Flashcards have been used as a learning aid since the mid-19th century. Whilst they have been traditionally used in training active memory recall, this simple learning tool has become an effective way of helping to teach early years development, at home and in the classroom, all the way through to adult learning.
In this article, we look at what the best flashcards are to use for kids, in early years development and how both children and parents can utilise them to their greatest effectiveness.
Many parents are familiar that, at around 2 years old, their child will be walking, learning to talk, climbing, jumping and exploring more of the world independently. This is a fantastic age as, having acquired these essential skills, there is a new opportunity to absorb information previously inaccessible and learning at an incredibly rapid pace – visually, physically and verbally. This is the perfect time for them to start using activity flashcards that are visually stimulating.
The Numbers Flashcards by Happy Little Doers are a fantastic place to start your little ones learning journey. Whilst recommended for 3 year olds upwards, with parent guidance, the Number Flashcards can contribute to key early developmental skills.
The cards have a minimalist design in high contrast black and white, making them particularly good for focusing without distraction. Whilst the cards reference the numbers 0-9 as words and numerals, they also include ‘tally dots’ which is where these flashcards are most effective for active 2 year olds. By featuring varying numbers of dots on each tally card, it helps children at this age to associate each number sound with the relevant counting dots.
With all this said, two year olds can be highly active, with their attention span lasting no more than 6 to 8 minutes. Each of the Happy Little Doers flashcards comes with an activity card that creates multiple ways of learning through play.
The Shapes Flashcards are similar to the Numbers Flashcards in that they have a minimalist theme of high contrast black and white, carrying through the trend of helping to focus and minimise distraction. They are also for 3 year olds upwards, however also have a great benefit in not only building development in verbal and visual skills and association but also building on fine motor skills and dexterity.
The Shapes Flashcards features both 2D and 3D shapes but, for the purpose of helping the development of 2-year-olds, using the 2D, black and white cards are another perfect way to start. Shapes feature in nature and the world around us, so this is a great opportunity to introduce basic shapes at a time when a child is really beginning to explore the world. Using the high contrast side helps to clearly outline and define the shape whilst the opposite side display a dashed line with highlighted dots to help with finger tracing, improving dexterity and fine motor skills, which is the very early stages of drawing and, ultimately, handwriting.
Happy Little Doers Number Flashcards is once again featured as one of the best learning flashcards for 3-year-olds. It’s important to understand that children learn and develop at different rates – with some children having a grasp for simple numbers, whilst others are just beginning their number learning journey. At the age of 3, children have an understanding of basic words and start to form full sentences – so this is a great stage to start building the vocabulary with common words; numbers is one of these key building blocks. The Numbers Flashcards contains numbers in numeral, word and tally dot form. Whilst the word-formation is to build reading skills, the numeral and tally dots provide a great partnership for understanding object and numeral relationships. There are some fantastic interactive activities with every Happy Little Doers flashcard pack which make this learning process feel secondary to play, which is what makes these flashcards so effective.
Shapes are learnt at a very early age and by the age of 3, many children will have an understanding of the basic shapes; circle, square, triangle and rectangle. Shapes are a topic that is taught at around 5 years old, so building a good understanding of shapes before this can really help with the success of a child’s educational development. The Shapes Flashcards by Happy Little Doers not only help to learn and reinforce basic shapes but feature shapes with 5 or more sides (pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon) as well as other regular and irregular shapes. Whilst the pack also includes 3D shapes, the backs of each shape card displays a dashed line with highlighted dots that provide the basis for shape and letter formation, which subsequently builds on skills for handwriting. The activity cards include some great ways of getting your child to enjoy building shapes with simple tools and treats around the house.
The Phonics Flashcards by Happy Little Doers are the brand’s largest flashcard set; featuring 37 illustrated flashcards with silhouette animals performing activities and sports. Phonics can be a tricky topic as, traditionally parents and children sound out the alphabet with a melodic, jumpy tune, pronouncing the letter sounds in a well-known way as opposed to how the letter can be sounded out within word formations. By introducing phonics earlier, it can ensure that children not only build a better understanding of pronunciation but building the relationship of letter formation with sounds. The Phonic Flashcard set is simplified with supplied sound group card, pronunciation card and sound blending card, which makes it easier to teach the obstacle course of phonics.
If your child has a fascination for Dinosaurs, then the Dinosaur Flashcards by Happy Little Doers are a fantastic resource for learning key facts about some very familiar faces! The pack features the more familiar dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Diplodocus and more, but what makes these flashcards the best dinosaur theme flashcards are the visual representation of the size of each dinosaur against a human (very relatable for a child!) but also some starter facts on what each dinosaur ate when it lived, where it lived and a unique fact-specific to each dinosaur. The activity card features simple home games and activities that, whether you are wanting to learn or play, are a great way to spend family time with your little one.
