How to use flashcards with preschool students in your ESL/EFL classroom.

flashcards kindergarten

Hello everyone! Today we want to share with you our ideas for using flashcards on your ESL lessons with primary or kindergarten students. Let’s get it started!

  1. Presentation

When introducing new vocabulary, sit down next to your students, preferably in a circle and show them new pictures one by one. Show them a flashcard and name it, let’s say it’s a dog. Say: “it is a dog, a dog. What is it? It’s a dog.” and lay it down on the floor/ stick it to your wall or board. Make sure your students see it all the time. You can move to the next one now and introduce it: “it is a cat, a cat. What is it? It’s a cat.” and when you place it next to the previous flashcard, repeat all of them saying: “a dog, a cat” and so on. Chanting is helpful too! I often say: “dog, cat, dog, cat, dog, dog, dog, cat!” - think of a short melody or pattern you can use to chant and your students will follow along. Once you finish presenting, you can introduce new games.

  1. Show me

A very simple flashcard exercise. Just tell your students: “show me a cat” and they need to point or touch the flashcard. This is how you can check what your students remember. 

  1. Close your eyes, open your eyes, what’s missing?

Kids love this simple game. Tell them: “close your eyes” and hide one of the flashcards behind your back. Then say: “open your eyes. What’s missing?” and wait for the answer. You can also let your students do it as long as they use the magic words “close your eyes, open your eyes, what’s missing?”.

  1. Face down

Turn your flashcards upside down, your students should not see the picture. You can check if they remember the order of the flashcards and ask them: “What is this?”. You can choose random flashcards and give them time to think. Once they give you an answer, check if they were right.

  1. Eenie meenie miney mo

This is my favorite pass and say game. Learn the rhyme “Eenie meenie miney mo” and teach your students. Note: you need to sit in a circle. While you rhyme, give a flashcard to the student on your right and tell them to pass it to the next person as you add more and more flashcards.  As you sing, students pass the cards around. In the end, each student should receive and pass flashcards on. When you stop rhyming, everyone freezes. Every student is left with a flashcard and has to name it. And then you can play again.

  1. What have you got?

Give all of your flashcards (or real objects) to a student and ask them to pick one. All the other students have to guess what word or flashcard it is and ask: 

  • Have you got a pen?
  • Noo…
  • Have you got a book?
  • Yes!

The person who guesses the word gets to start the next round.

  1. Charades

When you teach verbs, animals or feelings, you can play charades with your students. Show them a flashcard and ask one person to show it to the group. The person who guesses the word gets to start the next round.

Flashcard games will make your ESL/EFL classroom effective and fun. Feel free to use our ideas and leave a comment if you want to share your tips! 

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