5 Ways Flashcards Speed Up Children Learning a Second Language

Educational flashcards are deceptively powerful. They might seem pretty simple, but when used correctly, they promote something in the brain called active recall – the process of retrieving memories. It involves regularly testing yourself throughout revision so that your brain retains the information.

So, do flashcards help with language learning? Yes, they do! Flashcards are actually one of the best ways to go about learning anything, new languages included. 

The brain’s neuroplasticity is highest in the early years. Most child prodigies in music, for example, started playing under the age of 10. Learning a new language will be far easier during these formative years than starting from scratch as an adult. You can take advantage of this educational prime time with your kids by using effective devices like flashcards to start learning.

Read on as we explore the ways flashcards speed up children learning a second language.

1. They leverage the picture superiority effect

The picture superiority effect describes a phenomenon where the brain makes stronger connections when pictures are paired with words. When you consider how we’ve evolved, our brains have been trained to store information tied to visual elements in the wild for survival. This is opposed to studying with words alone, which we’ve evolved to use purely as a communication device.

A study titled “Picture Recognition Improves With Subsequent Verbal Information” explores this learning mechanism used also with flashcards. As the paper states: “Subsequent yes-no recognition tests for the pictures demonstrated better memory for those pictures that had been followed by descriptive sentences.” 

The illustrative pictures on Strong Minds flashcards are a reliable way to start strengthening connections in your child’s brain to help them learn a language.

2. They use mnemonic devices

A mnemonic device is anything that develops a mental association between two pieces of information. A common example is ROYGBIV, which refers to the colors on the light spectrum.  

Flashcards use associative imagery to achieve the same result. They support mnemonic memorizing by connecting the visual representation and the meaning associated with it. By using eye-catching images with key phrases, good-quality flashcards make for effective mnemonic devices when learning new languages.

rainbow chalk drawing
Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash: What is the best way to teach a child a second language? Let’s find out!

3. They’re simple (which the brain likes)

How can flashcards help children? Another advantage of flashcards that appeals to both the brain in general and kids of younger ages is simplicity. 

When overcomplicating learning, it’s easier for your brain to fall into the trap of the illusion of competence. The problem arises when you’re studying, but not taking much in, and you begin to think you know more than you do.

By having just one piece of information on your card, you encourage active recall, rather than just recognition. It’s easy to conflate the two and assume that you’re learning, but not actually be able to retrieve the information when you need it.

To avoid this, flashcards keep things simple and allow those associations to form by taking it one phrase at a time. If you try to put four points to remember on one card, your child is a lot less likely to remember all four than if you were to include one point per card. It creates a binary right/wrong result rather than a spectrum of success, which is easier to skip over information with. 

Flashcards are also presented in a simple, usually rectangular space. This shape, combined with expressive colors, is effective in retaining attention. Vocabulary study is made up of micro pieces of information that can be randomized, making the learning flow of flashcards the perfect tool for studying a language.

three young children
Image by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash: Can a child learn two languages at once? Learning at a young age is easier than any other.

4. They engage the brain

How is language taught by using flashcards? The random order in which flash cards present information prompts the brain to engage spontaneously. This is in contrast to more linear, lengthy formats like lectures. 

Flashcards help build neural connections between the meaning of a word, its phonetic value, and its spelling. Try calling the answers out loud and incorporating movement into flashcard sessions, which keeps the information refreshed in your child’s memory.

5. They store information through controlled repetition

How do children learn a second language? One word: repetition. Repetition is key for effective learning, which flashcards naturally support. Memories are prioritized by usage, and since our brain uses up to 20% of our body’s energy, it will discard information that it thinks we don’t need in order to conserve power. 
Flashcards keep information fresh in our brains and convince it that we should hang on to that data. The speed at which feedback is delivered is another advantage. Your child doesn’t need to await test results to find out how they’re doing – flashcards provide immediate pointers on where they might need to focus their attention.

How do you teach a second language to children? With engaging flashcards!

Additional Tips For Using Flashcards Effectively

Learn Gradually and Take Breaks

Downtime helps the brain process and store information. Schedule your lessons with enough breaks for children to come back refreshed and ready to build on their knowledge. The Center for the Advancement of Teaching describes how resting is one of the most important factors in creative problem-solving and learning new things.

