Number Rhymes: A Fun and Easy to Learn Memory Technique

Sun-Number-RhymesShoe-Number-RhymesTree-Number-RhymesDoor-Number-RhymesKnife-Number-RhymesPigs-Number-RhymesHeaven-Number-RhymesGate-Number-Rhymes

Number Rhymes are an easy, yet amazingly powerful memory technique. They belong to a group of techniques known as mnemonic peg systems. You can use Number Rhymes to memorize a list of 10 items in order by connecting the pegs with the items you want to remember. With a little bit of practice, you can expect to memorize any list of 10 items in one to two minutes. What’s more, the memory for the list tends to be a lot stronger than if you had used rote learning

I use the Number Rhymes to capture those fleeting ideas I have. I also use them to memorize things I have to do. The great advantage of using a mnemonic filing system such as the Number Rhymes is that you don’t need a pen and a paper to take notes. You can use them when you have no hands free, to capture important thoughts just before going to sleep, when you don’t want others to see that you are taking notes, etc.

The possibilities are endless.

Learning the Number Rhymes

Your first step is to memorize the Number Rhymes from the table below, and visualize each of the objects as vividly as possible.

  • Start by saying “one-sun”. Next imagine a bright yellow sun in the sky. How does your sun look like? Can you feel the warmth?
  • Continue with “two-shoe”. What kind of shoe do you see? Again, make it as vivid as possible, and also use your other senses. Do you smell the leather of the shoe?
  • Continue in this way for each of the number rhymes in the table below. If you don’t like one of the pegs, just choose from the alternatives or even make up your own rhyme.

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Peg

Image

Alternatives

1

One

Sun

Sun-Number-Rhymes

Gun, bun

2

Two

Shoe

 Shoe-Number-Rhymes

Glue, zoo

3

Three

Tree

 Tree-Number-Rhymes

Bee, sea

4

Four

Door

 Door-Number-Rhymes

Store

5

Five

Knife

 Knife-Number-Rhymes

Wife, hive

6

Six

Pigs

 Pigs-Number-Rhymes

Bricks, sticks

7

Seven

Heaven

 Heaven-Number-Rhymes

8

Eight

Gate

 Gate-Number-Rhymes

Plate, skate

9

Nine

Wine

 Wine-Number-Rhymes

Mine, sign, stein

10

Ten

Hen

 Hen-Number-Rhymes

Pen

Recall the Number Rhymes to Make Sure You Remember Them

Your second step is to recall the number rhymes in order to make sure that you have memorized all your pegs.

Again, start with one. One was a …..? Can you see the object?

Let’s Apply the Number Rhymes

Here is a list of ten items to be memorized:

  1. Egg
  2. Motorbike
  3. Plate
  4. Shirt
  5. Book
  6. coconut
  7. Mobile phone
  8. Ice cream
  9. Mirror
  10. Umbrella

Use visualization to connect each of the items with the corresponding number rhyme. It is important that your peg and the item you want to remember interact with each other. Try to create each of the following images in your mind’s eye:

  1. You are frying an egg on a hot stone using the rays of the sun until it becomes white.
  2. A motorbike drives over your shoes. They are flat and full of brown dirt.
  3. Plates are hanging from a tree like apples do. This is a special tree giving plate-fruits.
  4. You are stuffing a shirt under your room door, so the mosquitoes cannot come in.
  5. A big knife is stuck in your English book. Your brother got angry because he couldn’t remember the words.
  6. You are throwing coconuts at your neighbors pigs because they always wake you up in the morning with their grunting. A coconut hits a black pig. It grunts angrily and runs away.
  7. God from heaven is calling you on your mobile phone. God is asking you on the phone: Have you done your homework?
  8. An ice-cream cone is stuck in the gate of your house. You put it there because you don’t want your mom to know you are eating ice cream again.
  9. A crazy person is cleaning his mirror with red wine. The whole mirror becomes red. Everyone who looks in the mirror is red as well.
  10. A white hen is running around with a big umbrella in her beak. It is raining and she doesn’t want her feathers to become wet.

Recall the item connected to the first peg by asking yourself: One was a sun and what happened there?

In the same manner, recall the items connected to each of the 10 pegs.

How are you doing?

I suggest you take a 10-minutes break now and do something completely different. After 10 minutes, try to recall all 10 items in order.

Why does this work?

  • You are connecting new information to something you already had in your memory. You first learn rhyming words, and then connect the new items to those rhymes.
  • For each item you create an image where the new item interacts with the number rhyme.
  • It is easy to recall the items in order because they are connected to the number rhymes which in turn are connected to numbers. Obviously, you already know the order of the numbers.

Summary:

  1. Connect new information to something you already know.
  2. Use visualization: Create an image where the pieces of information you want to remember interact with each other.
  3. You can also create a short story to connect information.