Using Flashcards with Your Baby and Toddler
Using flashcards with your baby and toddler is a great way to mix playtime and learning time. When Isabella was a baby, I used to sit her down in her high chair or bouncy seat and begin showing her a range of flashcards. I would, for example, say “red circle” as I flashed an image of a bright red circle. I would flip the card and show the words “red circle” as I pointed and said it Isabella would be entirely captivated by the flashes, names, images, and our interaction.
I moved on to the next flashcard in a pile, “green triangle” I would say as an image of a green triangle flashed before her eyes, I would flip it and then show the words “green triangle” as I pointed and said it just like before. I did this about eight more times and then put away the set of flashcards, Isabella would fuss a bit so I would usually take out another set maybe with Numbers and Quantity or States. Isabella would light up, excited to see what was next.
Later on, after having my son, we continued this game, both kids love playing with flashcards and learning as they play.
Maybe you know that our journey with early learning began with Your Baby Can Read, which is a learning program with videos, books, and you guessed it Flashcards. This program opened the door to early learning for us, my children loved playing with the flashcards, which were specially designed to be interactive, but they only covered so much.
I have always had an affection for arts and crafts, creating all types of gifts for family members, creations to sell at art fairs, and so on. This love of flashcards that we stumbled upon opened up something new for me to create, and I was excited. Creating all different types of flashcards to play with, with my children. Always finishing up a set of flashcards excited to develop more for what we can play and learn with the next week. Today I am going to provide tips for how you can to create your own flashcards and how to use them. Before we begin, take a moment and pin this post on your homeschool board for later!
How can you create flashcards for your children?
While there are plenty of flashcards available for purchase both online and in stores, it is sometimes extremely challenging to find flashcards on various subjects you would like to teach or learn. For this reason, many flashcards are made at home with images printed from online, old books, magazines, catalogs, postcards, or drawings. You can get as creative as you want and have control over how it is all formatted.
Start by choosing a theme
Flashcard sets are usually categorized by a specific subject or topic, for example, shapes, numbers, sight words, states, artists, presidents, animals, etc. You can even get more granular than these topics, for example, Monet instead of an arrangement of artists, Whales instead of animals as a whole, etc.
Get ready and do some research
Compile a list of items that you would like to present, the list should be ten items or in multiples of 10 so that they can be separated into smaller groups. Need help digging for information? The library and even the internet are great sources to gather information about each item.
Supplies to make flashcards
What do you need to make flashcards at home? Typically, card stock or index-card weight paper about 6′ x 9‘ works best. While this is optional, you can laminate your flashcards, laminated cards keep your materials clean and intact for long term use, and also facilitate faster flashing by preventing the sheets from sticking together.
Gather or create images for each topic
Trim and glue pictures to the front of each card. Don’t forget to make a title card to announce the theme or subject.
Label the back
There are two ways to label the backs of your flashcards:
- Picture and Word Flashcards: Print a large word for the back of the card so that you can show the face of the card or image, then flip it quickly to reveal it’s corresponding word card on the back.
- Knowledge or Information cards: Type or write the label and each bit of information onto the back of each card.
Trim your flashcards
When finished, trim the edges, using fingernail trimmers to round the corners of each card.
Now you are ready to begin using your card set (s), here are some tips for you to start.
How to start showing flashcards
- Start when your child is ready. Typically you want them happy, fed, and excited to begin.
- Announce the title card. This card is letting your children know the subject you are presenting.
- Flip the cards from back to front at the rate of one second per card.
- Present the cards so your child can clearly see each image.
- Speak clearly; each sound is an essential part of the image.
- Have Fun!
Quick reminders for playing with flashcards
- Keep your flashcard lessons short and sweet. While it depends on the number of cards you have and how long your child is enjoying it by sitting and focusing on them, It is recommended that you mix play and movement into the flashcard games. Flashcard games should be around 10 minutes long, shorter is good as well, allowing plenty of time for one on one play.
- Avoid any other distractions in your environment. This time is your one on one time with your child; it should be playful and focused on each other.
- A good pace for presenting flashcards matches the beast of the heart, which is about 1 second per card.