Kim’s Game


I’ve begun looking for awareness exercises for our readers to improve observational skills.  One that keeps coming up in other websites’ posts is Kim’s Game.  I decided to do a little research, and it appears that the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s book Kim, plays a similar game in preparation for becoming a spy.  I’ve found variations of it on boy and girl scout sites, and according to Wikipedia, the US Marine Corp uses Kim’s games in training (KIM = Keep In Memory), though it is “not well-documented.”  I’m never certain about the accuracy of Wikipedia entries, but it really does not matter.  You can try this game yourself, and even practice with children to improve their observation skills:


Gather various items and put them on a tray.  Cover the items with a cloth.  Lift the cloth, and give participants 1 minute to observe the items and commit them to memory.  Place the cloth over the items again, and instruct participants to write on a sheet of paper every item they can remember.  Whoever remembers the most items, wins.



You can certainly play variations of this game while you are in public spaces.  One suggestion I read somewhere was to try it with groups of people; observe them, look away, then try to remember as much detail about their appearances as possible.  You will probably learn a lot from this one, especially about yourself.  What do you notice?  What do you tend to filter out?  Does your awareness change in certain environments?  Think of yourself as the key eye-witness!



  1. Not sure if this is KIM qualified. I used to play this game with a friend’s younger sibling.

    When driving. We would make up names/phrases based on peoples license plates. So my license plate XXX NYC – would become Never yell Continiously. It is a fun game. And you have to put it together and say it in completion first.

    Fun little game to make driving/commuting with folks a little more fun. IT also helps with situational awareness.

    • That’s interesting. I’ll bet you could grab a tag number and commit it to memory quicker than most, which could be mighty handy in a pinch! Situational awareness is so important for a myriad of reasons, and sometimes it is exhausting when you are first learning (especially for the purpose of self-protection), unless. . . you can turn it into a game. How many people almost completely tune out on their commute? Yeah. A LOT. I think it’s a great suggestion. Thanks for sharing.

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