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Using flash cards with your preschooler

Flashcards is a great way to teach your child new words, letters, numbers and even concepts (ie. up and down; big and small). They are illustrated with bright colorful pictures to capture a toddler's attention, and the fast pace of going through each card keeps the toddler's attention on the cards.

When should you begin using flashcards. Most can start using flashcards at about 18 months of age, and some even earlier. By about age two, he or she will be able to memorize many, if not all, of the words on the flashcards.

Once the child can say what word goes with each picture, you can begin to liven it up a bit. Once the child names the card, you can ask the child to then point out or find the same object in the room or house. Or you can spread out a group of cards, and ask the child to point out a specific card you name.

Further advanced activities include beginning sight words. A child will often learn one or two of the printed words as well (most flash cards will have the word written beneath the picture; some will also have the word by itself on the back of the flash card.) These words will often be short and easily distinguished words, or a particular favorite word of the toddler.

As they advance, if your cards show the word by itself on one side, you can then show them the word first, and then turn the card over to show the picture.

Flash cards are an excellent way to teach your toddler new words. You can buy flashcards at many bookstores.


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