Flashcards: You probably remember them well from your high school or college days when you used them to memorize the periodic table of elements or cram for a final exam. While older students are well acquainted with flashcards and their effectiveness, flashcards have a lot of benefits for younger children, too.

Teachers have been using flashcards for decades to help students learn core skills, but parents have also jumped on the flashcard bandwagon. Why? Because flashcards are an easy way to continue learning in the comfort of your own home. There are several fun ways to effectively use flashcards!

How do children learn using flashcards and are flashcards good for early development? Read on to find out the answer to these questions and more!

Are Flashcards Effective for Learning?

Flashcards are an active learning method that helps to improve a person’s ability to identify concepts and remember information, no matter the age of the student. Even with the latest technology out there today, flashcards are used more than ever – because they’re effective. Do flashcards actually work? Yes, yes they do!

How flashcards work is interesting in and of itself. When they are used in the right way, this tool allows a student, young or old, to interact with information in a way that makes it much simpler to retain. They are designed in such a way that it encourages and enhances the child to actively recall what they are studying. Typically, the format of a flashcard is a question or object on one side of the card and the answer to it on the other side. When presented with a flashcard, a learner has to look at the card to recall what the answer on the other side of the card is. 

children playing outside
Image by Ashton Bingham on Unsplash: How do children learn using flashcards? Easily, it turns out! 

How Flashcards Improve Memory

Active recall, when practiced, helps to create very strong connections between neurons in the brain. That’s how this method of learning actively works to improve memory. And if you run into a flashcard that a child struggles with, you simply repeat them until that connection in the brain is better formed. A method educators refer to as confidence-based repetition, it’s been shown by researchers to be incredibly effective at making the mind like a steel trap. That is to say, it gives the memory quite a boost!

As your child gains more experience with active recall and repetition through the years, utilizing flashcards will lead to another key process: spaced repetition. This is a technique where the time between studying naturally increases your ability to recall that information. When using flashcards, this is a process that happens naturally as you run through the deck and create space between the recall for each card before it appears again. Repetition solidifies information in your mind so it can be retained in the long run. 

On top of all that, flashcards also work to help develop something in children called meta-cognition, which is how they judge their performance based on what they get right. It’s a natural confidence booster! Additionally, flashcards can be used by a child alone, which allows them to learn independently when they’re ready. 

Using Flashcards

There are many different ways to use flashcards, all of which can target different areas of learning for your child. If you want your child to get a better grasp on language, you can get flashcards that will provide them with that. Math is another area many parents focus on. And for younger children, it’s easy to get simple flashcards that teach numbers, letters, shapes and colors to help get their learning started from as young as six months old. 

You can also use flashcards in different ways based on your child’s age and preferences. After all, everyone is wired a little differently so some methods will be more effective than others when it comes to incorporating flashcards into your child’s learning.

person looking at cards
Image by Jason Goodman on Unsplash: Do flashcards work for language learning? Yes, they do!

Some great games to try with your children to incorporate flashcards include:

  • Matching flashcards
  • Playing memory games with flashcards
  • Playing the passing game with flashcards

It’s a good idea to start your children off with flashcards that appeal to them, such as flashcards with farm animals and their names, or flashcards with trucks, planes and trains. You know your child best, so start with flashcards that will pique their interest!

Flashcards are not a flash in the pan. They’ve been used for hundreds of years to teach information as well as retain it. Start your child off early with flashcard learning and you’ll set them up with great study habits and memorization techniques for later in life.

Featured image by Ben White on Unsplash: Do flashcards actually work? Yes!