Flashcards have been in classrooms for hundreds of years, they’re easily available at stores and you can even make your own at home! With technology of this era, the classic educational tool is arguably becoming the most boring one, too – so we challenge that mentality with 7 different ways to use flashcards without taking the fun out of learning!
Right Brain Training
Between 6 months to 15 months old, you can introduce flashcards into their everyday routine to flex the right brain. When you’ve settled down your young ones, flip through the cards at a rapid rate while you say out the names. Unconsciously, the children will process this information through the right hemisphere of their brain. Repeat this daily for a few minutes with the same set of 20 – 30 cards preferably from the same theme; like farm animals, clothes or food. When your tots begin to show restlessness, stop the activity and replace the set of cards with a new theme during their next session.
Don’t prolong the session beyond what your child is comfortable with as this might dull their interest in learning. At that young age, they will absorb knowledge in other forms of interaction so you need not worry about missing 1 day of flashcard activities even though consistency is recommended for a better effect.
Combine a deck of flashcards from 2 categories and put them in a pile on the floor. Label the two categories onto a bowl or paper bag and ask the children to put the cards where they belong. Sorting and classifying is a fundamental block of mathematics that sets children on a systematic train of thought while honing their ability to recognise patterns and number groups which will eventually help with multiplication and problem solving.
Older children can manage more than 2 categories or even overlapping themes. Increase the difficulty by introducing the concept of Venn diagrams or similar looking cards like different shades of red and blue.
Lay out 6 picture flash cards in a line and read out the names in a rhythmic way: pig, horse, frog, dog, donkey, cat. Snap your fingers as you read to help establish the pattern. Get the children to repeat after you while you maintain the same beat. Once you feel like they’ve got the hang of it, remove the first picture card and repeat: pig, horse, frog, dog, donkey, cat. Keep doing this until the young ones can recall all the animals without the flashcards on their own. On top of stretching their memory, you’re also teaching them visualisation skills.
For children who find the above memory work too easy, you can increase the difficulty level by laying out 10 cards on the board, give them 20 seconds to look at it before you remove them. As they recall the 10 different cards, place them back on the board in its original position or ask the little ones where the card’s original place is.
Application of Vocabulary
Images on the flashcard probably don’t look similar enough to the actual objects in real life. Incorporate learning into your lifestyle by attaching the flashcard to the actual objects; for example leaving the sock card in the sock drawer. When children know how to apply their classroom knowledge, it brings context to their learning which will build their enthusiasm for the next lesson.
If your little ones don’t respond to the cards that are strategically scattered throughout the house, bring the items out during their next flashcard session for a fun activity – hold out a jacket and ask for the matching card in return or vice versa.
Communication and Interaction
Whether it’s playing doctor or pretending to be a Transformer, all children like make believe games. Tap on their imaginative minds and set up a supermarket or pet store stocked with flashcards. Take on the role of the store owner and ask them what they would like to purchase. Give them control of the shop if your young ones are more mature and as a customer, describe the card instead of stating names directly. The make believe store teaches conversational skills where you can teach honourifics and reinforce the use of polite words like “Please” and “Thank You”.
Ask your tot to choose a few cards from the deck to make up a storyline. If they struggle with the task, give them 3 simple sentences – it can be descriptive or simple. Participate in the activity together and tell your own story. Allow kids to copy your examples as long as they incorporate their own flashcard in the stories appropriately – let the creative juices flow in this form of show and tell which also acts as a confidence building tool!
Glue on magnet pieces to one end of the flash card and create your own fishing rods using a disposable plastic bottle, thread and a magnet. Line the flash cards in a row and call out the names for the children to fish out. This is an interactive way to assess their understanding on the previous lessons in school – a sure hit with kinaesthetic learners!
Share with us some of interesting ways you use flashcards with your children!