ESL Flashcard Games

Flashcards at Dawn

ESL Flashcard Game - Speaking Activity - Young Learners - 10 minutes

This entertaining ESL flashcard game can be used to practice any vocabulary or language point. Divide the class into two teams. One student from each team comes to the front of the class. Have the two students stand back to back and give each student a flashcard containing the target language. Each student holds their flashcard in front of them with the picture side facing away. Both students then take three steps away from each other before quickly turning around (similar to the pistols at dawn scenario). The two students then race to call out what's on the other student's flashcard. The first student to correctly call out what's on the flashcard scores a point for their team. Play until all the flashcards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Flashcards at Dawn Preview
Flashcards at Dawn
 

Grab it

ESL Flashcard Game - Listening, Matching and Speaking Activity - Any Level - 15 minutes

You can use this engaging flashcard game to review or practice a variety of language or vocabulary. Stick flashcards of the target language or vocabulary on the board. Divide the class into two teams. Have each team line up at the back of the room. For lower-level students, call out a word from one of the flashcards. One student from each team runs to the board. The two students then race to grab the corresponding flashcard and repeat the word. You could also call out a word and have the two students race to grab the opposite flashcard. For higher-level students, describe a word and have the two students race to find the flashcard being described. You could also ask a question and have the two students race to find the corresponding flashcard to answer. For all versions of the game, the first student to grab the correct flashcard and respond appropriately keeps the card for their team. Repeat the game with two more students and so on. The team with the most flashcards at the end of the game wins.
Grab it Review
Grab it
 

Mr Wolf

ESL Flashcard Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 10 minutes

This flashcard version of Mr Wolf is ideal for practicing a variety of yes/no questions and short answers. You are the wolf. You stand at one end of the classroom with a flashcard. The other students line up at the other end of the room next to the wall. Show the students your chosen flashcard, e.g. a flashcard of a car. Ask the students questions about the flashcard that would get a 'no' response, e.g. 'Is it a motorbike?' Every time the students answer no (e.g. No, it isn't.), they take one step forward. When the students are close to you, ask them a question about the flashcard that would get a 'yes' response, e.g. 'Is it a car?' When the students answer 'yes', you chase the students and try to tag them out before they reach the wall at the other end of the room. Whoever is tagged is out of the game. Repeat the game with a new flashcard and so on. The last student left in the game wins. You can also play the game with a strong student being Mr Wolf, or you can have the students who are out of the game become wolves and help you ask questions and chase students.
Mr Wolf Preview
Mr Wolf
 

Sumo

ESL Flashcard Game - Speaking Activity - Young Learners - 15 minutes

Here is a fun flashcard game to play with young learners. Divide the students into two teams. Have all the students form one large circle. Choose one student from each team to play first. The two players stand facing each other in the centre of the circle and take on the role of sumo wrestlers. Stick a flashcard to the back of each player. Tell the two players to place their hands behind their back. Then, have the two players perform a 'Sumo stomp'. When you say 'go', the two players move around and try to see what flashcard is on their opponent's back. The two students are not allowed to touch each other and they must keep their hands behind their back at all times. The students who form the circle must not help the players in any way. Award a point to the other team if this happens. The first player to call out what's on their opponent's flashcard scores a point for their team. Two new players then enter the centre of the circle and the game continues with new flashcards and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Sumo Preview
Sumo
 

The Flashcard Exchange

ESL Flashcard Game - Listening Activity - Young Learners - 15 minutes

This engaging flashcard game can be used to practice vocabulary on a variety of topics. Arrange the students' chairs in a circle (minus one chair). Ask the students to sit on a chair. The student without a chair stands in the middle of the circle. Give each student sitting in a chair a flashcard based on the same topic, e.g. sports. Call out two words based on the topic, e.g. football and tennis. The two students who have those flashcards must then swap places. The student in the middle has to try to sit in one of their seats while the two students are swapping places. If the student in the middle manages to sit in one of the chairs, the student left standing has to give their flashcard to the student who took their place. Then, call out two other words based on the topic and so on. The game continues until all the students have had each flashcard at least once.
The Flashcard Exchange Preview
The Flashcard Exchange
 

Tiddlywinks

ESL Flashcard Game - Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this amusing flashcard game, students answer questions about flashcards. Begin the game by marking a start line on the floor at one end of the classroom. Spread out flashcards face up at the other end of the room. Divide the students into teams of three (Player 1, 2 and 3). Give the first player in each team two tiddlywinks and have the players line up at the starting line. Ask the players a question based on one of the flashcards. The players then race to flip their tiddlywinks across the room and onto the correct flashcard. The first player to land a tiddlywink on the flashcard gets to answer the question. If the player answers the question correctly, they score a point for their team. If not, the game continues until the question is answered correctly. The players then swap and the game begins again from the start line with a new question. The game continues until all the questions have been answered. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Tiddlywinks Preview
Tiddlywinks
 

Whisper

ESL Flashcard Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

This ESL flashcard game is ideal for reviewing words, sentence structures or tenses. Divide the students into two teams. Have each team sit in a line facing the board. Put a set of identical word cards in front of each team next to the board. Whisper the same sentence to the student at the back of each line. The student at the back of each line whispers the sentence to the student in front of them. The next student then whispers the sentence to the student in front of them and so on, down the line to the student at the front. The student at the front then grabs the flashcards that make up the words in the sentence and puts them on the board. The first team to put up the correct sentence scores a point. The student at the front then moves to the back and everyone moves up one place. The game is then repeated with a new sentence and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. For young learners, use picture flashcards and whisper three or four words to the students at the back. The students then whisper the words in order. The first team to place the corresponding flashcards in order on the board scores a point.
Whisper Preview
Whisper
 
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