Play Games

What is the best way to teach a child a second language? By making it fun! Gamification is a great way to engage younger children. By turning a lesson into a game, they’re more likely to look forward to learning and stay stimulated throughout the process. You could also offer prizes to the winner to encourage kids even more.

A few popular examples of games you can play with flashcards include:

  • Scavenger hunt: For this game, simply take a selection of flashcards and stash them around the house. Then give the child a verbal or written cue to head off and find the right one. Once they’ve found the cards, they win. For Spanish language flashcards, you might as them to find “bread”; the child should return with the card that says “el pan”. If you’ve got multiple kids playing, you can turn it into a competition.
  • Flashlight hunt: This is the same as the scavenger hunt – but in the dark!
  • Tic-tac-toe: Play against your child and pick either ‘X’ or ‘O’. Create your own tic-tac-toe board and take turns solving flashcards. If you get the correct answer, you can play your move, until somebody hits three in a row and wins.
  • Beanbag toss: (If you don’t have any beanbags, you could toss a cuddly toy or something similar instead.) First, spread the flashcards around the floor with enough space to target them individually. Then have kids toss the beanbag/cuddly toy onto a card and solve the problem. If they answer it correctly, they can collect it, and the child who has the most at the end of the game wins.

Some flashcards are too flimsy to withstand the danger zone of playing children – but Strong Mind’s ultra-durable design ensures your purchase will be child-proof from lesson one to fluency!

What is the best way to teach a child a second language? Flashcards can play a strong role in learning bites of information from an early age.

Keep it colorful

You should always pick colorful flashcards over plain white ones. Using colorful flashcards creates connections in the subconscious that aid learning. Colors can be used to indicate things like parts of speech or grammatical gender. Colorfully illustrated flashcards not only increase the rate of learning, but also help you to keep things organized.

Let the students be the masters

The Feynman technique is very effective for the brain to remember things. When you teach others what you know, it forces the brain to recall the information and explain it in simple terms. This reinforces the knowledge within your own mind so you can recall it for personal use. 

To use the Feynman technique, have your child simply go over what they learned today a few hours later or the next day, as if they were teaching you. If you can incentivize them to do this every day, it’ll get the job done – but even better, if you can have them motivate themselves, it’ll create a flywheel of growth. 

Go for the gold standard

As with any product, flashcards are produced across a spectrum of quality. By choosing flashcards that are made with learning efficiency in mind, you can be sure you’re investing in the best tools to help your child learn and grow.

Even premium flashcards are a highly cost-effective learning tool – and in order to get the most out of flashcards, you need quality. The sensitivity of mnemonic devices we mentioned above means connections will be formed much more easily if the visual cues are more attractive. 

Speed Up Your Child’s Language Learning With Strong Minds Flashcards

If you’re ready to equip your child with the huge life advantage of learning a second language, Strong Minds provides the tools necessary to make leaps and bounds in a matter of days. Our high-quality language flashcards for kids are durable and captivating, and can be ring-bound to customize your lesson.

We’ve helped countless children already and can’t wait to add yours to the growing list of super-learners! We stock both educational and Spanish flashcards. Head over to our store to unlock your child’s potential today.

Featured image by Karolina Grabowska on Unsplash

Spanish Flashcards: Help Your Child Learn A Second Language

Learning a new language isn’t easy, but flashcards are an excellent way to introduce your child to the task.

You could have plenty of reasons to start: overseas relatives, an inherent desire or a new way to productively spend time at home. No matter the reason, it’s a great choice to build such a valuable and enriching skill as early as childhood. By the time they’re ready to go out and explore new countries, your child will be a balanced and bilingual communicator of the globalized world!

What Are Spanish Flashcards?

Flashcards are an effective way to teach your children any new language. If you’re new to flashcards, they’re really quite simple: they’re a double-sided card bearing information to aid memorization. Each can feature a combination of text and pictures to illustrate a word or phrase. When deciding which flashcards to go for, consider the ones that work best with your child’s style of learning as well as the subject matter relevant to your level.

