Just this year my mom got a job as a teacher, and she's been having a great time educating her students. Like any teacher (or parent educating their children) my mom has been looking for different creative ways to have fun with the kids and learn at the same time. This instructable will share with you the bubble wrap flash card system I created to help children realize that learning can be fun! As a result, I found out that the same system can be used for a variety of subjects, so I hope you will find this instructable helpful! Using the fact that nearly everyone (kids as well as adults) love popping bubble wrap, I combined this enjoyment to their education! The learning objective I had in mind when creating this project was to help kids have fun and thus better retain the information they learn. Studies have proven that kids who are active in their education and are able to have fun at the same time, are able to learn better. Who wouldn't want to learn when you can pop bubble wrap? Following along with these instructions will allow you to make one of your own bubble wrap flash card systems, I hope you enjoy it!
Suggested Age: Really any! I think that kids that range from kindergarten to fourth grade would enjoy it the most.
Learning Objective: This idea would help kids not only have more fun while learning, but also would help them retain information.
Step 1: The Materials
To create this fun project, the first thing you need to do is gather up all the materials! I have a picture attached above of all the things you'll need. For the most part everything in this project you will likely just have lying around, and anything you don't have should be super cheap at any craft store.
- Paint (Any Color)
- Card-stock Paper (Any Colors)
- Wooden Picture Frame
- Clear Plastic Photo Frame
- Nails and Screws
- Coping Saw
- Paint brush
* Remember also to use safety glasses and other protection when doing wood work!
Step 2: Beginning the Frame
To start out we'll begin by picking out a frame. Honestly the frame you choose is totally up to you. As you can see above, I've got a variety of frames, and they certainly all would work. I chose to use the larger frame, just because I thought it looked nice, and a kid would love playing with it. This frame is a 4in by 6in frame. (Any other size will work, but some slight variations will need to be made on the following steps of this instructable.) This one was actually just an unfinished wooden frame I picked up at a craft store at some point, and then I painted it red. Once you've chosen your frame, mark a line where you'd like to make your cut. Draw out the cutting lines as shown above. After this just cut the frame into a horse-shoe like shape. Sand the edge smooth, and repaint the corners where you cut the frame. Now that you've got the general frame cut out, you can start adding on the clips!
Step 3: Adding Clips
When you put in the clips, you'll want to also take note of the width of your plastic photo case that we'll be talking about later on. The clip is used to hold the plastic photo case to the frame once the whole project is completed. Make a note of the height this frame comes up to, so you have an idea how far down the clips should go. I measured this out, and you can see a height of about a quarter of an inch worked best for my device. Draw out where you'd like the cut to be, and then using a chisel begin slowly forming the hole for the clip. The final hole should be roughly 2.5 inches long by a half inch wide so the two inch clip can easily rotate into the frame as shown. Continue to slowly chisel down this hole trying to keep the space as level as possible. In the end it shouldn't matter too much if you make a small mistake (after all kids like to focus on playing more than examining your work). Also be very careful to cut away from yourself when using the chisel. Once you have the hole the right size you can make sure the clip fits in well, and then mark a spot where you'll like to put the joint in. Drill a small hole for your screw in this place, and then screw down the clip. Don't screw it down too tight, because the goal of the clamp is to swivel snugly back and forth. If all of this goes correctly, your clips should be able to move in and out in working order!
Step 4: Making Clear Frame
Now that you've got the wooden frame pretty much good to go, its time to put together the plastic clear photo case. Since I used a 4x6 for the wooden frame, I got a 4x6 plastic photo case that is able to fit within the wooden frame. These can be bought at nearly all craft stores, and work really well for this project. The first step is to add the edging on the photo case. This edging helps later so you can easily slip the flashcards in and out of the frame. The edging pictured is just two small strips of red funky foam. Once you've got them cut the right size, glue them in with hot melt glue. Make sure to leave a small gap at the very bottom of the edging large enough for a nail to fit easily within the gap. After the edging is inserted, the next step is to add in the bubble template. This template helps to align the bubble wrap once you are ready to load the device (see video) and play! You can either just draw in the circles, or tape in a transparency with the circles printed on it. It might be easier for you to know where to place this template later on once you can look at your flashcards. By printing out one of the flashcards I attached at the end of this instructable you can see how the bubble template is to be aligned. You'll want to put the template in just the right spot so the bubbles match up with the flashcards perfectly!
