It happened something like this last night (I shouldn't have been surprised because each of the other kids bumped into this sort of game in the same way - but it's still delightful each time it happens). Bernie had been playing with our art memory game that we've had since Ria was a preschooler. The box is battered and not all the cards have their pairs anymore. She forgot it on the couch (grrr) and I didn't notice until long after she was in bed (Frank had taken a nap and so was up quite late). I started to put it away and Frank immediately complained and reached out for it. I told him that if he sat down at the coffee table he could play with it right there, but that he had to be really nice and not scatter the cards all over (this is a necessary reminder with our little bruiser).
He proceeded to lay the cards out very carefully, face up, one-by one and was delighting at finding two different dogs, which he put together as a pair. Well, this started a full-on game of match-the-pair going. (It took a little scrambling to set up a pile with one of a set and keep the other on the table since he was inclined to start his own piles in the middle). He proceeded to play three full games of picture-matching with the sort of delight and enthusiasm that only a 2 1/2 year old can display.
When my kids have been introduced to this sort of game at this very young age, they've always hungered for more. It's great for their brains and forces some fully-present Mommy (or older sibling) time; which is an excellent thing.
Thanks for the memories, Maria Montessori. :)