If you search for the phrase 'flashcards for toddlers' you will see many reviews on how flashcards are bad for your toddler - but are they? Or does it depend on how they are used?
The viewpoint from these articles is that children simply need to learn through play and they don’t need words and letters on a flashcard being drilled into them. While I agree that children should primarily learn through play, I feel that there is a firm place for toddler flashcards and they can play a key role if used in a fun and interactive way. Drilling a child with words means nothing and will just lead to rote memorisation but using the cards to describe, explain and potentially evoke a conversation provides much more of a deep-seated learning value.
Just holding up a flashcard and reading a word to a child isn’t much fun for anyone and quite honestly no one is likely to gain anything from the experience however, bringing their world into the learning experience or making it interactive for the child makes it more fun and much more like play which is how children learn.
Examples could be pointing out objects in your home to the pictures shown on the flashcard or asking your toddler to point to the objects or even find them for you, ask them to bring you objects that match the colour shown on the flashcard – this creates a level of interactivity, making it more of a game and giving the child their independence to provide the answer themselves.
My Little Learner flashcards are great at incorporating this interactive element while also having the aim of the flashcards growing with your toddler…for example many of the flashcards can be turned over to practice letter formation aiding learning to write, or the “peg it” flashcards allows your child to work out the answer by themselves by pegging the correct answer – both of these elements will give the child the chance to succeed while nurturing their confidence at the same time.
It is also my belief that flashcards should only be used for a short period to be the most effective.
How can flashcards benefit your toddler?
If used correctly and your toddler/preschooler reacts positively to flashcards the benefits can be fabulous:
- Improve cognitive development
- Increase awareness of the world around them
- Improve fine motor skills
- Stimulate thinking for themselves
- Increase confidence
But flashcards may not be for every child as like adults, every child is unique in every way including the way in which they learn and it has been…that there are 4 types of learners.
The 4 Types Of Learners
It may not be apparent at a very young age which learning style your child favours the most but as they grow knowing their preferred method of learning can be a great advantage when choosing what learning resources will be the most effective at helping them to flourish
- Visual – need images to explain ideas, prefer pictures over words
- Auditory - learn best when information is spoken either by an adult or by reciting themselves, require things to be talked through
- Read/Write – prefer to see things written down, process information by writing notes
- Kinesthetic – “hands-on” learning, process information best by carrying out actions, by practising and recreating.
Are some flashcards better than others?
That very much depends on the type of flashcard but the points below should be considered when making your purchase:
- Size - too small, the child may lose interest
- Colour - too dull, may lose interest; to colourful, too overwhelming
- Interactivity - can the flashcards be used in an interactive way
- Durability - are they too flimsy so the could be easily damaged
What flashcards would be good for my toddler?
This depends on the age of your child and what milestones they are working towards and also what they are starting to show an interest in. I strongly believe learning in the early should be child-led….if your child shows an interest in a particular area of learning then definitely encourage that area.
Toddler Flashcards….The Summary
In summary, I think toddler flashcards are great if used in the correct way….make it fun, make it interactive and keep it short!
Click here to view My Little Learner Flashcards