Learning With Football Cards


I'm not entirely sure how my boys ended up collecting AFL football cards.  I think my husband had something to do with it. Surprisingly it has proven a valuable (albeit expensive) learning opportunity.

So, here is our experience with football cards and how we've used them.

Football cards as motivation & reward

In order to receive a packet of cards my boys had to earn them. This was either through extra challenging chores around the home or by displaying consistent good behavior in a particular area. Because the boys were really excited about their collections it wasn't hard to motivate them to work hard to receive their reward! Of course these tasks were additional to their normal chores and household responsibilities.


Football cards for organisation

Any type of card collection is good for teaching organisation. The cards can be grouped into categories, teams, themes, type of cards and organised and re-organised in different ways. I can't count how many times I've watched my boys work together to take them all out of the folder and put them back in a different way e.g favourite players. They even attempted to put them in alphabetical order but with 200 or so cards they gave up pretty quickly!

Football cards for maths

The cards have numbers and are ordered from 1 to 200 or so. There are 9 spaces for cards per plastic slip in rows of threes. Both boys have learnt how to count in 3's! They also learnt number ordering and sequencing by finding the correct spot for each card e.g 63 is between 62 and 65.

Below is a picture of how they divided the cards up into equal amounts for each of their 'friends'.

Football cards for socialising

My boys have used these cards for developing their skills of negotiation through trading with each other and friends who collect these cards. They have also been a great source of discussion.

Unexpected learning opportunities....

DS4 LOVES youtube and decided to look up football cards. He discovered loads of videos of other children proudly displaying and describing their cards. He decided he wanted to create a video (or a dozen) of himself talking about his own footy cards. He used the ipad so could set it all up himself. After filming, he showed me his work and boy, was it cute.

The boys have also taken an interest in playing football themselves so we might consider auskick for next season when both boys can attend together. My husband has been teaching them how to kick a football and some basic skills which has resulted in some extra father son time also.

And the downside....

My boys developed skills of negotiation but sadly, also developed skills in manipulation. I had to intervene on many occasions when DS6 took advantage of DS4's goodwill. In the end, the bickering got a bit much so we took away one folder and made them share a collection. This way they had to work together to achieve their outcome - the entire set. 

AFL football cards have provided an unexpected learning opportunity which has been so successful we may even do again next year!

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