When Noah was about eight months old, I started looking for more activities to engage him. I read to him at least once a day, and there was plenty of free play, mixed with some tummy time. Many of my friends told me that they use flash cards to stimulate their children, and some started even before the child could even sit up. Scary!
I saw some really expensive flash cards being sold online and at baby fairs, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend so much on them. There are also plenty of websites with free-to-download materials, which you can turn into flash cards, but I thought it was way too much of a hassle. I did buy a laminator, thinking that I would make my own flash cards, but erm, it’s still sitting in its original packaging, because I just haven’t had the time to do more thorough research to determine which website had the best materials.
When I spotted the WINK to LEARN flash cards in a shop, I initially assumed that it was one of those really expensive flash card sets. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were quite affordable, and could be bought as individual packs, or as bundles. This allows parents to try out a set on its own, to see if their children take well to them, before getting more. It does make more economic sense if you purchase the Super Saver Bundles, but I like having the option of just getting one set first, instead of having to fork out hundreds of dollars at a go.
We started off with the English Flash Cards (Beginner 1), which has four topics: My Body, Animals, Fruits, and Actions. Each set consists of 40 A5-sized flash cards, specially designed for effective flashing. I think it is better for children to match the words to real life images, rather than drawings, so this is something that I always look out for when I check out flash cards. I was glad to see that the WINK to LEARN series uses real life images, and I particularly like the adorable little girl in the Actions and My Body pictures.
WINK to LEARN English Flash Cards Beginner 1
At first, I didn’t know how to start using the flash cards, and had to consult the instructions and videos available on the website to learn the correct technique. I tried using the free finger cover given, as it is meant to be for high-speed flashing, but somehow, I couldn’t get it right. I ended up going without the finger cover, and the cards are sturdy enough for me to manage without it. I do have problems separating the cards at times, and that slows me down, but I don’t think Noah is bothered by it. The cards are all numbered according to the categories, which is very helpful for people like me, who can erm, drop the cards in a huge messy pile at times. The different round edges on the cards also aid in organisation. Personally, I divide the cards into two piles, and work on them separately with Noah, according to the themes.
Close-up of the round edges and cue words
The words on the cards are large and brightly coloured, suitable for capturing a child’s attention. What I found interesting was that words with more than one syllable were colour-coded, such that each syllable was in a different colour, which supposedly enables faster word memory. You can see from the picture below that the word ‘rabbit’ is in two different colours, as compared to the word ‘cat’.
One minor issue that I have with these cards is that it doesn’t distinguish between the singular and plural forms of the nouns. For example, in the picture below, the little girl is holding up both her hands, but the corresponding flash card says, ‘hand’ instead of ‘hands’.
So far, I’m pretty happy with the flash cards, as it gives me something to do with Noah during the day, and he seems to enjoy looking at them too. It is too early to tell if it has any impact on him, but I think it helps him to learn how to sit still and focus on something for a period of time. I am a firm believer that language is not something that can be picked up overnight, and as a teacher, I know the importance of getting the basics right, which is why I’ve started using these flash cards. To be honest, I don’t use them diligently daily, but I do try to have short flash card sessions with Noah on weekdays, whenever possible. He knows that I keep the flash cards in a green pouch, and gets pretty excited when he sees me holding that pouch, so I think he likes these short flash card sessions.
No, Noah, that’s not what flash cards are for, even if it DOES say ‘raspberry’ on it.
Here are two videos of Noah enjoying the Fruits and Actions flash cards.
WINK to LEARN (Fruits)
WINK to LEARN (Actions)
WINK to LEARN has a whole variety of flash cards in European and Asian languages, so they’ll come in pretty handy if you want to start your child on a new language. I plan to check out the Mandarin flash cards soon, and hopefully, Noah will enjoy them as much as he enjoys the English ones.
SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR READERS OF GROWINGWITHTHETANS!
Enter ‘GWTT15OFF’ as your coupon code to get a 15% discount off any WINK to LEARN product from The Groovy Giraffe.
Disclosure: I received the WINK to LEARN English Flash Cards Beginner 1 for this review. All opinions are my own.