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Top 5 Flashcard ESL Games

Updated on August 5, 2015

Fun and Interesting ESL Flashcard Activities for All Ages

Flashcards are an essential tool in English as a Second Language classes, especially for younger children, but they can be used for teenagers, or even adults as well. They are perfect for making your classes interesting, fun and exciting for learners and are especially helpful with vocabulary or grammar acquisition. In addition, then are the perfect thing for when you want to do a "stirrer" activity and get your learners out of their seats, to gain back some energy after a period of quiet, book work or study. Here are my Top 5 Flashcard Games, guaranteed to make your classes a success and lesson planning easy.

Maybe you're wondering about where you can get flashcards? Most children's ESL Textbooks come with a set of cards that are laminated and this is the easiest thing to do since the vocab will the same as what you're studying. Or, you can buy ready-made sets easily off the Internet for things like animals, colors, numbers, weather, etc. And these days, it's really easy to even make your own if you have access to a color printer and laminator.


#1: Concentration Game

This is the perfect game if you have flashcards without words on them, but pictures only. Then, make up some flashcards with the words only. Put them face down and go around the class having students choose 2 cards. If the pictures matches the words, the students get the two cards. If not a match, put them facedown again and then the next student goes.

You can make your own very easily on the computer, using Google Image Search, or you can find plenty of ready-made ones as well.

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#2: Make Sentences Using Flashcards

You can use this for whatever grammar and vocab points you're studying. Go around the room asking each student, or a team of 2 a question. Pull a flashcard from your pile and then the student has to make a sentence using the grammar point with that card. A correct sentence gets the card, not correct, and the card goes back at the bottom of the pile. The winner is the person or the team with the most points.


#3: In Front Of/ Behind/ Between

Place some flashcards on your board ledge, or leaning against the wall at the front of the room. I like to use 3 sets of 3. Place them so that the students can't see the pictures, but show them which flashcards are which before you do this. Place them so that there is one card in front, one in between and one behind. Then, ask some questions such as, "What's in front of the elephant?" or "What's in-between the Giraffe and the Gorilla?" The students that can answer the questions correctly get a point.

Using Flashcards to Learn English


#4: Where's the _______?

Place around 10-15 English flashcards around the room. Announce what each one is before you place them face-down so the picture is not obvious. Then, have the students stand-up and you say, "Find the ________." The first student to get the card gets one point. Keep playing until one student has a certain number of points, 3 or 5, depending on the class size.


#5: Explain the Flashcard

Divide the class up into 2 teams. Have a "captain" from Team 1 come up to the front of the class, facing his or her team. The teacher stands behind the captain with a stack of cards. Then, the teacher holds up one card at a time so that the captain can't see them. The Captain's teammates describe the card to the captain until they can guess. Make each round 2 or 3 minutes and the students try to get the maximum amount of points. Then, the next team goes. You can have more than 1 round and change "Captains" each time.


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