The Numbers Flashcards (along with the Shapes Flashcards) are the best cards for use at all ages. By 4 years old, children will generally have a grasp for numbers 1 to 10 and higher in many cases. The Numbers Pack features 2 sets of numerals 0-9, with the reverse featuring the word representation of the number on one set and the respective tally dot number on the other set. The pack also includes mathematical symbols (➕,➖,✖️ and ➗) which enables the pack to be used all the way through primary school. At 4 years old, children begin to understand the concept of adding and subtracting, which makes the Numbers Flashcard pack extremely agile for building confidence in the understanding of numbers and simple mathematical calculations. The two individual sets of 0-9 can also combine together to display numbers from 0 all the way through to 110, a unique feature of Happy Little Doers Number Flashcards.
The Numbers Extension Flashcard Pack features flashcards with numbers 10-20 which allows the Numbers Flashcards to be extended. Used together this enables children to gain a visual representation of the numbers in numeral, word and tally dot formation. Combined with the Numbers Flashcards, more complex sums and larger numbers can be created.
At 4 years, children start to experiment in far more detail with dexterity and fine motor skills. The concentration increases to 12-25 minutes, allowing a child to apply greater focus and concentrate on detail. The shapes card features learning of both 2D and 3D shapes; which can be a great reference for building structures. The Shapes Flashcards from Happy Little Doers features a number of activities involving building both 2D and 3D structures using items around the house and the flashcards as a reference guide. By building these structures, it builds up an imprint of how the structures are created which, not only helps to memorise shapes and their names but, helps to build a foundation for learning many more advanced topics later on.
Understanding phonics helps with the development of speech, reading and writing. At 4 years old, many children will have built up a vocabulary that allows them to communicate in full sentences. It is commonplace that at this age the enunciation may not be clear, which is where learning Phonics can help to advance pronunciation of words correctly – helping to identify the spelling of words which progresses to reading. The Phonics Flashcards by Happy Little Doers provide clear direction for parents to help develop their child’s speech, language and reading. The pack features a Sound Group Card – showing parents the stages at which specific sounds are learnt, a Pronunciation Card – showing parents how each phonic should be read and how the sounds should be practised and a double-sided, Sound Blending Card – which shows both children and parents which words to focus on first for learning to read with the sound phonic. The pack contains 25 individual phonic cards, with a silhouette image of an animal on one side performing an activity or sport, along with a pronunciation sentence for the parent, with the other side displaying the letters that represent that sound.
What makes the Phonics Flashcard pack particularly unique is its ability to teach phonics and create simple words. By setting up a display of letters to form a simple word that features on the sounds blending card (on a surface or using a Wooden Flashcard Stand), such as ‘s-a-t’ or ‘p-i-n’, it allows children to focus on words containing a small number of letters, focussing on sound and building up repetition. Whilst the Phonics pack can be used to teach individual phonic sounds, the dynamic learning of combining the letters makes this a very good flashcard pack for learning speech, language, reading and writing.
Learning to write is a skill that takes a lot of practice and repetition; it involves visualising, dexterity, fine motor skills, instruction and memorising. Writing therefore can take a long time to perfect and is not something that is learnt in a short space of time. The Writing Flashcards are a fantastic lead on from the Shapes Flashcards, which encourage mark making and build a foundations of fine motor skills. The Writing Flashcard Pack contains 32 wipeable cards, featuring the 26 letters of the alphabet (in both lower and uppercase) and and 5 cards that display numbers 0 to 9, helping kids to write the full alphanumerical range. What makes the Writing Flashcards great in comparison to writing books is the ability to arrange the cards into small starter words, and either write directly on with a wipeable marker or simply using the cards as a reference.
The Dinosaur Flashcards can be used from as young as three, however if a child has a love for dinosaurs… you know that it will continue for several years! The pack contains 12 well-known dinosaurs; including Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Diplodocus, Velociraptor, Ankylosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Pteranodon, Plesiosaurus. Each of the cards features great facts about dinosaurs, the scale of the dinosaur compared to a human (or child) and, if you were concerned about how to say their names, the correct pronunciation of the dinosaur itself. As with every flashcard pack supplied by Happy Little Doers, an activity card is supplied that helps to create a number of fun ways of learning through play, including how to create your own ice age dinosaur egg, make a fossil and more.
Flashcards are becoming such an effective way of learning and, combined with activities and play can help build on the essential skills of learning and helping to identify the best way of learning whilst really enjoying it at the same time.