, I asked him to close his eyes with his hands. I removed the yellow block and hide it behind me. Then when I asked him to open his eyes and find the missing one, he was thinking for some time and then he started to search where I have kept the missing item. (Haha !)

Then I took a turn to find the missing item and modeled him to show how to play “What’s missing?”. It took 2 to 3 turns for him to really get into the game. Once he got it, we had fun taking turns and finding the missing item. 

One of the marker is missing
Can you find the missing color?

We play this game whenever we get the opportunity. My husband and my son played what color is missing with dab-a-dot markers for nearly one hour. 

We have also played the game with his different types of fire trucks. So, it gave him an opportunity to learn the types of fire trucks playfully.


Have you ever tried to play the “What’s missing?” game with your kids? This game can be easily played with any number of kids each taking turns to hide and find or just one child. We love this game at our home. If you haven’t played to try it and let us know. 


  1. Mud Pies For Mommy says:

    I did this when I taught Kindergarten. I got frowns for using Easter Eggs, isnt that sad?

  2. This is such a great idea! Your site is such a great resource. I’m going to play this game with my daughter today. We have a book of activities that my daughter uses like a bible. She turns to it whenever she needs uplifting. Unfortunately, we’re almost to the end of it. I’ll be visiting your site instead!

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