Winning Kindergarten Flashcard Games 900.jpg

Winning kindergarten flashcard games and how to get the most out of your flashcards

Teaching English in kindergarten is the big thing at the moment and more and more kindergartens are opening up ESL programs for the kids or are implementing a bilingual curriculum. This means that many ESL teachers are now making the switch to teaching English in kindergartens to the little ones.

Because the kids are so very young, you’ll need to approach teaching English to kindergartners a little bit differently than for slightly older kids. One way of teaching kindergarten children is by using really nice, colourful and laminated flashcards. It is especially important to laminate your flashcards for kindergarten, because many of the best flashcard games for kindergarten involve the children hopping on flashcards, jumping, running and touching the flashcards, passing them around the circle, etc. If you don’t laminate your flashcards for kindergarten, then they will quickly get damaged and dirty, so you’ll need to make them all again. Laminating your flashcards will keep your flashcards in perfect condition, so you can play ESL flashcard games for kindergarten using the same sets for many years to come.

Keeping your flashcards for kindergarten organised

There is nothing worse than ten minutes before you walk into class, going to grab your cards so you can play flashcard games in kindergarten and having some flashcards missing or damaged. Maybe you’re teaching ‘weather’ that day, or ‘emotions’, but some of your main flashcards are missing and it’s too late to print more flashcards or change your lesson plan. We’ve all been in that situation as English teachers, but it can be avoided with better preparation from you.

Get into the habit of checking all of your sets of flashcards for kindergarten and filing them properly. Make a list of English topics which you’ll be teaching in your kindergarten over the whole year and check which flashcard sets you have and which sets you don’t have. Over a number of days or weeks, slowly start printing the flashcards you need to play your kindergarten flashcard games. Remember to make your flashcards for kindergartners bright, colourful and clear. Laminate all of your flashcards so they last for many years, even after maybe you’ve left for a different job or to teach in another country. Take charge of the flashcards for your kindergarten project. Impress your peers and management and leave your legacy in the kindergarten.

Go through all of the flashcard sets for kindergarten you have and print off missing flashcards. The best format for flashcards is usually the picture on one side and the word is big bold text (all lower case on the back). This way, you can teach reading using the flashcards for older kindy kids. Get the very best value from your flashcards for kindergarten that you can.

Finally, now you have all of the flashcard sets for kindergarten that you’ll need to play flashcard games, make sure you file them well. Use a filing cabinet for your flashcards if possible and remember to put them back where they belong after class. If there are a few English teachers using the flashcards in the school, encourage them to put the flashcards back after they’ve played flashcard kindergarten games. The rule should be: Put the flashcards back how you’d like to find them yourself.

The best ESL flashcard games for kindergarten

Here are 11 ESL flashcard games for kindergarten kids. Each game is perfect if you’re teaching kindergartners between the ages of 3-6 years. The kindergarten flashcard games below are fun, easy for young children to understand, great for learning English, and most importantly, safe. Playing English flashcard games for kindergarten is a safe way is paramount. We hope you love playing these ESL flashcard games with kindergarten kids!

Moving Circles

Place a number of different flashcards on the floor spaced out. The get four kids to join hands to make a circle. Call out a flashcard and the kids need to their circle over to the correct flashcard and stand over it. Call out a few more ones and then get four new kids in to try. Check out our YouTube channel to see how this kindergarten flashcard games works.

Roll the Dice

Buy a giant soft dice online (they are pretty cheap and soooo useful for teaching kindergarten!) Take six flashcards and stick them up on the board with a number underneath. One kindy kid rolls the giant dice and then must say the corresponding flashcard on the board. You can find this flashcard game and many other kindergarten flashcard games here.

Don’t Touch the Lava

Place your flashcards on the kindergarten classroom floor in a winding pathway from one side of the room to the other. Your kindy kids need to get across the classroom, but the floor is hot lava! Hold each child by the hand and lead them across the room. As each child steps on a flashcard, they should say the word on the card. You can find more about this kindy flashcard game here.


