DIY Flashcards

Flashcard FAQs

Recently, a few readers wrote to me with questions about practicing flashcards as well as making them. So, I decided to write up this post to answer everyone’s questions.

Purposes of flashcards:
Flashing the cards in a high speed activates our child’s right brain and empowers their memory ability. When we flash the picture cards, we read out the words at the same time. While the pictures are processed by the right brain, the left brain picks up the language. Both sides of the brain are connected during the process. In addition, flash cards can also increase our child’s vocabulary.

Topics for flashcards:
I focus on the basic concepts like colors, shapes, sizes, numbers, orders, time etc. Understanding these basic concepts is the most important milestone for a one year-old. In addition, I also make picture cards with the same theme such as types of flowers, occupations, food, fruits, Disney characters etc. For two year-old and above, we can add sentence structure flashcards too.

Guidelines for home practice:
I want to share with you some basic guidelines when we are practicing flashcards with our child.

  1. Do not repeat the same set of cards at a time.
  2. Start with 100 cards per session in the first month, then to an average of 250 cards per session, and then slowly move forward to 1000 cards per session.
  3. Have a title for each set of cards.
  4. Set the cards slightly higher than the child’s eye level.
  5. Keep each session short at about 15 minutes. Have at least one session per day.
  6. The ideal speed to flash a card is 0.5 second per card.
  7. At the end of the session, don’t forget to praise and hug our child.


Making our own flashcards:
I made lots of them. In fact, it’s very easy. Just need a little time and determination. These are the steps:

  1. Prepare the slides with Microsoft Powerpoint.
  2. Print the slides on A4 size paper using a color printer.
  3. Next, cut the pictures in accordance to the size of the blank flashcards. I am using A5 size blank flashcards.
  4. Paste the pictures onto the blank flashcards using a UHU stick. UHU stick does a better job than normal glue. No mess and no spillage.
  5. Finally, write the names of the cards at the back of the flash cards. This enables us to read out the names when we flash the cards.

I’m not sure if we can print the blank flashcards directly from our printer. I doubt our home printers can accommodate such thickness.

Where to buy white blank flashcards:

  1. Hiap Moh – cheapest of all, but higher MOQ
  2. Popular
  3. Shichida Tensai shop
  4. My Little Ones

Ideally, the card thickness should be between 310-350gsm. At least one side of the card is glossy. You can also buy protective sheets – a clear transparent plastic film to protect your flashcards from getting dirty. These protective sheets are usually reusable.

In addition to flashcards, I also read a variety of books with my son. Recently, we started watching educational DVDs over the weekend. I’m confident that my hard works and determination will pay off one day. I’m happy to see good progress in my son day by day.

If you are already practicing flashcards with your child, continue with the good work and do not give up! I wish all of you success!

Note: All information provided is to the best of my knowledge and personal experience.


Anita May 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Hi ! Loved your DIY flashcards ! I must say you’re doing a great job and I’m sure it’ll pay off well ! At what age did you introduce flashcards to your little one ? Any recommendation for educational DVD’s?

Emily May 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Hi Anita,
Thanks for your compliment!
I started practising flashcards with my son when he was 8 months old. I wrote about some of the educational DVDs in my blog. I introduced Leapfrog and BabyTV to my son and he loves them.

Jenny Ong July 19, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Hi Emily,

May i know normally where do you get those pictures for the flash cards?

Emily July 20, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Hi Jenny,
I get the pictures from the internet and also Microsoft Office clip-arts.

Lynda Low September 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Hi Emily,

I am an avid reader of your blog and I would like to comment that i love your flashcards very much. Thank you so much for sharing these as well as other parenting info with us. My son, HY (18mths) also attended the shichida classes for around 3 terms only but we decided to pull him out as his little brother will be due in another 9 weeks. He had just attended his last lesson last sunday. Because of my condition and also as i am a FTWM, i find it a challenge to make my own flashcards.
I hope after we are more settled with baby #2, i could also make my own flashcards and share with you. 🙂
Thank you once again!

Emily September 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Hi Lynda,
You’re welcome. Glad that you like the materials. 🙂

Prema December 16, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Hi Emily,
A great great job on the flashcards.U r such a sweet and caring mum. 🙂 Can u pls advise me on the way u use the flashcards with Edison? When u have a new topic, for eg, food, will u flash all the pictures and read out the words in 0.5 s/card speed? Then afterwhich you stop and explain each card in detail? Is it suppose to make him familiar with the pictures or how the spelling of the particular food is? If we keep showing them the pictures only, it’s only left brain training right? So for the right brain training, we r supposed to flash the words and afterwhich teach them the words one by one? I’m really confused as you can see. Pls help me with this ya? Thanks 🙂

Emily December 21, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Hi Prema,
I only flash the cards and read out the words. I do not explain the cards in details. The purpose of flash cards is to develop photographic memory and ability to process information at fast speed. It is NOT about learning the cards in details or get familiar with words, spelling etc. By showing the pictures only, we are training them to develop their right-brain ability – image-based. Hope this answers your question.

Prema December 23, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Thanks Emily, will take note of what you have said 🙂

Mab July 30, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Hi dear,

I’m doing all my flashcards like what u did but I have difficulty doing some of the topics like size, quantity, space recognition, comparison, order. Do u have sample for any of the topics? Care to share how you did them?

I understand from the shichida handbook that the concept of sizes are eg big & small. But what picture will you show on the flashcard? An Elephant for “Big” & An ant for “small” ? or will u put picture of Elephant & ant together ?

And for Space recognition ~ Do u just show the words? or with pictures?

million thanks. 🙂

Emily August 2, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Hi Mab,
Sorry for my late response. For space recognition, you can use pictures like Elephant to denote “Big” and Ant to denote “Small” in separate cards. I bought some flash cards from Shichida and they’re showing the same method too. Thus, I didn’t make my own.

What do you mean by Space Recognition? Is it under, above, inside, outside etc? If so, you can just show a picture of a cat under the table to denote “under” etc… Hope this helps.


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