What’s the first thing you hear when you bring up the topic of math with most school-aged children? We’d be surprised if you said you got many positive responses. In fact, it’s pretty rare to hear the words ‘I love math’ very often.
It’s fairly typical of kids to strongly dislike math from an early age, usually because they struggle with the basic concepts and don’t have the math foundation they need to build on as they journey through school. This is greatly concerning, especially as almost everything in life has elements of math. Even the most basic of activities, from playing games to managing their social calendars, requires math calculation.
As parents, the good news is that we can prevent this stigma and encourage a positive perception! This can be done from a relatively early age, long before your child enters the preschool gates or puts on their first school uniform. The foundation we parents lay regarding math – and our child’s approach to early learning – goes a long way towards a healthy education.
Did you know that the period from birth to five years of age is when the brain is the most receptive to learning? When a baby is born, its brain size is a quarter of its intended adult size. This increases at lightning speed (nearly) over the course of three years to 80% and 90% by age five. During this time, your child’s brain constantly absorbs information – creating memories that aid the learning process.
According to a study conducted in 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, better number sense in infancy (six months) can ensure a stronger mathematical ability at 3 years old! That’s fantastic when you think about it, as this means exposing our children to math from a VERY early age can have dramatic and positive effects on their development.
This brings us to the benefits of math flashcards and their ability to help your child develop a strong foundation in the numerical world. As you can see, learning the foundational basics of math during these formative years can promote a strong understanding of math principles for your child to build on in the future. However, when taught using math flashcards, the results are even better!
How Does Math Development Work?
To understand how math development works, you must first understand how the brain learns. Our brains are made up of billions of neurons called nerve cells – commonly called brain cells. Each brain cell has an appendage that links it to the next, called a dendrite. Dendrites link and synapses pass electrical currents from one cell to the next.
When the synapses are repetitively stimulated, permanent informational pathways develop. These are often referred to as neural patterns, which allow learned information to be transmitted quickly. Therefore, encouraging the development of these neural pathways using math flashcards definitely improves and hones your child’s math skills!
What Are Math Flashcards?
Math flashcards, like language flashcards, are small colorful cards used to teach basic math concepts such as counting, numerical recognition, and more. The best math flashcards usually depict a number at the top with a corresponding picture or pattern below. This visual aid, coupled with the written number, is excellent for teaching young children identification and recognition skills.
How Do Math Flashcards Aid Development?
You’re probably wondering how math flashcards work. And the truth is the concept is actually very simple. Using math flashcards to enhance your child’s learning and development promotes metacognition and active recall, which are vital brain processes required for learning.
In addition, enhancing the brain’s ability to recall mathematical concepts using the best math flashcards provides a firm grounding and understanding of the basics required for further learning. We utilize the power of repetition in our set. We provide the same number three times, using three different images (or contexts) to help children get a more natural grasp on association, rather than just memory.
As your child uses math flashcards more frequently, neural pathways will develop, encouraging the information to move from short-term to long-term memory. Long-term memory is like the storage or filing system of the brain, and is used to store information the brain doesn’t want to forget.
What Are The Benefits of Math Flashcards?
Like most flashcards used for early learning, the benefits of math flashcards on the brain are quite interesting.
Below are several positive ways math flashcards affect the brain.
· Enhances Metacognition
Metacognition is also known as self-reflection or performance assessment. In other words, the ability to assess your answer compared to the solution on the flashcard. Questions like ‘did I get the right answer?’ or ‘was I nearly right?’ can be used to judge their ability and progress when learning. Using the best math flashcards can help your child develop metacognition skills, creating solid neural pathways (learned memories).
· Boosts Active Recall
Active recall is stimulated when your child looks at the math flashcard and tries to associate the numerical number with the picture or pattern below. These again create informational pathways that promote memory and efficient learning processes. In addition, math flashcards are used repetitively, which stimulates memory recall and aids with information retention.
· Promotes Spaced repetition
When compared to a single math lesson, spaced repetition as a learning method is far more effective – and there’s research to prove this! Spaced repetition involves short, interactive training sessions that occur with breaks in between. It explains why math flashcards are so effective when teaching your child because they can be used in short bursts. For example, using math flashcards to teach your child to count sequentially in repetitive intervals will be far more effective for their long-term memory than one lesson.
· Encourages Confident Learning
Math can be quite confusing, especially to little ones just learning to grapple with numbers. Math flashcards allow information to be separated into proverbial bite-sized portions that can be learned separately. As a result, they can focus more frequently on math concepts they find challenging rather than those they’re confident with. This optimized learning technique encourages memory performance and recall, much like active recall and spaced repetition.
Are Math Cards Appropriate For Preschoolers?