The cards use an elementary and age-old learning technique to assist children in learning and remembering information. It also helps youngsters in exploring, assessing and developing a passion for learning. It won’t be long before your child is soaking up knowledge and applying it in the long term.

Since educational flashcards have been used in education for many years, they’re an excellent tool to boost memory. They’re frequently used to introduce new subjects, including languages. You can easily begin to get used to the basics of any new subject, including languages, by including flashcards into your personal learning journey.

For example, when learning Spanish, flashcards could be small material with a word, picture or question on them that teaches the word or phrase. One side of the paper contains a Spanish word, and the other has the meaning or translation of the word. Although small, we make every inch of our flashcards count. We keep our packs both value-dense and beautifully illustrated so that there’s never a dull moment in your learning sessions!

child holding Rr flashcard
Image by Werner Pfennig at Pexels.com: Help your child learn a second language with flashcards.

How Do Spanish Flashcards Work? 

Flashcard learning is a comprehensive strategy for developing a child’s cognitive and critical thinking skills. This is because it builds the groundwork for fast recollection of information from images. This configuration serves to boost both of a child’s cerebral hemispheres. It’s also linked to enhancing their learning capacity by assisting children in processing information in a pleasant and fascinating way.

When holding up a flashcard, it’s intended to elicit a quick reaction from the learner. For example, if you want to teach a certain word, you’ll use a flashcard that has both the word and its matching image. When you flip the card over, you’ll see the meaning of the word. This makes the pairing of image to word even easier.

Spanish flashcards are the appropriate method for learning Spanish words and phrases. When properly used, they aid in memory retention and improve the capacity to recall information later.

By exposing your child to a variety of vocabulary items and ideas – such as pronouns, numerals, and, in the case of Spanish vocabulary (for gender forms) – flashcards may also open the door to a deeper grasp of how the language functions.

After understanding the benefits of learning a second language for children, you’re probably wondering, “what is the best way to use Spanish flashcards to learn a second language?” Spanish flashcards will bridge that gap for you, and help your child learn a second language like Spanish more effectively!

How To Use Spanish Flashcards

It’s important to know how Spanish flashcards work to maximize their use in teaching your child. Understanding how Spanish flashcards work will help you teach your child more effectively.

Before we get into the method of teaching children with Spanish flashcards, there are things to consider when introducing Spanish flashcards to toddlers:

Size Of Spanish Flashcards

The size of the flashcards should be decided by the number of children being taught. The flashcard should always be large enough for all children to see, identify and remember. Ideally, all flashcards should be the same size and form.

Font Of Flashcard Text

Important details should be underlined in the text, and written in a legible font. For instance, rehearse the word’s sound by writing the first letter in a different color, like red. Put the word on the back of the flashcard so that learners must remember what the image on the card represents, rather than simply reading the word when they glance at it. 

Laminate Your Cards

Laminate your flashcards to save time and avoid having to reproduce them after being worn or damaged. Laminated flashcards are resistant to bending and crumpling, making it simple to play any game imaginable by laying them on the ground or passing them about! Strong Minds’ durable cards cater to active kids who like to get handsy when they learn – you’ll never need to worry about spillages and tears!

child with parents and tutor
Image by Gustavo Fring at Pexels.com: Bring Spanish flashcards into your daily routine.

Using Spanish Flashcards

When teaching kids, there are several ways to use educational flashcards. Figure out which flashcards are best for the child being taught first and start by arranging the flashcards in the proper order. 

When dealing with youngsters, keep in mind that each interruption might result in the lesson slipping into distraction. With enthusiasm and – perhaps a little exaggeration – create some engaging ways to present the image to the child.

One way to do this is to play some fun Spanish music, as music helps to recall memories and other events. Pair the card with stimulating motions or noises, or anything that grabs their attention. Have them spellbound one way or another, and keep things light and imaginative!

Make sure the word is said loudly and clearly, and have the child echo it back to you a few times to practice your pronunciation. Make sure they pay close attention to your pronunciation before asking them to repeat. When uttering a word in front of more than one child, it’s not always possible to understand what you’re saying or they may not be keeping up, so be mindful that all participants are following along.

