Flashcards are an incredible way to reinforce what your learners have learned. They also give the child’s brain a break from memorizing large chunks of information, and it’s always good to change up their study habits every so often.
These are just a few of the plethora of reasons that make flashcards such an effective tool for teaching and learning. In this article, we will discuss the appropriate time to start using flashcards on your learners and how they can help a child.
Developmentally children from the age of three to four onwards will be able to make the connection between pictures and words, either spoken or written to make flashcards useful. Prior to this both development, comprehension and attention span are unlikely to be sufficient for flashcards to be effective.
Below we will suggest some flashcard games and activities as well as discuss which subjects benefit from the use of flashcards.
When Should You Start Using Flashcards?
There isn’t any age group when it comes to using flashcards, but if your child seems uninterested in learning something new, then this may be the best way for them to study. With that said, here are some guides as far as how old children need to be before beginning to use flashcards.”
For infants and toddlers, using flashcards may not be the best option because they are still learning how to communicate. Children around the age of two will likely show an interest in what is written on them, though, so after this age this can be a fun way for parents to help their kids learn about different concepts with ease.
Let’s simply say, as soon as your child starts asking questions or showing signs that they want more information, then it might be time to start making some cards.
Around four years old would also be a good time since children at this stage have developed fine motor skills which means they can shuffle through them easier without dropping any pieces in the process.
More importantly, though, once the child has entered kindergarten, they need to have a basic understanding of reading, writing, and math which means flashcards will be the perfect way to help them with this.
What Are Flashcards?
Flashcards are cards or papers with information and images written on them to create a word association for the student. For example, a flashcard with the word “dog” written on it would be presented to children who have just learned what a dog is In most cases (if teaching vocabulary especially) there will also be an image of a dog.
If teaching phonics then the image may be optional as the focus would be on decoding the word . The children will then flip over this single card and see information again, reinforcing their memory of that specific fact.
Another example is to have a flashcard with the word “dog” on one side and an image of a dog on the other.
. Basically, there are many different types of cards that can be created depending on what is being taught.
We have some animal flashcards for free download if you would like below.
Math flashcards could focus on addition or subtraction while reading ones might present words with missing letters or sight words. Math flashcards often have a sum to solve with the answer, or choice of potential answers, on the other side.
In simple version of math’s flashcards there may be just numbers. ( we have a set of cute fish ones for free download here if you need to teach first numbers to your children. ) You can download these flashcards on the link below.
Flashcards are used in several settings for different reasons: as an educational aid; as part of brain training or cognitive therapy; by businesses and organizations to distribute updated policies and procedures (to reduce staff errors), and even by parents at home as a learning tool for their children.
Benefits Of Flashcards For Children
Flashcards can benefit children by providing a different way to learn. If the child struggles to memorize something, having it in front of them on a card makes the learning process breezy
Flashcards can also be used as an educational tool when learning new things such as vocabulary or spelling. Lastly, they can help children understand information that comes in a different format than what they are used to (for example, sight words).
Another benefit is how easily they enable children to review the lessons learnt from school with their parents several times. Most parents know that it is impossible to review what their children are learning. But surprisingly, It could be as simple as having them take out the flashcards every night before bed and seeing if they can answer any of them.
The third benefit is how well they work in a group setting, especially when playing games like quiz bowl or Jeopardy. Everyone in the room is learning and participating. Flashcards can be an excellent tool for teachers who want to include their students in this activity. We have some games below for use in classrooms and homes.
Flashcards are easy to make at home or simple enough that you could purchase them from an educational store. Again, they’re also portable and can be taken anywhere. This makes it possible to use them during any activity whether the child is at home or school.”
They are also very convenient and easy to use. A parent doesn’t need any special training or equipment at all – just some index cards and paper, which means they won’t have very high expenses associated with their purchase.”
Not to mention that they are very durable. Flashcards are made of thick paper, and the ink will not fade over time which means they can be used for years to come.”
The last benefit is that flashcards work well with all different kinds of learners. They could be kindergarteners or high schoolers – anyone who wants to learn more about what’s on these cards can use them effectively.”
What Should You Include On Your Flashcard?
Since there isn’t any wrong way to make these cards, you can put anything on them. Things like math problems or sight words are great for beginning readers, while older individuals might need some more challenging vocabulary.
