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10/30/2013

Creative & Easy Games and Activities to use with Flashcards!


I've never known a teacher who doesn't have an overwhelming number of flash cards on hand. Flash cards for vocabulary, spelling, alphabet, number, math problems, pictures... and the list goes on. They're cheap, easy, and have a ton of different uses. In my classroom, we had DRAWERS full. They're great to just grab for an simple, yet effective, lesson or activity. However, I also know that sometimes we ended up using them for the same basic routines on a regular basis! Well bore no more! Here is an extensive list of fun and simple ways to use flash cards, whether you're at home or in the classroom!


{Category Sort}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Category Cards
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students sort their cards into categories. This could be by beginning sound, by syllables, or by categories that fit the theme of the vocabulary (mammal or reptile, liquid or solid, etc).
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have the students create their own categories
- Have the students record their categories & items in each category on {My Freebie Categorizing Graphic Organizers}.


{Charades}
Grade Level: PK & Up
Additional Materials Required: None
Basic Game Play:
Just like in your traditional game of Charades, students simply pull a card and act out the vocabulary word! Keep score with tally marks or by allowing the teams to keep the cards they've guessed correctly.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Puppetry: Students use another student as a puppet. The puppeteer sees the card, but the puppet does not. The puppeteer positions or moves the puppet in a way for the puppet and their team to guess the word!
- Set a timer and see how many teams can act out in a set amount of time.

{Illustrating}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Coloring Materials
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Students simply draw a picture to match their vocabulary words.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Assign words or let the students choose their own.
- Have students write a sentence to accompany their word
- Place cards around the room and have students wander & draw in different locations.


{Jar Game}
Grade Level: PK and up
Additional Materials Required: A jar
Basic Game Play:
Students close their eyes and pull a card out of the jar. If they can read, identify, define, etc. they get to keep the card. If they cannot, they put the card back. The student with the most cards at the end, wins.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Add a "ZAP" card. This could simply be a card that says ZAP or it can be a themed picture (a turkey during Thanksgiving, a planet if you're studying the solar system, etc). If the student pulls this card, they have to put ALL of their cards back in the jar.
- Add a variety of cards to your game. My {Bug Juice Game} has several ways to change up this game, including cards that "save" a player, allow students to challenge other players, take other player's cards, etc.


{Flyswatter Game}
Grade Level: PK and up
Additional Materials Required: Flyswatters
Basic Game Play: Two or more students are given flyswatters. Another student (or teacher) calls out the letters, words, definitions, or questions. The students race to find the appropriate card and slap it! Keep score with tally marks or by allowing the students to keep their cards.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Student may only swat once per call. (No swatting every card til you find the answer!)
- If a student swats a WRONG card (in an attempt to just rush), they must identify the card (letter, word, definition, etc).
- Students must turn away from the cards while listening to the caller. Give them wait time to think of what they're looking for. Then the students turn on "go!"


{Memory Match}
Grade Level: PK and Up
Additional Materials Required: A duplicate set of your flash cards
Basic Game Play:
This is a twist on your traditional match game! Simply lay two sets of the same flash cards face down. Students look for matches by flipping two cards at a time. IF they find a match, they must identify the card (by reading it, defining it, solving the math problem, etc). If they can identify the cards successfully, they get to keep them! The student with the most matches at the end of the game, wins!
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- For older students, consider adding an additional set and making the students find THREE of the same card.
- Have students record their pairs and answers on paper to turn in.

{Murals}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Butcher Paper and Coloring Supplies
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students simply draw pictures onto a mural to represent their vocabulary words. Hang the mural in the room while you are studying this set of words! This activity is great for centers or early finishers.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students label or write sentences with each word.
- Segment the mural into squares and require students to fill an entire box.
- Turn the mural into a guessing game. Do NOT have students label their pieces. Then have other students guess what vocabulary word is represented by each section of the mural.


{High Five Partner Quiz}
Grade Level: 1st and Up
Additional Materials Required: A wall or board.
Basic Game Play:
This game works best with spelling words. Hang all of the words on the board. Partners face each other, one with their back to the board and one facing the board. The partner facing the board chooses a word and tells his partner. The partner facing away from the board then attempts to spell the word. When the student spells the word successfully, they give each other a HUGE high five and switch places!
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- If the spelling partner does not get the word correct the first time, the quizzing partner can give a hint: breaking down the word slowly/phonetically, reminding the partner of a spelling pattern ("remember th needs two letters", "remember k can be made with C or K."
- Have the partners write down their correct words as they play
- Set a timer and have the students record how many words they can spell correctly (collectively) in that time span.
- Have quizzing partners use the word in a sentence when giving it.

