Main advantage of flashcards is that many kids are visual learners, i.e., they must have some pictures to se in order to grasp and learn. They will always relate all that they learn to the pictures or figures they see.
Flashcards must be of different types, based on the level they pertain to. Beginning with alphabet and word cards in lower levels, we may use thematic cards, cards that portray some idea, concept etc etc. for higher levels. Random cards may also be used, ie, ones that are abstract and kids have to use their imagination to give them some meaning make sense from the picture.
They can be used for the following : ( both language functions and vocab activities)
Ø To compare and contrast different pictures, things etc.
Ø To describe.
Ø To make stories based on the card.
Ø To ask questions related to the picture.
Ø Get a general idea related to important places like hospitals, post office, bank etc.
Ø Cards that show directions, instructions etc with pictures can be used.
Ø Colours can be taught using flashcards.
After the teaching process has been done with a particular flash card, it can be used for fun activities like
Ø Picture dictation;
Ø Flash card with just one picture eg: of a ball, or queen or cat etc can be used for chain story. Every child must choose a flashcard and not show the others. And must use the word in the card in their story;
Ø Kids can also be asked to enact the scenes they see in the flash card.
Using flash cards: Flashcards are cards with pictures of objects.They are a great way to practise English with children. They are bright and colourful and will appeal to most children.You can use them to play games and most children will enjoy being able to touch and move the cards.
You will find lots of flashcards to download and print on the above link.
Some activities using flashcards:
Snap: You will need two copies of each picture flashcard, or you could use the picture cards and the word cards for children who can read. You could also use two or three sets mixed together. Shuffle the cards and deal them out to all the players. In turns, turn over a card, the player should say what is on the card and then place it in the middle of the table. If a player turns up a card which is the same as the previous one, the first player to shout “SNAP” wins all the cards in the pile. Players are out of the game when they have no cards left. The winner is the player who has all the card.
Memory: You will need either two sets of picture cards for children who cannot read yet or sets of picture cards and words cards for children who can read. Place the cards face down on the table. In turn, each player turns up two cards and says what they are. If they turn up a matching pair, they keep them and have another turn. If the cards are different, they turn them back over, leaving them in the same pace on the table, and the next player has a go. Thw player with the most pairs is the winner.
Bingo: Draw a 3*2 table and ask the child to draw or write six items from the flashcards set in the squares of the table. You should do the same so you can comepte with the child. Place the set of flashcards in an envelope and take turns to choose a flashcard. As you choose them, say the item on the card. You can make this fun by using a silly bingo voice. The first player to cross out all the items in the table calls “bingo” and is the winner.
Memory Tester / Kim’s Game: Place a selection of flashcards on the floor. Give your children one minute to try and memorise all the cards, then ask them to turn away, or cover the cards and see how ma ny they can remember. Alternately you can cover all the cards, and remove one and ask the child to work out which card has been removed.
Invisible flashcards: Lay nine picture cards on a big piece of paper and draw a grid around them. Use a pen or your finger to point to the cards in turn. As you point, the children should say the English word for the picture on each card. Gradually remove the picture cards, but continue to point to the grid where the flash card was. When the first card is removed and you point to the blank space, encourage the child to say the word of the removed flashcard. Students should remember and continue as if the cards were still there. The children will probably be amazed that they can remember the pictures even when they are not there. Then you can put the flashcards back in the right place on the grid, asking the children to shout ‘STOP’ when you hold the picture card over the right place on the grid. This activity highlights the impact of visual aids.
Reveal the word: Cover the picture card or word card with a piece of card and slowly reveal it. Get the children to guess which one it is. Alternatively, flip the card over very quickly so the children just get a quick glimpse. Repeat until they have guessed the word.
Point or race to the flash card: Stick flashcards around the room. Say one of them and ask the children to point or race to it. The children could then give out the instructions to the others. You can extend this by giving additional instructions like hop to the word.
Fast Finger: Stick flashcards on a wall or lay them out in a line on the floor. Give a clue to indicate which card you are thinking of, or, if you are working with a new set of words, give the whole word. eg. “Say stop when the fast finger is above the cat”. When revising familiar words, just give a clue eg. “its an animal that cant fly, but it can climb trees”. The child should shout ‘STOP’ when your finger is above the required flashcard. Then bounce your finger along in a random fashion to a silly tune until they shout ‘STOP’ at the right time. When they get the idea, ask your child to be the Fast Finger and and you shout ‘STOP’ at the right point.
Hide and Seek: When the children are familiar with the language you could hide a selection of flashcards around the classroom. Remember to as the children what they have found and where they were. The children may enjoy hiding the flashcards for you too. If you want to guide your children towards the flashcards you could use the common system for giving clues, ‘you’re cold (very far), warmer (getting closer), hot (close) etc’
Story maker: Use the flashcards from a selection of topic sets that your child is familiar with. Lay them out on a table. Select cards one by one as you invent a story. Incorporate the items on the cards into your story. If the children are able to join in, let them take turns to add the next part of the story. If they are unable to do this, you can tell them the story and hold up the card as you talk about it. Then the children an draw pictures from the story or older children can even make a comic strip of the story you have created together.
(These are just some suggestions for using flashcards. The more you use flashcards, the more activities will emerge. )