How to Use Flashcards
You want the font size of what’s written on each card to be large enough that it is easy for your child (and yourself) to read even if they’re far away from their target audience or teacher. Keep in mind though that the print should not appear too small since this will cause strain and fatigue when reading, which can lead back to poor eyesight down the road.
Some people decide to use pictures instead of words because they feel doing so gives children a better idea about what each item represents but ultimately, whatever method works best will depend on the individual.
If you’re looking for some ideas as far as what to put on your cards, then you can find plenty of free printable cards online. Just remember that each item should be about two inches big and contain a variety of different topics, which means keeping them organized is essential
Five Flashcards Games to Play In A Classroom or Home
We will give you five of the better flashcard games you can use in a classroom here, however we are writing a larger article which is approaching completion. Once it is finished we will link it here as well to give you more options for flashcard games for your students.
1. Flashcard Hopscotch
The old classic game hopscotch can be re-jigged to use as a teaching game for vocabulary as well. Instead of ( or as well as) numbers you can place a flashcard on whichever topic you are covering and when your students lands on the box they have to say, read or make a sentence using the vocabulary on the flash card.
You can make this as difficult or as easy as you like depending on the level or age of your students. (just in case you don’t know what hopscotch is , or if its called something different in your country the image above is of children playing traditional hopscotch.
2. Flash Card Frenzy
If you use these excellent (and cheap!) cards you can set a timed challenge for individuals or groups of students. These are aimed at English tuition as they focus on either CVC words or simple rhyming sentences.
They have picture clues on one site and just the words or letters on the other. so you can use these for phonics or sentence construction alone, or for vocabulary recognition as well.
I use these flashcards in loads of different ways but my favorite is the following.
- If you have more than one full set (I would get about 3 or 4 of these) you give each set to a group of students.
- Have them lay them on the table, desk or floor face down to make it more difficult or picture up if you want to make it easier.
- set a clock on the board and have them try to match each set ( they are in sets of three) so C-A-T, or J-A-M for the three letter words / CVC ones.
- For the Rhyming sentences they have to match 3 again but its the sentence or the rhyming words. For example: The MAN had a CAN in his VAN.
- They have to match as many as they can in the time you set or..
- you can time them till they finish them all.
- It can take about 10 minutes so is a nice warmer or cool down activity for a class. I have the links to the cards, for full disclosure they are affiliate links but that doesn’t add anything to the price at all.
3. Flashcard Swat
You can play this on an interactive board or with little magnets if you have hard copies of the flash cards. You will need two pieces of rolled up newspaper or fly swatters (better!) and all you have to do is say one of the flashcards on the board and let two children compete to swat it first!
You can do this as a competition or individually, i prefer to do it as a friendly competition and keep running scores. Depending how you want to run this you could have the students take the flashcard for their team, which reduces the number on the board. This then lets you choose less able students to come up and try as the task gets easier.
4. Musical Flashcards
Very simple game, and just like the children’s birthday party favorite. This can be used with any subjects vocabulary not just English flashcards.
- you can put a flashcard on a chair and the chairs in a circle. Play the music and stop it suddenly and the children have to sit down.
- They have to read the flash card to the person on their left, then start the music again.
- After a few goes you can remove a chair and start eliminating players. till there are only 2.
- There are a few ways to play this but getting children active often helps them learn 🙂
5. Flash Card Voice Message. (Chinese Whispers)
A fun game , mainly due to the mistakes your students will make.
- You can line them up in two lines and put some flashcards on a desk at the front of the line. The first students picks up and looks at the flashcard and puts it back without anyone seeing it.
- They then have to turn round and whisper it to the students behind them without anyone hearing.
- the next student then has to turn round and do the same,
- and so on and so on till it gets to the last student.
- You can end the game with the student either shouting out the word or coming to the front and choosing the correct card on the desk.
Our Sites Flashcards On Our Site for Free download
As with most resources it is less about the actual resource and more about the context it is used. If you plan age and level appropriate activities and lessons then almost any resources, including flashcards, can be effective.
Of course, waving a picture flashcard in front of a baby is not going to give you stellar results, but using sets of flashcards in classrooms as matching exercises to teach grammar of vocabulary terms is perfectly acceptable.