Blog of Sara Jakša

Using Number Flash Cards in Kindergarden

Flash cards are a learning method, useful for kids and adults. They use the repetition, which has been proven, according to an article in The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology entitled "The Effect of Spacing Repetitions on the Recognition Memory of Young Children and Adults." There they proved that even children in kindergarten and in the first couple of grades in school can take advantage of the positive effects of spacing repetitions on learning. This s what flash cards are all about.

Number flash cards are used to make children more adapt in numbers, so it becomes integrated in their knowledge. There are number of exercises that can be used for that.

This exercise is a circle pass exercise. It is the most basic of the exercises used and it is meant to introduce numbers to children. They sit in the circle and a teacher passes a number flash card and says the number for all children to hear. For example, if the card is 8, he or she says: “This is an eight” or simply “Eight”.

The use of this system helps a child to recognize the image on the card and associate it with the word. A teacher or parent mixes the number flash cards and the children have to say out loud what number is being shown to them. The cards should be mixed in between different repetitions so the children can learn the numbers and not the sequence.

A similar use is the finger showing method. The teacher or parent using this method shows the number on the card, and the children show the number of fingers that make that number, taking the teacher's lead..

There is also a hiding game. The teacher removes one card from the stack and shows the mixed remaining stack to the children. They have to figure it out what card is missing.

The cards could also be used for a searching game. The teacher or parent makes a list of items that are in the room or in the outside playground. Then he or she shows a card. The children have to bring the items on the list in the right quantities. If there is not enough items, then they have to say the number of items they found.

The next learning method works with mostly big groups. The person shows a number. The children’s job is to make groups that are as big as the number on the card. It's a fin exercise with kindergarten children.

In the next two exercises, the stack of flash cards is given to children.

The person supervising the children divides them in pairs. Each pair gets a stack of number flash cards. One of the pair shows a number. The second one has to name an item that is in the right quantity in the room.

In the next exercise, each children gets one of the number flash cards.The person makes sure that there are repetitions. Then he or she makes them find every person with the same flash card, but they are not allowed to show the card to anybody.

If a teacher or a parent has also a stack of cards with pictures of things in different quantities, the children can play memo. They have to find the picture with the right number of things and the number together.

The teachers have to keep two things in his mind. In order to make children interested, they have to change the games or exercises after a while. But in order to get the most learning done, the activity would need to repeat in the future. So change it and then at later time, return to them.

Flash cards are a powerful teaching tool and the only limitation is the teachers' or parents' imagination.