Back to School - Flash Card and Word Card Games

Flash card and word card games never seem to get old. It is because they are versatile, easy to use, long standing and children love them. These simple resources can assist you to teach and review anything in the classroom and at home as well.

In this article I would like to share with you my favorite games and one or two useful advice.


Reviewing  is extremely important for learning, but teachers often forget or simply don't have enough time for this essential moment in teaching. You don't need much time for the flash card and the word card games. Five minutes are more than enough for a quick but enjoyable review.
To get your children excited about review, use the power of emotions. Don't hesitate to show them that you are on the edge of your seat, on tenterhooks because you are waiting to see the results of the game. If the games are delightful the children will seek for more.

Flash card games are a powerful tool for teaching. I love flash cards as well as games. The best thing about it is that there are lots of ways to use flash cards. Let's start with my class's no.1 flash card game and some of my favorites.

  • The no.1 flash card game - is irreplaceable in my classroom and it is really precious for revising vocabulary. I have been using it for quite a long time, so I don't even know the name of the game.
    When we want to play it, we just say "Let's have a race!"
    Everyone stands up, but only three children are in the race at the time. The aim is to be the first to say what's on the flash card. The winner remains standing, the other two players sit down and a new race begins with another three students.When all the kids took the first turn, the winners go to the second round. We continue with the rounds until we get a winner.
  • Noughts and Crosses - I draw a 3x3 grid on the board and stick a flash card or word card in each square. The class is divided into two teams, Os and Xs. The teams take turns to name one of the flashcards or word cards. If they do so correctly, the pupils draw their sign in the corresponding square. The aim of the game is to get three Os or Xs in a row.

  • Fast Flash Cards - The flash cards are on the board. A pair of students go to the board facing the flash cards. The teacher names a flash card and the two children must touch the correct card as fast as they can. The winner is the one who touches more flash cards.
  • Memory Master - One student is the Memory Master. There are four to ten flash cards on the board. The Memory Master names his/her peers. All of them choose a flashcard and say the word. After everyone has chosen, the Memory Master must hand the correct flash card to each student.
  • Tornado - Divide the class into teams. Stick the flash cards or word cards face down on the board. Also include a few Tornado cards. (FREE download) Children then choose a card. If they answer the question correctly (they read the word card or name the picture) then their team can draw a line to draw a house.  If they choose a Tornado card then they blow down a part of a house (by erasing part of the drawing) from their opposing team(s). The team who finishes the house first wins.

  • Parachute game – use the flash cards of the vocabulary you want to revise, simply ask:
    - “What’s this?” for each object as you hold up the card.
    Select one of the cards at random, look at it and place it face down on the board.
    Draw a man with a parachute.
    Point to the card on the board and ask: What’s this?
    Each time a child answers incorrectly, rub out one of the parachute string. If a member of the class guesses the object on the card before all the string have been rubbed out, the class wins. If all the strings have been rubbed out and the object is still unknown, the teacher wins.
  • Board game - You can play a board game on a whiteboard or a blackboard. Stick flash cards on the board in a semicircle. Draw arrows from one flashcard to another. The children take it in turns to throw a dice and move along the flashcards as if they were the squares of a board game. When they land on a flashcard they should draw an X or put a magnet and name it. If they cannot, they go back to where they were on the last go.

If you are an artist and you and you have some spare time, don't linger. Draw your own flash cards, laminate them and use them for a long time. It is the best solution. It isn't just the cheaper version, maybe it isn't at all (if you have to buy all those tubes of paint) but it is extremely valuable.
Another advantage of making your own sets, is that you can make them for your specific needs.

The sets will look much nicer if you pay attention to some details:
  • If you decide to make your own unique cards, have in mind the most important thing! MAKE SURE YOU CAN'T SEE THROUGH THEM!
  • make all of them in the same size,
  • use different colors for different sets.

I had my Mom's flash cards for ages. She drew them at the beginning of 60's. I loved them, especially Mom's Alphabet cards! They were unique. The sad part is that I stored them in my granny's house and then one day my treasure disappeared. My auntie did the cleaning and YEP. She swears that it should be somewhere, maybe in the I hope that one day I will bump into them again.

If you aren't so lucky to be an artist or don't have time for it, you can follow this link TPT to find some ready to use flash cards and word cards.

 My Back to School product contains:

 Word cards with pictures.

 Flash cards


...and a booklet for mastering the new vocabulary.

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