{Partner Testing}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencil
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students work in partners. One partner draws a card and then reads it to the other partner. The partner then works to spell the word correctly on their paper.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- I used this game with spelling words. You could also have the students give hints about a vocabulary word and have the guesser write on whiteboards!


{Pictionary}
Grade Level: 1st & up
Additional Materials Required: Whiteboard, Smart Board, chalk board, paper & pencil, etc
Basic Game Play:
A twist on your traditional game of Pictionary! Students draw a card. The student must read the card independently and then draw a picture for her team. When the team guesses the word correctly, they can keep the card or receive a point.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Students must draw certain words with their eyes closed
- Have students write down the words {possibly with a picture} that they scored with.
- At the end, have students use their words in writing sentences.
- Set a timer and have teams draw & guess as many as they can in a certain amount of time.


{Rotation Game}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencils and a timer or clock.
Basic Game Play:
Set the flash cards around the room. Explain the order of the cards. Each student will start at one card and rotate around the room to each card. When the time starts, the students will record the word, letter, problem, etc from their flashcard and then define, answer, draw an appropriate picture, etc. When the timer goes off, students rotate to the next card.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Number the cards and create a numbered sheet so students don't have to record their flash card before recording the answer.
- Play music for a more fun atmosphere
- {Here} is a Freebie variation of this rotation activity.

{Run & Slap}
Grade Level: PK and Up
Additional Materials Required: None
Basic Game Play: 
Set out the cards at one end of the room, hall, playground, etc. A teacher or student calls out the letter, word, definition, question, etc. Two or more students race to the cards to be the first to slap it.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Use a flyswatter
- Students must turn away from the cards while listening to the caller. Give them wait time to think of what they're looking for. Then the students turn on "go!"
- Student must complete a challenge before being allowed to run. This could be shooting a ball in a basket, rolling a certain number on a die, spinning around a certain number of times, doing a certain number of jumping jacks, push ups, etc, writing their answer down first on a whiteboard, etc.
- Students work in partners. We will use partners A & B as an example. A partners get a word from the teacher. Then partners A must give CLUES to partners B. For example, "It's the capital of TN. It's where Elvis lived!" Etc. When partner B thinks he knows, he runs for it!


{Sentence Strips}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Sentence Strips & Pencils
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Have students choose two random vocabulary flash cards. Work independently or in partners to write a sentence using these cards.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students write a sentence ABOUT the card without including the words. OR using synonyms instead of the vocabulary words. Then have other students guess.


{Treasure Hunt}
Grade Level: PK-1
Additional Materials Required: Telescopes or Magnifying Glasses
Basic Game Play:
Flash cards are spread throughout the room. A teacher or student calls out a card letter, word, definition, math problem, etc and the students "search the room" using their telescope or magnifying glass. For a full blog on this game, {click here}.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Play music for more fun
- Have one partner blind folded and another partner guiding (using words) the student to find the card.
- For younger students, lay cards on tables and floors; for older students, hide the words really well (in cabinets and drawers)!


{Vocabulary Quilt}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Construction Paper & Coloring Materials
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students draw a word from the flashcards and then make a quilt piece to go with it. On each piece you could require the letter or word, a picture to represent it, a sentence, a definition, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Make a class quilt or have each student make their own mini-quilt.


{Word Webs}
Grade Level: 2 & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencil
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Students draw a word from the flashcards. Then they create a web with their word in the middle. In the branches of the web, they can add synonyms, attributes, sentences, pictures, etc. This is a great activity for walking in the room or when they're finished with other work.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students leave the center of their web blank and have other classmates guess the center. Consider hanging all of the webs up and having ALL of the students guess ALL of the web words.


I would LOVE to hear your ideas on flashcard games! Comment below to share! :) I will add more games as I think of them.

Need flashcards? I have TONS in my store, including alphabet flashcards, vocabulary flashcards, and sight word flashcards! Check it out! :)


1 comment on "Creative & Easy Games and Activities to use with Flashcards!"
  1. LOVE IT!!! Some of these I already use; some I have seen you use, but didn't know how the game worked. Thanks! As a variation to run & slap, I have them go outside and they have to run a LOOONG way to get to the cards. This helps get their energy out and can be used as a reward. I sometimes use TONS of flashcards so they have to search for the right one so my top student does not win every single time.

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