Remember flash cards? Love them or hate them, most of us have used them at some point. I wanted to share some basic tips for you to use them with your kids.
Why flash cards? Well, simply said, there are many things to learn and even memorize, and practice does make perfect!
Flash cards can be used to review basic math facts, alphabet letters or sight words for new readers, and vocabulary or definitions for older kids. Even foreign language vocabulary can be learned and practiced with flash cards.
Sometimes just flashing them to yourself or your partner can get boring. What else can you do besides just flash the cards? You can use double sets to match math facts or definitions in a sort of memory game. I have even used decks of regular cards to play a sort of War to practice basic math facts.
Deal out half the deck to each of you, turn up one card each and the student has, depending on the age and skill, between 3-5 seconds to answer correctly or I win the pair. Play continues through the deck. Face cards can be ten and aces either one or eleven. For older kids, make it more challenging by giving these values: Jacks 11, Queens 12 and Kings 13, Aces either one or zero.
Sometimes people with handicapping conditions, such as Autistic children who are non-verbal, children with mental retardation or even very young children, can use communication cards, to communicate basic needs, desires and emotions. Communication cards look like flash cards, but are often used with some sort of low-tech board or sometimes high-tech speaking devices.
I would also like to provide you a few resources to find some flash cards to use, rather than recreating the wheel, as they say. However, feel free to customize any set to match the needs of your learner! So, for basic math fact flash cards, I usually just go to the local dollar store and get a few different packs, since it is so cheap. For more complicated or specific learning, I found Study Stack, which gives you a ton of different topics to learn about, and then quizzes you on the screen. Kids love this, and it is timed and keeps track of your score, too! You can even put in your own unique information and create your own set.
If you want to make your own cards and actually print them out, try the Flash Card Maker at Lakeshore Learning. It’s free! You can enter information for the front and back. You do have to cut them out and fold to get the front/back effect, but it works.
For communication needs with children, or adults, who struggle to use their voice to communicate basic needs, I have seen many options on Amy Speech Language Therapy‘s website. She literally has everything from basic communication needs to activities of daily living, to seasonal and learning boards for children. If you have an individual who can benefit from communication boards, you will be pleasantly surprised. She also has an extensive list of other resources too. This has been a useful site since my grandmother’s stroke last spring, as she has been left without her voice, but with her mind fully intact.
All of that being said, there is still a need for and value in using flash cards, whether it be to practice your addition and subtraction facts, learn a new language, or communicate with a loved one. If you need more resources or ideas on how to use flash cards, feel free to message me and start a conversation!