On Thursdays, I have begun to share an activity idea or advice based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and having a child with special needs.
Today I'd like to discuss flashcards.
I will be honest--I love flashcards for vocabulary building and articulation work. Many therapists despise them saying that pictures of objects are poor substitutes for the real thing. I do agree with that, but I do feel they can be useful. Using flashcards for a few minutes in a therapy session can be productive.
Flashcards are great for building expressing vocabulary by allowing children to work on naming pictures of objects. Using 2 or more flashcards at once, you can ask the child to identify a picture to work on receptive language. Targeting words in flashcards with specific sounds allows us to work on speech clarity (articulation).
So let's talk about how I choose flashcards.
I prefer flashcards of pictures of real objects, especially when teaching vocabulary. I occasionally use cartoon or drawn cards, but these are not my preference. Photographs are more accurate of the real thing than the drawn cards. I buy my cards at dollar stores, big box chain stores, and online at educational or therapy websites. These are some of my favorite sets:
Now that you have your flashcards, the next step is engaging the child.
There are some small children that will happily sit through naming and looking at each picture. Most children need some extra motivation to go through a short set of cards.
Here's my favorite 3 things to use with flashcards.
1. A Basket: When the child says the word, they can drop the flashcard in the basket. Simple, I know, but this little trick works. It also teaches the child to focus on one picture at a time.
2. The Magic Box: This is a shoebox that I covered in wrapping paper. I made a small slit in the top of the box for a flashcard to slide through. Toddlers and preschool children tend to love this one. They say the word, then they get to put the card into the magic box.
3. Finally, this is a flashcard holder that I purchased through a therapy website. This holder is a little difficult for the toddlers I work with to do on their own. But, it is still a good way to change up flashcard work. The flashcards in this holder are ones that I made myself using my digital camera and laminating machine.
Flashcards have their purpose in therapy and in academic work. I hope this helps you think of a new way to engage children in this work.
Find your way back here next week on Thursday for another tip.
This information is provided for educational purposes and not intended for therapeutic advice.