Back in 2020, Joe Wicks' daughter Indie was just 1.5 years old and we saw that he was starting to teach her new words by reading books. We know that Flashcards are one of the best – easy and quick – resources for teaching vocab, so we sent Indie some of our Get Set Go Flashcards and Lots to Spot Flashcards... and they loved them!
Joe Wicks showed Indie recognising so many new words, just by using the Flashcards for 10 minutes every day.
Our tips for using Flashcards to teach new words
Let your child hold the flashcards
Young children get so much from the feel of things – everything is new to them so they have an instinct to physically explore their world. The thick card is perfect for little hands to grasp without difficulty or hurting themselves (and they won't tear). Plus the corners are rounded so injures are avoided, whether they are looking at the flashcards or having a taste!
Show each card one by one and name the object
Take your time and go through one card at a time, so as not to confuse your child. At a young age, try not to do too many in one sitting as it'll be information and stimulation overload. Take cues from your child's attention span. When they've had enough, move on to something else.
Don't be afraid of big words
Before I was a mother, I though it was crazy that big and complicated words were used for young children. But, to a child, it's just a word! And children are like sponges. By 2 years old, children know around 50 words and can use 2-3 word sentences. By 3 years old, this has leapt up to 200 words with short sentences. My son could say 'combine harvester' or 'excavator' perfectly, but 'cucumber' became 'cumbumber' – of course, in time it just corrected itself (sadly!).
Just a few minutes a day goes a long way
As busy parents, we are bouncing between cleaning and tidying the house, clothing and washing children, cooking for the family, managing a part-time or full-time job, managing children's basic changing needs throughout the day – need I go on? So it can be difficult to put thought into other areas. Please don't put pressure on yourself. Children learn no matter what. But if you would like to use Flashcards to teach new words, then just a few minutes on whichever day you have time is perfectly fine.
Use words you've learned away from the Flashcards
Reinforce learning throughout the day. When you're sitting eating breakfast, ask your child what the fruit they're eating is called. In the car, ask what another vehicle is called. When you're out for a walk, can they name a tree or flower? Away from the Flashcards, it may take a few tries before your child understands what they're being asked to do, but they'll soon pick it up.
Play remember remember
Repeat Flashcards that they know and ask if they remember seeing the tree or flower or dog when you last went on a walk. It's great to relate the Flashcards and their words to real-life experiences to really cement your toddler's knowledge and content of the new words.