ESL Flashcard Games

Flashcards at Dawn

Age/Level: Young learners     Time: 10 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: Flashcards of the target vocabulary

Aim: To be the first student to say what's on a flashcard.

Introduction: This entertaining ESL flashcard game can be used to practice any vocabulary or language point.

Procedure

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.PDF

 

Grab it

Age/Level: Any     Time: 15 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: Flashcards of the target language or vocabulary

Aim: To review or practice target language.

Introduction: You can use this engaging flashcard game to review or practice a variety of language or vocabulary.

Procedure

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. Make sure that the students have a clear runway to the board.

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.

The first student to grab the correct flashcard and respond appropriately keeps the card for their team.

Then, 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.PDF

 

Mr Wolf

Age/Level: Elementary      Time: 10 minutes      Players: Individual     Preparation: Flashcards of the target language

Aim: To answer yes/no question about a flashcard.

Introduction: This version of Mr Wolf is ideal for practicing a variety of yes/no questions and short answers.

Procedure

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 classroom 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 (e.g. Yes, it is.), you chase the students and try to tag them out before they reach their wall. 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.PDF

 

Sumo

Age/Level: Elementary     Time: 15 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: Flashcards of the target vocabulary and some sticky tape

Aim: To match pictures to words.

Introduction: Here is a fun flashcard game to play with young students.

Procedure

Divide the students into two teams (A and B). Have the students form a large circle. 

Choose one student from each team to play first. The two players stand facing each other in the centre of the circle. 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.

Then, two new players enter the centre of the circle and the game continues with new flashcards.

Continue the game until all the students have had a chance to play. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Sumo.PDF

 

The Flashcard Exchange

Age/Level: Young learners     Time: 15 minutes     Players: Individual     Preparation: Flashcards based on a topic

Aim: To associate words with pictures.

Introduction: This enjoyable flashcard game can be used to teach vocabulary on a variety of topics.

Procedure

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 a 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 Flash Card Exchange.PDF

 

Tiddlywinks

Age/Level: Young learners     Time: 15 minutes     Players: Teams of 3     Preparation: Tiddlywinks, flashcards and prepared questions

Aim: To answer questions about flashcards.

Introduction: Here is an amusing flashcard game for young learners.

Procedure

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. Demonstrate how to move the tiddlywinks. Hold a tiddlywink between your forefinger and thumb and press down on the edge of the other tiddlywink. This propels the tiddlywink forward.

Player 1 from each team then lines up at the starting line with their tiddlywinks. 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 their tiddlywink on the flashcard gets to answer the question.

If the player answers the question correctly, they score a point for their team.

Then, the players 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.PDF

  

Whisper

Age/Level: Any     Time: 20 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: 2 sets of identical flashcards

Aim: To practice sentence structure and tenses.

Introduction: This ESL flashcard game is ideal for reviewing sentence structure and tenses.

Procedure

Put two sets of identical flashcards at the front of the class next to the board.

Divide the students into two teams. Have each team sit in a line facing the board. The first student in each line should be near the board next to a set of flashcards and the last student should be near the back of the class.

Go to the back of the class and whisper a 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, until the sentence has travelled all the way to the front.

The student at the front of each line 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 of each line then moves to the back and everyone else 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.PDF

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