Probed recall tasks are often used to assess aspects of children's verbal short-term memory development because they are not subject to potentially confounding output effects. However, the marked recency effects that are observed in probed recall means that these tasks are potentially insensitive to experimental manipulations when later serial positions are probed. This clouds the interpretation of data from probed recall studies in which children of different ages are presented with to-be-remembered lists of different lengths. In two experiments we examined the magnitude of phonological similarity and lexicality effects in both 5- to 6- and 8- to 9-year-old children. In each case performance on probed recall tasks was contrasted with that seen on tests of serial recognition. The results indicated that probed recall tasks are potentially less sensitive to experimental manipulations in younger than older children. However, comparable effects of both phonological similarity and lexicality were seen in both age groups using serial recognition procedures. These findings have implications for the interpretation of other studies that have examined the development of verbal short-term memory using probed recall and for theoretical accounts of the development of phonological similarity and lexicality effects in children.