How to DIY a flashcard game for your toddler

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I have a vivid memory from my earliest years of my Mum showing me flash cards and getting me to repeat the words. Strangely, for such an educational moment, I recall it being really quite fun. Here’s the thing - kids love learning, especially if it involves bright colours and their mum’s face.

I was inspired by that moment for today’s DIY. Recently I went in search of flashcards in all my favourite children’s stores, and not a single one had a set of flashcards that covered the sorts of words an 18 month old uses, with some pretty, colourful pictures and words. Have flashcards gone out of fashion? Perhaps! And if so, then I am definitely bringing them back in. I knew I had to make my own.

Why are flashcards so great?

While they might conjure up dreary visions of a teacher raising each card slowly and drawling the word in monotone, flashcards can open up a whole new range of games and activities with your child. As well as the classic say-the-word-and-they-repeat, you could try:

Sorting games. Encourage your child to sort the cards by type of object, shape, colour or, when they’re a bit older, by first letter or rhymes. Or, ask them to arrange them in order of size.

Hunting games. Pick a card and show them where that item is in the house (or eventually get them to show you!)

Reading. Cover the picture, get them to read the word, then reveal the picture. Note that for this reason it is a good idea to use a font that’s easy for a child to read.

Hopefully that also gives you an idea of the mileage in these - they’ll last through multiple development stages.

 
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flashcards last through multiple development stages

 

Aside from necessity, DIY’ing these also turns out to have a whole load of lovely benefits. You can make them as bespoke as you’d like to, perhaps by adding words that you know your little one will particularly love (for Clem that’s food!) or even words they are particularly struggling to learn. Another idea I had for the future is to put family members’ faces onto these, especially those we don’t see very often. If you’re a praying family you could even use these as prompts when you’re praying with your little ones.

How to make your own flashcards

Before we start, let me say that this isn’t an ad for Moo … I genuinely love what they do! Their printing is always high quality, their paper is lush and the cards will arrive in their own box made from recycled pulp. Cool.

  1. Start by creating your design in Canva, Illustrator or another graphic design app of your choice. If this is completely overwhelming, you could use my template here. I used a 65mm by 65mm area because I knew I wanted to use Moo’s square business cards.

  2. Add in your images and words. You can do as I did and buy a set of images (the ones I used are here) or if you’re clever you could create the images yourself! Another idea would be to take pictures of real things around your house.

  3. Get them printed. Like I said, I used Moo’s square business cards. This is because Moo has a special feature called Printfinity, where you can get up to 50 designs printed on the back of your set of business cards. That means I technically uploaded my 50 flashcard designs as the ‘backs’ and created a simple navy blue design for the ‘front’. I chose to have the corners rounded so they’d be a bit safer for tiny people.

And that’s it! Happy flashcard-ing!

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