It’s also important to ensure that practice is steady and consistent. You could practice with the child every evening, or pop up the flashcards with games during the day. Repetition is key: you’ll need to present the information to the child many times for it to begin to stick. 

A good way to teach a preschooler is to play games with them. Look for the best Spanish flashcards for kids and use them to play around with the kids. Play games with the child to motivate them even further! Flashcard games are great to hold kids’ attention and encourage them to speak out loud.

Play Flashcard Games

Below are three flashcard games they could play:

Slap the Floor 

A timeless classic. The children can access the cards once you’ve spread them out on the ground or hang them from the board. They should strike the word with their hand as you yell it!

Bean Bag Toss 

Lay down the flashcards face down on the floor for the bean bag toss. The bean bag is thrown, and the child calls out the flashcard it falls on.

Give Me

This one’s simple. Simply scatter the cards around the floor with the learner(s) on standby. Then ask for a specific card, such as the bus, train or cat. If all goes to plan, they’ll spring into action and seek out your request before eagerly slapping it back in your hand with a grin. This one works best when they don’t have pictures to help them out! With the kid-friendly sizes of all our cards, they should have no problem handing them over.

children being creative
Image by Ksenia Chernaya at Pexels.com: Be creative with flashcard games!

Games can be a great way to put some juice into your learning session and gamify the experience! There’s nothing kids love more than games, and if you can blend that into their learning you’re almost always going to have better results. 

Flashcards are indispensable in learning languages, especially for children. Use them effectively to maximize your child’s learning of a second language. 

Why Should You Learn Spanish?

Learning a second language is very beneficial. Spanish in particular opens up your children’s world, being the fourth most spoken language in the US, as well as the second most studied language in the EU. Having a second language like Spanish in their toolkit will open many doors and possibilities in their future!

Spanish is not difficult to learn as a second language, especially if your first language is English. Many terms in English, Spanish and other European languages have Latin roots. Since so many English terms, particularly scientific and technical terminology, share the same etymology, learning Spanish can help English speakers to not only increase their vocabulary, but also better understand the words in their own tongue. 

The alphabets are the same, so it doesn’t take as much time to learn as other languages with their own alphabets. Most Spanish words are also phonetically spelled, which saves time learning difficult and perplexing spelling rules and increases the likelihood that pronunciation will be accurate.

The Magic Of Learning A Language On The Brain 

Studies show the best time to learn a language is during the first 10 years of life. When a child is exposed to familiar sounds, the brain starts to develop the necessary neural network to adapt to them. 

As the child learns new words and sounds, that network grows and ferments. Anything from interactions with family and friends to media like films and songs can begin to develop their native tongue.

Learning a second language has further effects on the way our brains function. The practice enables language acquisition to function as a mental exercise – building our mental acuity – and this aids in the development of a healthier overall system upstairs.

person writing spanish on chalkboard
Image by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo on Unsplash: There are numerous benefits to learning a second language.

Children’s brains concurrently acquire a crucial skill called classification as they learn new knowledge. The brain organizes incoming information and stimuli into groups so that it may more quickly locate them when needed. Kids who have been exposed to a second language are particularly adept at classification. It’s necessary to be able to access a different vocabulary and syntax depending on the situation while using several languages. This fascinating ability extends to other schemas as well.

Learning a second language alters the brain’s anatomical structure. The relevant brain areas get stronger as a result of their functions in learning; this is mirrored in the growth of gray and white matter. There’s an ever increasing number of children learning multiple languages, according to The Guardian.

There are many benefits of learning a second language, as bilingual children are found to have:

  • Enhanced mental acuity
  • Better grasp of intellectual topics, more inventive and creative thinkers
  • Improved knowledge of the local language

Dive into the world of fun and learning with Strong Minds Learning Labs, and browse our range of beautifully-designed Spanish flashcards! Our choice of 144 cards help children learn all things Spanish from math, language, shapes, colors and the alphabet. The durable design is made to endure session after session in great condition. Let’s start your kid’s journey to Spanish proficiency today!