I talked a bit before about how my kids hate flash cards. Usually, what could have been a quick 10 minute practice session often turned into moans and groans and even tears. It was a bummer. I loved the challenge of flash cards as a kid. But clearly, I had to find another way for my kids to practice their facts.
Instead of turning to an app on the computer, I tried to find other ways to use the flash cards we already had. Flash cards are quick, easy, and readily available. I just could not get rid of them…or give up on ’em. And I am glad I didn’t because now we use them in all sorts of ways. Here are a few, fun ideas for you to try.
Sort ’em into categories
Having kids sort flashcards into different categories is a great introduction to learning their facts. It takes the pressure off knowing the correct answer immediately and gets them thinking in general terms, first. This activity is great for developing number sense–kids will have to think past the answer and decide into which category the cards must be placed. Beginners can start with 5 to 10 cards to sort. Slowly work your way up to the entire deck of flashcards.
For addition and subtraction flash cards, you may start with the categories of less than 10, 10, and greater than 10. Or single digit sum, double digit sum(these categories also review great vocabulary!) Multiplication categories can have a range of 10 or 20 ( 0 thru 10, 11 thru 20, 21 thru 30, etc) Division categories can be similar to the ones you use for addition.
Order ’em from least to greatest
Give your child 3 to 5 flash cards to start. Have them place the cards in order from least to greatest according to their answer. As things get easier, you can keep handing them 1 card and have them place the card in the appropriate spot on their growing number line. This one is great because they are mentally doing each problem every time they have to place a new card. And again, it takes the pressure off knowing each answer right away.
Both of these ideas are great because they be modified to meet your child’s needs. When they have finished sorting or ordering you can look over the cards and talk about them a bit. “Now what is 3 plus 6? Yes, 9. That is why it is in the less than 10 category” “Hmmm. I see 6 plus 5 in the less than 10 category, where should I move it? You do not have to go thru all the piles, but it is good for them to hear your inner math dialogue out loud and hear the vocabulary used, as well.
Good Luck and let me know how it goes!! 10 minutes a day or even every other day will help build your child’s number sense and knowledge of their math facts. I’d love to hear about any other modifications you make.