The kids have gone back to school. The lunches are packed, first day photos have been posted and moms everywhere let out a sigh of relief as they no longer need to plan activities to occupy their children’s days.
I have a few years before I will need to start back to school planning, but I thought this would be a wonderful time to start a learning routine of our own. Now at 7 months old I know that my little guy is learning and growing every day. In fact, studies show that 60% of all the energy that an infant will expend is concentrated in brain development. This means that if a baby’s body grew at the same rate as their brain, then by one month of age they would weigh 170 pounds. Yikes!
With this information, I thought it was a good time to start using flash cards to help my baby’s brain development. These flash cards are similar to the flash cards that I remember using when I was learning to read. However, starting when your baby is between 6-9 months old greatly improves the chances of having an early reader. This makes sense since children’s brains have formed 1000 trillion connections between neurons by the age of 3.
So pull out your ruler, glue stick, and scissors (assuming you could find any along the barren school supply aisles) because it’s time to get a little crafty.
You will need:
- Cardstock – I used 140 lb. weight
- Glue stick
- Self-adhesive laminate sheets (optional) I found them at target for under $7 a pack and needed two packs.
- Printable ABC’s – click here and here.
Now the easiest way to create these cards would be to print the images directly onto the cardstock. I found that my printer would not take the thicker cardstock that I used. I simply printed the ABC’s on printer paper and cut them out. Then I glued them onto the cards.
1. Cut out your cards.
Measure your cardstock (or eyeball if you like to live dangerously) and draw lines where you will cut out your cards. Cut the cards out.
Glue the ABC’s to the card stock. Letters on the front of the card and pictures on the back.
3. Round the corners
Optional: round the corners and laminate the cards, then cut the cards out of the laminate sheets. I used a bottle cap to trace half circles to round the corners. I didn’t do this at first but after realizing that my 7-month old wants to eat everything I went back to the craft table.
4. Admire your work
This is a pretty simple DIY as long as you don’t get frustrated with the laminating sheets. Follow the directs for your sheets carefully and work with half of the sheet at a time, pulling the backing apart slowly.
When it’s time to learn, Bronson and I sit on the floor with the cards, a few books and toys. We aim for a 30-minute lesson depending on his attention span that day. As I flip through the cards I start with the letter side first and pronounce the letter and word slowly a few times. Then, I flip the card over to show him the picture side and pronounce the word again.
We have been practicing baby sign language so as I show the picture side, I also do the sign for that word. I keep my phone close by in case I need to look up a sign that I haven’t memorized yet. After we are done with each card I hand the card to him so that he can explore it. Once we have finished with all of the cards I scatter the deck so that he can play with them. I also say and sign any card he picks up.
Do you have any fun games for teaching your little one? Have you ever tried baby sign language? Comment below and tell me about your experience or ideas.