Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making and Using Nomenclature Cards with Toddlers

Nomenclature cards are used in Montessori to introduce new vocabulary words, and I've found that there are many different ways to use them! Using the laminator I received for Christmas, as well as Google images, I was able to easily make my own. Having real-life fruits and vegetables would be even better for the 3-period naming lesson. When Ty is older, the idea will be to cut the words off of the bottom of one of each card set, and let him match the word to the card, then self-correcting by looking at the control (the card without the word cut).

First, I found beautiful photos on Google images of fruits and vegetables. I decided to use photos with white backgrounds so that Ty would be able to focus on the image without a lot of distraction. I then cropped the photos and sent them off to be printed, two copies of each fruit or vegetable.

Next, I typed and printed the name of each fruit, twice.

Cutting and placing the name of each underneath the photo, I then laminated and cut the cards. I can't tell you how much I love my laminator!

The finished result. I was very pleased!

Introducing new vocabulary. First, I named each card for Tyler several times, one at a time, looking into his eyes, being sure he was focused. Then I lay them down and asked, for example "Will you please show me the apple?". If the child shows you an incorrect card, you simply go back to the first step of naming each individual card rather than correcting.

"Please show me the strawberry"

"Please show me banana"

Later, I introduced a simple matching game, four cards face down. He wasn't fully interested in learning this game, so we'll try again another time. 

The next day, I introduced Tyler to a matching activity. First, I named each card again. Then, I placed one set of three cards on the rug in a line, and demonstrated how to take one card at a time from the other set and match them to the cards on the rug. He did well with his favorite, the banana, then ran off to play with something else

Tyler has been on amoxicillin for an ear infection, and he is sensitive to the adrenaline in it. This has made him quite hyper (staying up, wide-eyed well past 10 p.m. kind of hyper), so I wasn't surprised that he ran off, but I could tell he enjoyed the activity. Confident that he understood what to do, I left it out for him in case he decided to return. A while later, I caught him looking closely at the cards.

Once he spotted me spying on him he wanted me to join in, so I assisted by handing him one card at a time, naming it, and asking him to find the match. Sitting down wasn't going to happen, which was fine. He did an excellent job and truly had fun with the work.

Today, I will introduce new cards and try again...that is if he makes up for the nine hours of sleep (eek) he got last night with a very long afternoon nap. Otherwise I think we'll be spending a lot of time reading and snuggling!

Here's a link to the laminator I received for Christmas. You can't go wrong for less than $30! I can't imagine what kind of money I'll save making many materials on my own:


  1. Hi! I love your cards! I was wondering, what size are your cards? And how did you have them printed, at a photo place on photo paper or a Kinko's type place on regular paper? Thanks! Elise

  2. Thanks! Ty loves them too! They are 4x6 standard print and I had them printed at Walmart as regular photos then laminated them. You're making me think about checking out options at Kinko's now though!

  3. when can I introduce this cards to mi child? what age?

  4. Use the 3-period lesson:
    1. Lay out a few cards (3-4) and name the object on each one.
    2. Ask them to show you. "Can you show me the apple?", "Can you hold the pear?"
    3. Point to a random one and ask "What is this?" and at that point they should be able to tell you the vocabulary word. If they cannot, go back to an earlier step or try at another time.