I know flashcards are not most people's favorite teaching tool. They aren't exactly hands-on or creative or allow for much imaginary play. But I had great success with them when Sam was a baby in getting her to become a great talker early and now that Avery is needing to talk I am using them again a bit with her.
However, I still have to keep Sam entertained at the same time. This poses a problem, one that I am sure other moms have faced as well.
Today while I was doing some basic animal flash cards with Avery, I started asking Sam some questions about the animals;
- which ones live in a forest?
- which ones live in the ocean?
- which ones can fly?
And then she had to group the cards, after I had shown them to Avery, according to the questions I was asking. Both girls sat, attentive, learning and focused! Woohoo. For about five minutes!! HA!
So, I got out another set of flashcards.
Not sure where these came from but they are neat because they have a wide variety of animals, have catagory labels on the bottom and are color coded. Yellow - fish, red - bird, blue - mammal, green - insect, brown - reptile, and blue - amphibians. Sam is just starting to learn what these titles mean so the color coding really helped her. But again I showed the cards to Avery first and then handed them to Sam to put into catagories. Had fun with these and both girls were focused and learning. For maybe seven minutes!
Finally, I took a combination of the two sets of cards, pulling out only the cards that matched animals I knew we had in our plastic/wood animal sets in the playroom. Once I showed the card to Avery and said the name I would then hand the card to Sam and tell her to go find the animal. She LOVED this part. She would run out of the room and come back with the matching animal. Sometimes it took her a little longer but then I would get a few more minutes to work on other cards with Avery. This was probably the favorite use of the flashcards today. A great way to keep both girls active, engaged and learning somewhat together.
The best part of today's activities? We were working on this before and after lunch today. When we got in the car after nap to head to do some shopping (about 20 minutes away) Sam spent the whole 20 minutes wanting to talk about animals. She was asking me questions about where different animals lived, who lived together and whether they were a bird, fish or mammal (she doesn't get reptile or amphibian at all!). The fact that she remembered what we had worked on, wanted to talk more about it and was asking questions makes me believe that the little games we played were working!
The Nitty Gritty!
The third activity worked the best, I think, because it had a physical element to it and, to her, felt more like a game or scavenger hunt. We have done a lot with scavenger hunts so she is use to that concept which may also have helped to make it a success. So fun to have found a way to work with both girls using the same tools but in very different ways.
So, since I mentioned that we have done a lot with scavenger hunts I thought I would share what we have done before -
- Window Bingo - spice up a cold or rainy day with a great indoor activity that still involves the outdoors.
- Phonics Scavenger Hunt - incorporating letters and reading into a scavenger hunt
- Flower Hunt - a version of the 3D scavenger hunt using backyard flowers
- Icicle Hunt - a great winter activity that can help entertain kids out in the cold and help them learn to look at all the little details.
- Where Does This Come From? - a great scavenger hunt for matching seeds, leaves, berries, etc. to the plants that they come from.
- Picture Book Come to Life - a scavenger hunt based on the things a child finds in a book.
- Color Hunt - a scavenger hunt based on finding different colors in nature.
- Reuse it Letter Hunt - finding letters in magazines to learn and match letters.
For more ideas check out the page on the sidebar. I would love to hear other ideas or feedback on any of these.
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