Preparing printable flashcards is a simple DIY project. If I can do it, anybody can. This whole idea started when I was looking for store-bought flashcards for my son, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for at the time. This is when I decided to do the cards myself.
I like flashcards. They make it easy to provide small pieces of information in a memorable and interesting way. They are portable and versatile and you can use them in many fun and creative ways.
Do you want to make flashcards for your baby or toddler? I’ll show you step by step how to make a cute set of colorful flashcards. You can even personalize them by using your own photos.
How to use flashcards for babies and toddlers?
To get the best out of flashcards, follow the below 4 tips:
1. Start with a few cards
Start with 5-10 cards and slowly increase their number. If your child loses interest in the activity, it’s advisable to stop and continue another time. It’s better to have short and frequent sessions than long and rare ones.
2. Make sure your child is in a good mood
Don’t try to teach a tired and moody child; this will disappoint both of you. Choose a time when your child is fed, dry, well-rested, and in a good mood.
3. Get rid of distractions
Active babies can lose interest in any task after only a couple of minutes. That’s why, it’s important to make whatever limited time you can dedicate to this activity as focused as possible. This means removing toys and turning off the TV or radio and silencing your cell phone.
4. Support your child
Encourage and acknowledge your child’s efforts. He will take pride in his own accomplishment.
Have fun using printable flashcards
Flashcards are a fantastic tool. You can use them in fun and creative ways to encourage learning. Here are 5 ways:
1. Help at the grocery store
Prepare a couple of cards with pictures of the items you are planning to buy. Keep it simple and focus on items your child might be familiar with. Once there, show a card to your little helper and ask him to locate the item on the card. If he finds it hard to spot the item, give him a little hand.
2. Match objects with pictures on flashcards
Lay down a couple of cards on a flat surface after you prepare matching objects. Ask your child to match each object with the picture on the cards.
3. Find hidden flashcards
While your child is out of the room, hide the flashcards in various locations. Have him come into the room and look for the cards. As he finds each one, he must tell you what is the picture on the card.
4. Learn about animal sounds
Toss some animal flashcards onto the floor and challenge your child to find the animal that makes each sound.
5. Open mailed flashcards
Toss some flashcards in individual envelopes and pretend your child received those by mail. He will have fun opening each envelope and finding a card inside. Ask him to identify the picture on each flashcard.
How to make printable flashcards?
Making flashcards like the ones in the slideshow is pretty easy. Follow the below 5 steps:
1. Put a plan
Everything starts with a good plan. Do you have lots of flashcard ideas and wondering where to start? To help you narrow the choices down, try answering the below 3 questions:
- What is your child interested in? Animals, vehicles, food, everyday objects…?
- What new concepts do you want to introduce to your child? Alphabets, numbers, first words, colors, shapes, body parts, daily routine, emotions…?
- Do you have a specific learning objective? Start potty training, prepare for a flight, introduce sign language…?
Now that you’ve figured out what you want, put a list of the flashcards you want to design. It could be something like this:
- Flashcard 1: Picture of Apple + letter A
- Flashcard 2: Picture of Ball + letter B
- Flashcard 3: Picture of Car + letter C
- Flashcard 4: Picture of Duck + letter D
- Flashcard 5: Picture of Elephant + letter E
2. Choose pictures
I’m all about beautiful imagery, even for a DIY project for kids. Try to avoid low resolution, blurred, and out of focus images. And definitely skip images with copyright watermark.
If you decide to go for a general theme, there are lots of sites that offer fabulous and free images. I’ve rounded up 5 sites that I use frequently for images on my website and social media pages:
I used Pexels and Unsplash for the animal flashcards I included in this post. In my original set, I used animal pictures against a solid white background. Since my son is older now, I went for pictures of animals in their natural habitat mostly.
Also, you can always use the good old Google search. To avoid wasting your time, go to Settings, Advanced search, and then narrow down your results by making a few key selections.
For example, if I’m looking for a real image of an apple fruit and not the brand, this is what I would include in the advanced search:
- Find image with all these words: apple fruit
- Image size: large
- Aspect ratio: tall
- Type of image: photo
With all the options out there, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect images for your DIY printable flashcards.