Now that you've got the wood outer frame and the clear photo case, its time to put the two together.
Step 5: Attaching Clear Frame
Now its time to attach the frames together. On the plastic photo case you'll be able to see there is a small gap running along the bottom. Find nails that are the correct diameter so you can smoothly twist the plastic case around the nail. Two of these nails will be used as the hinge on your flashcard device. Placing the plastic photo case into the wooden photo frame should give you a pretty good idea where you'd like this hinge to be (See the pictures). Using a drill, make a hole and both sides exactly where this hinge will be able to rotate smoothly in this wooden frame. Also be sure to push the drill straight up and down. Be sure to take a moment to think over where you'll want to place the hinge, and how you want to drill it in. Now that you've got the holes drilled in, you can use a hammer to tap the nails into the holes. These nails don't need to be sharp (since the holes are already drilled) and it looks a little nicer if you round them out a little. Tap the nails in while you've got the plastic photo case put in it's slot. The nails should come straight down into the gap of the photo case on both sides. Once this is done you should have a really great working hinge for your flashcard device! Try out the clips we put in a little earlier, and make adjustments if you need to. You're getting close!
Step 6: Loading the Bubble Wrap!
Now that you've got the entire system put together, it's almost time to play! First find a piece of bubble wrap, Cut the bubble wrap so there are twenty bubbles situated like they are in the photo above. Once you've got the bubbles cut out, release the clips and fold back the plastic case on the hinge. Place the bubble wrap on this case so it matches up with the bubble template. Once this is done swivel up the plastic frame so the bubbles are then locked between the wooden and plastic frames. Slide down the clips, so you the playing can begin!
To actually play with this device all you've got to do is take the set of twenty flashcards (that you can create/print in the next step) and slip the first one into the opening of the plastic case on the top of the Bubble Wrap flashcard device. The flashcard will show the question on the very top of the card, and below that the child will be given a variety of choices to choose from. Each of these choices will match up with one of the bubbles we've attached between the frames. Once the question has been solved the child can pop the bubble that holds their answer. By flipping around the device the child can then check to see if he or she got the answer correct! By slipping that card out and putting a new card in, the game continues! Once an entire deck has been answered, the sheet of bubble wrap in the device will be completely used up. Then just un-clip the system, put in a new sheet of bubble wrap, and keep on playing! I've already had some kids play with these flashcards, and all of them loved getting to pop a bubble with each question they solved. To see more how to play the game, you can refer back to the video on the first step of this instructable.
Step 7: The Flashcards
The cool thing about this bubble wrap flashcard device is that it can be used for almost any topic! I've already created many math cards, Spanish cards, music cards, and even spelling cards. It works well for all ages, and is easy to use, durable, and super fun! I attached some templates, and feel free to use these or make your own flashcards. The size of these flashcards is 3.75" by 7" large, so you can easily fit two on one sheet of stiff paper. In the templates you'll notice that I left the question blank so you can add your own problems. Also don't forget to put the answer on the back of the cards! When creating a deck of twenty flashcards, make sure each answer corresponds to a different bubble. By doing this a child can pop one of the bubbles for each card, and then check their answer on the back of the device. By the end of the deck, all the bubbles will be popped, and you can switch out the bubble wrap for a new piece. It truly makes learning with a child of any age so much fun. Have fun!!!
Step 8: The End... Have Fun!!!
You've completed the creation of this Bubble Wrap flashcard system! It is certainly an amazingly fun thing to put together, and a ridiculously fun thing to help teach your child a variety of subjects. This one will be going with my mom to her preschool. The kids are going to love helping pop the bubbles when they solve the questions! I also wanted to thank you very much for reading through this instructable. It was really fun to make, and I hope you've enjoyed reading through it. If you have a kid, or know of someone who might like to learn on one of these flashcard devices, I encourage you to try it out! I hope you have a fun time with it! Thanks again for stopping by!
Have a great day!
Finalist in the
Hands-on Learning Contest