Visual learning and repetitive practice has been proven to be one of the best ways to help kids comprehend the basics of numbers and simple mathematical processes. For years, simple flash cards have been used to help teach addition and subtraction, and through their use many youngsters have also learned to recognize numbers and even to count.
Although flash cards may be purchased in a number of stores, they can also easily be made at home for very little cost. Unlined index cards, found wherever office supplies are sold, are perfect for such a project. In some stores, these cards are available in a variety of colors, as well as white. The flash cards can be as simply made as writing numbers and drawing stick figures, or be decked out in an ornate manner. Other supplies needed for the artistic activity will vary according to personal taste. They might include colored markers, crayons, glitter, stickers, construction paper and glue.
There are practically unlimited options for decorating and personalizing the cards. They can be geared toward the individual child’s interests and adorned with designs of their choice. Some children might enjoy decorating their own flash cards. The object is to pique their interest, and make working with them seem more like playing a game than learning.
Flash cards for very young children should have a large numeral on one side. This can either be drawn on the paper with a colored marker or crayon, or a sticker may be used. On the other side of the card, there should be an example of how many, such as two stars on the back of the numeral “2” or ten apples on the back of the “10” card. Again, the designs can be drawn, cut out of construction paper, or stickers may be used, but the more colorful and eye-catching, the more fun it will be for the young student to learn. Get creative!
Once the basics are mastered and the student begins to learn arithmetic, new sets of flash cards can be made that will help reinforce the young mathematician’s budding skills. Whether for addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, homemade flash cards can be useful tools. One side of the card should depict an equation, such as “2+2”, while the other side would display the answer. Pictures or borders may be added, to make learning more fun, again adapting the design to a theme that will appeal to the child.