Instead of choosing a general theme, why not personalize your flashcards? You can include pictures of your child’s pets, house, siblings, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, favorite toys, friends…
If you decide to use personal pictures, make sure they are high resolution and good quality. For example, take the pictures during day time so you can make the best of the natural light. If you want to make flashcards of the pictures of family members, ask them to send you the pictures via email instead of WhatsApp as the images are compressed on WhatsApp and become low resolution.
Once you have all your desired pictures, save them in one folder so you can use them later.
3. Design flashcards
I use Adobe spark for all my creative projects including my Instagram posts. And you know what’s the best part? It’s completely free. Of course, if you wish to remove the Adobe watermark and access the branded templates and themes, you have to pay for it. But again you don’t really need to do this for this DIY project. Of course, if you’ve got another software that you’re more comfortable with, then you can use that one instead.
So, let’s get you started on Adobe spark.
- Log on to Adobe spark. Click on Get started now.
- Choose how you wish to sign in/ sign up.
- On the left of the screen, click on the + sign to start a new project and then Custom size graphic.
- Change the width to 3.33 in and the height to 5 in. Click Next.
- On the left of the screen, click on Photos and then Upload photo. Select the desired photo from your saved folder and then click Open.
- The photo will be uploaded on your blank page. On the right of the screen, click on Crop & Shape and play around until you get the perfect image size. Leave white space below the image so you have room to add text.
- On the left of the screen, click on Text. You can either start from template or click on + Add your text. If you choose a template, double click on the text to edit it and then click Done.
- Click on the text. Adjust the font color. You can also experiment with different styles by clicking on Find a new style.
- If you want to add another text, follow the same process described above.
- Once you are satisfied with the final result and before you hit download, change the name of your post on the top left of the screen. Now, click on Download and select PNG. Click on Start download and then Solid color (PNG).
- Your flashcard is downloaded now and ready to be used.
The trick here is not to do this whole exercise again for the other flashcards, but to use the first template we created to make the other ones:
- Click on Project at the top left of the screen. You will see your post. Now click on the … sign and then click on Duplicate.
- Edit the name of your second post and then click Duplicate.
- Click on the edit sign to edit the new project.
- Now select the original image and click Replace. Follow the same process as described before.
Do this as many times as you need. Really, how fast is that? You are all set now! All your flashcards are ready.
4. Print flashcards
There are many ways to sort the flashcards and have them printed. If you have an easy way, go ahead. I like to use Microsoft Word for that purpose:
- Create a new Microsoft word document.
- Once the blank page opens, click on Layout, Margins, and then Custom Margins. Change the top and bottom margins to 0.3 and left and right to 0.5. Click Ok. We are doing this so we can fit 4 flashcards per page.
- Now open the first flashcard and right-click Copy. Go to the Microsoft word document and right-click Paste.
- Click on the image and then Picture Format. Adjust the height to 5 and the width to 3.3. You will see that the picture size will be reduced.
- Click again on the image and go to Picture Border. Select a border. We are doing this so we can easily cut the flashcards later.
- Repeat this exercise until you have all the flashcards copied on the Microsoft word document.
- Go to File and click Print.
5. Laminate or glue flashcards on cardstock
We’ve reached the final steps of our project. Now all you have to do is laminate the A4 pages of flashcards and then cut the flashcards individually. If you don’t have access to a laminator, no problem. You can glue the A4 pages on cardstocks and then cut the flashcards individually. I tried both ways and I prefer the first option because the laminated flashcards last longer.
If you want to, you can smooth the edges of each flashcard by cutting the edges in curves.
The final step is to store the flashcards in a box or a bag to keep them tidy in one place.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make flashcards for your baby or toddler! If you have any question or comment, or just want to say hi, leave a comment below or send me an email.
To make it easy for you, I included below:
- 24 animal flashcards with interactive questions
- 24 food flashcards with Arabic translation
You can download them for free. All you have to do is print the file and have the flashcards laminated or glued on cardstock.
Let the fun begin!