Hannah Dumais M.S, CCC-SLP | January 15, 2024 | Speech Therapy

Are Flashcards Outdated?

Flashcards have been a classic tool for building children’s vocabulary but did you know that this teaches children memorization rather than functional communication? We want children to be motivated and engaged in language. Flashcards are fun to look at a few times but end up getting tossed to the back of a shelf because your child thinks it's “boring”. When flashcards are used correctly, they can be a great on-the-go tool that strengthens your little one’s language skills. Try one of these activities next time you pull out the deck!

  1. Object Matching

    Is your child learning how to label objects? Work on object matching! You can do this by using two decks of the same cards and presenting one picture to your child. They can scan through a few choices from the second deck and find the match! Name the picture for your child to expose them to new words. You can also do this by using household objects. Not all hats, dogs, and cars look the same. Have your child look at the picture on the card and find the object on the flashcard in the house (i.e. show a picture of a hat on the flashcard and find a hat in your house.) This promotes the generalization of language and teaches your child to use vocabulary in several contexts!

  2. Scavenger Hunt

    Take your stack of flashcards outside and go on a walk around your community. Find the objects on your flashcards while going on a walk!  This will not only provide more experience with object matching but give you opportunities to put these vocabulary words into simple sentences (i.e. “I see a car”) if your child is beginning to chunk words into phrases.

  3. Describing

    Look at the pictures and talk about the way that object might feel, smell, look, and taste. Is it bumpy or smooth? Is it sweet or sour? What color is it? If your child is naming common objects, this is a great way to build adjectives into their vocabulary. You can then ask your child to look for another object that fits the same description. (i.e. “This apple is crunchy. Find something else that is crunchy!”)

  4. Hide-n-seek

    Hide the cards around your house and/or backyard and play hide-n-seek to find them all. This can be addressed at several levels of complexity

    1. Find the picture and name it (i.e. “ball”)

    2. Find the picture and put it in a simple sentence (i.e. “I found ball”)

    3. Find the picture and talk about where it was hiding (i.e. “Ball was under the table”)

As parents, we strive to make every learning moment memorable and effective for our children. From object matching to scavenger hunts, describing details, and the thrill of hide-n-seek, these activities not only make language acquisition fun but also foster generalization and deeper understanding. So, let's redefine the way we utilize flashcards – not just as a tool but as a gateway to a world where language becomes an exciting journey for our little learners.

Helping your family build skills for life is our priority. If you are looking for personalized tools to build your child’s vocabulary and communication skills, schedule an evaluation with one of our expert speech and language pathologists. They will provide you with creative games and activities that will engage your child while strengthening their speech and language skills!