Making Flashcards Fun with Games and Activities!
Flashcards can sometimes have a bad reputation of being too educational, or boring. Many people think flashcards are to be used by just looking and reading the same cards over and over again. But there are so many different games and activities you can play with flashcards to make them fun and interesting for kids, especially bilingual kids or children learning a second language.
Here are some ideas on how you can have fun with flashcards to help promote conversation and the use of language, and basically get your kids talking.
My kids love to have a scavenger hunt and search the house for items to match our flashcards. We place our flashcards down, choose a card and search.
When we use our shape flashcards, we find anything we can to match to the shapes.
When we use our colour flashcards, we find as many things as we can and match them to the colours.
When we use our animal flashcards, we search for animals for the ones on the cards. It could be animals from our toy farm or zoo, or even stuffed toys.
Simon Says Go To…
This is a great activity to get the children moving and talking. I use this with my own kids, but also a lot in my English classes. I place the flashcards on the wall around the room. Either myself, or another child will be “Simon”. They say “Simon says go to…” and name a flashcard. All of the children then run and stand below the card.
We do variations where we say, “All boys go to…” or name a certain person and tell them to go to a certain card. Each child has a turn at being Simon. I find that it motivates even the shy children to speak up.
Flashcard Guessing Game
Think of the game Celebrity Head but for kids, using flashcards. This activity can be played in pairs or in a group. Each child has a card stuck to or on their head, or even held in front of them, but so they can’t see it. They take turns in asking questions about the card that they have.
Eg “Am I a shape?” “Am I an animal?” Do I have four legs?” etc. If they get the question right, they have another turn. Otherwise you go around asking questions until someone guesses which card they have correctly. It really motivates the use of language, because kids really want to know what is on their head.
Flashcard Story Prompts
I love story prompts, and flashcards are a great way to create stories and promote the use of a language. We put our flashcards in a pile, and place a couple of cards from each pile down on the floor. We then take turns in creating a story made up from the different cards.
Copy Cat Writing and Drawing Activity
For kids who love to draw, the copy cat flashcard activity is a lot of fun. If you have thin paper you can place it over the top over the card and copy with a pen or grey led, then colour it in to match the card. If your child is good at drawing freehand then they can simply copy from looking at it.
They can also copy out the words if they are learning to write. My four year old is obsessed with writing and drawing. He has copied these cards out about a hundred times already. Mum and dad don’t mind joining in either!
Flashcard Memory Game
Some flashcards come in pairs, but if not you will need two sets of the same cards. Place them all face down and take turns turning two over at once and naming the object on the card. If they are the same, the child keeps them. If not, they turn them back over. Repeat until all of the cards are gone and the winner is who has the most cards. My kids are still young so we don’t necessarily have a “winner” or we have arguments. We just like to count how many pairs each child has at the end.
There is always room to improve the minority language for your bilingual child. Creating an environment where children can learn through play will give them the confidence to use the target language more freely without even thinking about it. There are so many different activities and games using flashcards that can be fun and beneficial for bilingual kids, or children learning languages. If you have any that you can suggest please share with us! The bilingual flashcards used in this post can be found in my review of the Lil’ollo bilingual products.