Please give me the card

This is a short flashcard activity to play after you’ve finished your flashcard game. Hand out one flashcard to each kindergartener. If there aren’t enough words, then give one flashcard per pair. The teacher calmly says ‘please give me an apple’ (or whatever you’re teaching for that day. The child with that flashcard should come to the front and hand you the flashcard. Keep going until you’ve been given back all of the flashcards. You can find this flashcard game here along with a big A-Z of other ESL flashcard games for kindergarten.

Three Words a Day

Over the weeks and months that you’re teaching English in kindergarten, make mini-flashcards of all the vocabulary you cover in class. Your mini-flashcards should be about as big as a playing card. At the end of each day, put your mini-flashcards into a hat. As time goes on, you’ll be adding more and more words into the hat. Each day, ask three children who has behaved well that kindy class to come to the front and pick one card each. These are then you’re Words of the Day and you can do this every day to review old words and keep them fresh in your childrens’ minds. For some other fantastic kindergarten flashcard games and general kindergarten teaching advice, then click here.

Slow Reveal Squares

Get some scrap A4 paper and cut each piece up into eight squares. With a tiny piece of sticky putty, stick the eight squares onto your flashcard to cover up the picture. Repeat this for all of your flashcards. Take your flashcards into the classroom and lay them out on the kindergarten floor. Get a pencil and cover the end in double-sided sticky tape. Divide your class into teams and have player from each team take it in turns to remove one square from the flashcard. Teams take it in turns to remove one square and guess what the flashcard is. If they get it correct, then they can keep the flashcard. The team with the most flashcards at the end is the winner. You can find this kindergarten game with flashcards here, along with a few good others.


Have all of your kindergarten kids standing at one end of the classroom, with the teacher sat down on a chair at the other end of the classroom. Hold up a flashcard, for example, a banana and ask the class something which makes them say NO! For example, ‘Is it an apple?’

NO! (the class then take one step towards the teacher)

‘Is it an orange?’ NO! (The class take one more step towards the teacher).

When the whole class are quite near to you, ask ‘Is it an apple??’- When they say ‘YES!’ You chase them back to the other side again. Play this flashcard game in your kindergarten a few times, then move on to a new activity. I found some pretty cool flashcard games for kindergarten here.

Slap the Right Flashcard!

I took this kindergarten flashcard game idea from here, but changed it a little. Divide your class into two teams and have each team standing on one side of the classroom Lay your flashcards on the floor in a line down the middle. Choose one player from each team to come forward and then call out the name of a flashcard. Both students need to race over to the line and slap the correct card. The fastest child wins a point and the first team to ten points is the winner!


Spot the Missing Flashcard

Lay out all of your flashcards face up on the floor of the classroom and ask your kids to try to remember as many as they can. Now ask all of your kids to stand up and turn around. Take one of the flashcards away and ask them to turn around again (if you simply ask them to close their eyes then they’ll peek – they are kindergarten kids after all!) Ask the kids which flashcard is missing. You can find this ESL flashcard game for kindy here and many more.


Quick glimpse

Rather than be a full flashcard game for kindergarten, this is really just a quick filler and a way of reviewing flashcards with the kids. Have your kids seated on the classroom floor and the teacher sits on a chair in front of everyone. Have the pile of flashcards on your knees. One by one, quickly spin each flashcard to give your kindy kids a very brief glimpse of each flashcard. Then ask them what the flashcard is. Find more flashcard games for kindergarten here.


Put the ball in the cup

Make a line of flashcards face up and an empty paper cup next to each flashcard. Give each child a ping pong ball and then choose a student to go first. Depending on the age and level of the child, you can either say just the word or use the word in a sentence. For example, you can say ‘banana’ or ‘I like bananas’. The child then runs over and puts their ping pong ball into the cup next to the correct flashcard. Then get each student to repeat the word or sentence. Keep going until every child has had a turn. This kindergarten flashcard game came from Muxi, who has a wonderful YouTube channel for kindergarten ESL teachers.

by Stuart Allen

TEFL Lemon