Free ESL Flashcard Games for Kids

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Using flashcards to teach English to children is an essential part of the ESL primary classroom. All kids benefit from learning English through flashcards and flashcards games, but it is not always easy to think up of new flashcard games for your kids ESL classes. 

Here are a few free ESL flashcard games for kids which your children will enjoy playing again and again in their English classes with you!

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Don't Sit on the Booby Chair!

An amazing simple and fun flashcard game, where students have to race to sit on any chair EXCEPT the chair where the correct flashcard is on!

To do this, the kids must identify correctly the flashcard the teacher calls and then make sure they do not sit on that chair!

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Flashcard Game: Angry Crab!

One of the best aspects of teaching small children for me is the chance to be a little kid myself from time to time by becoming a scary monster! Having never really grown up, this game is great for me and will suit fun teachers, who enjoy playing around with kids in lessons. In Angry Crab, you'll be a real sideways-walking angry crab with angry pincers snip-snapping away at the

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Flashcard Game: The Duel

Give one flashcard to one of the students and another
flashcard to the other student. Make sure that each student is
holding the flashcard at chest height and facing outward. Also
make sure that each student has not seen what the other
student is holding.

When you are ready, slowly start counting to five.
1.... 2.... 3.... 4..... 5........

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Flashcard Game: Brain Game

This is a clever little flashcard activity which requires your students to think and engage a little more. It can be adapted to fit multi-levels of ability and also varying ages, depending on the task the teachers sets.

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Flashcard Game: The Generation Game

Review all of the flashcards together as a class. Now give each student a flashcard and have them form a line. One student is seated as the main player. One by one, each student walks past the seated student holding out their flashcard for the seated player to look at and try to remember. Keep going until the line has gone. Now seat all the students and see how many flashcards the player remembers.

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Flashcard Game: Climb the Tree

This is a whole class activity which will give your kids some
excellent speaking practice. They will be asking and answering
questions with a goal to reach at the end. A quality ESL flashcard activity!

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Flashcard Game: Dragon Boat Race

Pre-teach and review your flashcards with the class as a whole until you feel that they are comfortable with the vocabulary. When you are ready, clear lots of space in your classroom and divide your class into teams of 3-4 kids.

Have each team sitting on the floor in a line as though they were sitting in a Dragon Boat! The closer they sit together as a team, the better!


Flashcard Game: Elimination

When you are ready, hold out a flashcard. Students either call out the word or raise their hand if they know the answer. Choose whoever was first to answer and if they get it right, they can sit down and are out.

Take a new flashcard and go again. The fastest to answer is out. Keep repeating this process until one team is all out and they are the winner.

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Flashcard Game: Welcome to the Danger Zone

Clear lots of space in your classroom and divide it into four zones, similar to the zones on this page.
On the floor in each zone, place two flashcards face up. The teacher stands to one side and faces the wall. The students now quietly go and stand in one of the zones. Each individual can choose any zone they like...


Flashcard Game: Volcano!

Review your flashcards with the class and then tell the class that the floor is lava and very, very hot! Bend down and touch the floor and pretend to burn your fingers to show your kids and to raise a laugh with them.

Tell your students that they need to get from one side of the room to the other, but must not touch the floor.

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Flashcard Game: Island Hopping

Review all of your flashcards with the class then divide them into two teams, or into three if you have over 12 students.
The aim of this activity is for students in each team to make their way, one by one, across the classroom towards the teacher, take and say a flashcard, then get back to their team. To do so, students must use two puzzle mats only, to slowly make their way over to you and back to their team again.

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Flashcard Game: The Balancing Act

This flashcard game works best with rigid flashcards which have been laminated.

The idea of this one is very simple. Divide your class into small groups of 3-­4 students. Each team chooses a member to stand at the other end of the classroom. This student must stand there perfectly still.

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Flashcard Game: Teacher is a Monster

Through your Teaching Assistant or helper, tell the class that you are thinking about a flashcard and they must guess what the flashcard is. For every guess, award a point or a sticker to the guesser.

When the class guess which card you are thinking about correctly, you become a monster and chase them back to their seats!

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Flashcard Game: Ready, Aim, Fire!

For the activity, you'll need flashcards or circular paper plates, paper cups and a toy gun with fire rubber sucker darts.

In a nutshell, your students will be aiming at flashcards or words you say with the gun and trying to hit them for points!

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Flashcard Game: Make a Copy

In a nutshell, your students need to stick flashcards on the board in the same order that you say them..

Arrange the class into two teams. Place two sets of identical flashcards at the front of the class next to the board. Draw a line on the board to separate the two teams.


Flashcard Game: Jigsaw

This flashcard activity is pretty unusual but should yield some good results and your students are going to like doing this a lot.

Make a copy of all of your flashcards you are currently teaching. Take your copies and cut each of them through the middle in a jagged pattern (rather than cutting them in half in a straight line). Don't cut each flashcard into many bits, just two halves.


Flashcard Game: STOP!

A good ESL flashcard game where kids need to memorise and recall words from 10-15 flashcards. The teacher then nominates a word and starts cycling through the flashcards every few seconds. The kids then yell ‘STOP!’ hen they see the flashcard the teacher has nominated. Keep going until all the flashcards have been covered.



A cool flashcard game, this will certainly be a big time favourite for your kids, which you can play often over the year. A high-energy game, with excellent repetition and review of key vocab for your English class. Make a loop of hula-hoops, with a different upturned flashcard in each. Your students will be racing around hula-hoops with flashcards in trying to reach the other team to steal students!