With technology advancing so quickly and children wanting to use devices to aid learning, we forget the conventional methods that are still very effective and useful in many ways.
I have used flashcards with my children since they were babies and I think they are an amazing tool to help them learn many different things from names of animals to increasing vocabulary and much more.
Some may think that flashcards are boring but they have been proven to work and can really aid learning. Flashcards are a hands-on learning aid that can help with study and retain factual knowledge.
I think the first set of flashcards I used were animal shaped ones. One side had the picture of the animal and the other side had the name of that animal written on it. They were put together on a plastic hook so I could attach them to my daughter’s pushchair but they could also be taken apart.
I remember a time when we had all the cards laid out on the floor and I would ask her to find a particular animal. When she found it, we would all cheer and she was so proud of herself. The same cards helped her read and write the names of those animals too helping, her to recognise letters and phonics.
There are so many flashcards available for babies and young children; I know mine would occasionally chew on them so we had to buy flashcards that would last!
Flashcards can be used for all ages and can come in many different sizes. I know, as a teacher, I have used A4 and A3 flashcards in my class but as a student, I had flashcards for revision. They never go out of style!
Here are my top ten reasons for using flashcards!
- If used properly, they can be a really effective tool to aid learning. Change it up! Swap them around, turn them into games. Get involved! The possibilities are endless; you just have to be creative.
- They are a useful way of building on prior knowledge. So, if your child has learnt a few Spanish words, you could always add to those words by adding a few more flashcards. Not only will they learn new words, they will also retain the vocabulary they already know.
- Flashcards allow us and our children to self-reflect. Our children will anticipate an answer before turning over a card, once the answer is revealed, they will automatically ask how they got to that answer and what they can do to ensure they don’t get it wrong next time!
- Flashcards allow for active recall – the flashcards help us to remember a concept from scratch, repetition allows for multiple recall events therefore, reinforcing memory. Your child is more likely to remember what they have learnt.
- Flashcards can be used at any age. Whether that’s for revision or for learning new information; they work!
- These wonderful cards can be used to learn a variety of subjects from vocabulary, maths, and colours to the periodic table. There really is no limit !!
- Flashcards appeal to different learning styles – if your child is more of a visual learner, then these cards definitely appeal to them as flashcards often use images or words written out in a large font. If your child is an auditory learner, these are great too as reading out loud is used when using flashcards but they also suit a kinaesthetic learner as they allow the child to pick up, shuffle and move the cards around. The last method of learning is more suited to babies as they are interested in movement and games but it is always a good idea to try to combine all three methods to get the most out of a resource and flashcards definitely do that!
- Helps improve memory – the use of flashcards enforces and reinforces memory as they rely on your child using memory to recall what they learn.
- Flashcards can be used to play lots of different games – there are so many ways of using your flashcards to play games. Your child won’t even know they are learning!
Often, the flashcards come with instructions and ideas for different games you can play; you could also make up a few of your own!
- Lastly, if you use flashcards with your child from a young age, they will become familiar with using them and hopefully adopt the idea and use them to help with revision.
Whether the revision is for a test at school, learning their times tables or preparing for an exam, you will have equipped your child with an extremely useful tool.
My last bit of advice would be to use your flashcards smartly in order for them to be effective but also, have fun with them!
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