If babies as young as six months old benefit from math, it stands to reason that math flashcards are appropriate for preschoolers. In fact, the earlier you start with the flashcards, the better it is! Math flashcards can be used in many fun, engaging activities and when these stimulate a natural thirst for learning, it’s a win-win situation encouraging them to want to learn more.
An excellent attribute of the best math flashcards – like the ones we offer – are bright, colorful designs, pictures and patterns. These can be used to create an interest in the world of numbers and how they influence everyday life.
Benefits of math flashcards for preschoolers include:
· Creates an interest in math
· Builds basic math skills
· Increases confidence
· Encourages independent thinking
· Promotes problem-solving skills
· Engages active recall/memory skills
· Improves active recall
How To Use Math Flashcards Effectively for Preschoolers
Math flashcards, like language flashcards, are fun interactive tools used to improve memory skills in the early years and later as your child journeys through school. Research has shown that learning through play is “essential for a child and lays a foundation for learning.” Using math flashcards coupled with play-based teaching methods is excellent for teaching young children the basic concepts of math!
At this point, you might be researching how to introduce math flashcards to your preschooler? Or, if you want to get started a little earlier, you may be wondering “how do you introduce math flashcards to toddlers?” In both instances, the process is quite similar and involves a few simple steps.
Select the math flashcards you wish to use and sit facing your child. As you show your child the flashcard, say the number on the card. The picture below the numerical number will usually illustrate the number. For example, a flash card showing the number 3 might have three rainbows depicted below. Say the number and then count the rainbows, pointing to each one as you count.
This targets proper identification and recognition of each number, and helps with language development!
With practice (repetition is key) and maturity, your child will start remembering the information. Now you can start asking them to repeat the numbers you say. Another great tactic is to ask them to ‘help’ you count the number of items they see in the math flashcard picture.
Once your child has grasped the concept (this will take time) and begins recognizing the numbers, you can ask them to tell you the number associated with each picture shown. Alternatively, you could ask them to count out the items in the images on their own. Practice is key!
As your child’s confidence develops, hold each math flashcard up for your child to see and wait at least 3 seconds. This allows your child time to look at the card and consider their answer. If they provide the right solution, place the card to one side. If they give a wrong answer, put the card at the bottom of the pile to review again. At the end of the flashcard session, spend some time studying the flashcards they struggled with.
Remember to include lots of praise, encouragement and FUN in every math flashcard session!
How To Include Math Flashcards Into Your Daily Routine
Incorporating math flashcards into your daily routine is easy and fun. They’re a great learning tool – whether you use them to label the number of bowls you have in the cupboard, to help with homework or in fun interactive games.
Here are some things to remember when using math flashcards to motivate and encourage your child’s basic math skills.
- Keep each session fun, interactive and entertaining
- Remember the concept of spaced repetition and take regular breaks (often less is more!)
- Ensure your child is rested before each session – tired children don’t learn very well
- Top up the tum and brain with a healthy snack, boosting brain cells encourages learning
- Remember to praise, reward and encourage – use high fives, hugs or a little treat as an incentive!
Fun Interactive Math Flashcard Games
We’re often asked by parents “what is the best way to use math flashcards”? Or “how do you use math flashcards for kids”? The answer to these questions is this: by incorporating as much fun and entertainment as possible! Even silly, made-up flashcard games can positively impact your child’s math skills!
Although the same can’t be said for all flashcards, don’t be afraid to toss ours around and get active – they’re built to withstand the liveliest of learning activities, day in, day out.
Below are two examples you can use to get your math flashcard sessions started:
This game can be played by two or more and requires a full set of math flashcards. Sit facing your child and divide the flashcards into two equal piles. Give your child one pile and keep one for yourself. Then place the first card face-up on the table, and ask your child to put their card next to it. Every time your cards match, it’s an opportunity to yell ‘snap!’ The trick is to go as fast as you can to aid the unconscious absorption of information by the cerebellum (part of the brain responsible for memory). It’s also great fun and an opportunity to develop active recall, memory and cognitive function!
Hunt The Number Down
You can play this game with one or more children. Select a math flashcard and hold it up for your child to see. If needed, help them identify the number by saying or counting out the items depicted in the picture. Then tell them to collect the same number of items from around the room or classroom. As they become more confident, allow them to hunt the correct number of objects without assistance. Every time they get it right, they earn points towards their favorite treat or activity.
Our math numbers flashcards feature gentle yet eye-catching illustrations and a kid-proof build. If you’re looking to reliably engage your child with math and get a head start with flashcards, we’ve got you covered. Each set even comes with a sturdy ring binder for customizable lessons!
As a parent wanting to learn how to help your child learn numbers, you can’t go wrong with math flashcards. Not only are they a brilliant way of introducing basic math concepts to your child, but they’re also super convenient and portable. Remember to keep each flashcard session fun and upbeat, as this will ensure your child remains engaged and ready to learn!