Why would Digital Age kids benefit from using flash cards? Because they offer a fun, fast, easy, time-tested way to memorize new information and apply important concepts, with near-endless possibilities for play. Kids can use flash cards independently or with a friend. Flash cards are also a great way for parents to work with their kids and for siblings to help each other, turning learning into a family activity.
Specifically flash cards stimulate active recall—the ability to call info up from memory to answer vs. just passively taking it in. Seeing the same thing, multiple times, at intervals, also reinforces learning. With some flash cards, kids can see, touch, and trace, using two of the five senses, and the out-loud learning, laughter, and interaction also bring a third—hearing--into play.
Flash cards can also help fine-tune metacognition, often simply defined as thinking about thinking. It involves connecting new information to old and making choices about, and then evaluating, thinking processes and strategies. In a 2012 post to her Imagination Soup blog about metacognition and kids, Melissa Taylor described watching (and listening to) her then-9-year-old daughter repeatedly spell her spelling words wrong. Taylor intervened by asking her daughter what “strategy” she was using, to which she replied, “I don’t know.” Taylor wrote, “If we can help our children think about their strategies, we can help them become more skilled learners.”
Flash cards, themselves, offer many learning strategies. For example, 3D Think & Blink Numbers & Shapes Flash Cards feature special lenticular printing layers two 3D images on a plastic surface. Tip the card slightly, and see a number. Tip it the other way, and a shape appears. Make the images blink back and forth, like magic! Plus, they come packaged in a handy tote box, perfect for home or school use. They teach 3- to 6-year-olds beginning numbers and counting, and the easy-to-wipe card surface and handy carrying case make it simple to take them anywhere. The set features numbers 1-12 and the following shapes: circle, star, diamond, oval, square, heart, triangle, and rectangle.
Bedtime Alphabet Night-Time Learning Interactive Flash Cards offer day-and-night learning options—literally. At night, use the handy mini flashlight included in the package to shine light through the clever cutouts. Watch uppercase letters and shapes dance on floors, walls, and ceilings. It’s a new twist on traditional and much-loved shadow play. By day, use the cards as stencils to encourage drawing and writing activities. Each card offers three unique stencils. Kids can also trace and color letters and images to make alphabet pictures or even storybooks, by adding their own words, drawings, and fancy covers. Or flip the cards over to reveal pieces to six different puzzles. Color-coded card fronts make sorting easy. Other activities include arranging in alphabetical order or spelling out short words such as C-A-T.
The bold illustrations and handy wipe-clean surfaces of Three-Letter Words Write-on Learning Interactive Flash Cards make them a great first step to reading! Preschoolers and kindergartners can practice tracing letters and spelling words at their own pace.
Exploring Colorful Animals of All Kinds Flash Cards with kids helps them learn about the size, habitat, class, and characteristics of each animal. Time & Money Flash Cards help kids learn to read multiple variations of digital and analog clocks, understand money value, and add coin combinations. There are some cards where kids can even use real coins to create a more complex and hands-on understanding of how money can buy their favorite things, like an ice cream cone or popcorn.
Flash cards also strengthen fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination—a win-win-double-win.