Arithmetic Teaching Apparatus
Flash Cards

A picture of the Arithmetic School, a toy by Playskool.

Instructive playing cards were made in England from the early 1700s. Card playing was frowned upon in most Victorian schoolrooms, but special instructive cards found a place in some schools. By the twentieth century, flash cards were used to relieve the monotony of drill in arithmetic. Sometimes, they were carefully graduated to accommodate the increasing skills of children. In the 1960s, advocates of educational reform encouraged students to think more abstractly, reworking the presentation used in flash cards to meet the standards of the “New Math” of that era.