Flashcards are one of the most versatile and adaptable teaching resources out there. They work with all ages and levels of English learners and can be used in an endless number of ways. Teachers can use them for classroom management, to support understanding or scaffold a speaking task. They can introduce or revise vocabulary, structures and concepts. You are limited only by your creativity. Flashcards really are an essential item in your teacher toolkit!

Here are 16 suggestions of games and activities that you can do with flashcards.


This classic game is always a fun way to practice and memorize new words while developing attention, conentration and visual discrimination. Children love it!  Place 2 sets of flashcards face down and take turns flipping two of them to try and find a matching pair.

*Memory & concentration *Speaking * Visual discrimination


Virtually any card can be turned into a fishing game. Tape a big paper clip on the back of the card. Attach a string to any stick. On the end of the string attach a magnet. Separate the shape cards from the photo cards. Spread the photos on a table. They then draw a shape card from the remaining cards and “fish” for the card that matches the one they drew from the pile. To make it even more exciting, you can set a time for them to “catch” all of the cards.

*Motor skills *Speaking * Visual discrimination

Four corners

You’ll need at least three people for this game. Choose four shapes and put one card in each of the four corners of the room. One player counts to ten with their eyes closed while the other players choose one of the cards and stand next to it. The player who is counting says one of the four shapes (still with their eyes closed). The player who stood by that card wins a point. 

* Listening comprehension *Speaking *Motor skills

Target Shooting

Tape some cards (or all of them!) to the wall and they can play target shooting with a Nerf gun or any similar toy. They should say the name of the shape that is on the card they hit. Whenever they hit a card it should be taken off the wall.

*Motor skills *Speaking

Musical Chairs

Arrange chairs in a circle with the seats facing outwards.There should be one chair less than the number of children participating. Put one flashcard on the seat of each chair. Play the music and have the players walk around the perimeter of the chair circle.

When the music stops, everyone must immediately sit in a chair. The one person left has a chance of remaining in the game. They should have the other players, one by one, say the name of the shape or object on the flashcard they are sitting in. The first one to miss it, is out of the game. If no one misses it the student who was standing is out of the game.

*Motor skills *Speaking

Playdough fun

Make shapes out of playdough. It can be done on the flashcards or looking at them to copy the shapes.

*Motor skills * Visual discrimination *Creativity

Fly Swatter

Affix several flash cards to the wall. Divide the class into two teams. Give one student of each team a fly swatter and tell them to smack each card as you call it out. Whoever swats the correct card first wins a point.

*Listening * Visual discrimination

Jumping on one foot

Spread the photo cards on the floor and have the children jump on one foot. They should “rescue” as many cards as they can without putting the other foot on the floor. Whoever has more cards wins if they can name all the cards they have in their hands.

*Motor skills * Speaking



  • Claire Venables is a qualified English teacher who has been dedicated to ELT since 2001. After a decade in Spain, she moved to Brazil in 2011 where she has worked in the creation and implementation of bilingual programs in schools, the development of teacher development courses, as a national and international speaker, materials writer, active member of the National Association of Teachers of English (BRAZ-TESOL). Despite her wide-ranging experience, she is and always will be most passionate about teaching children.