Where to get free FLASHCARDS and great ideas for using them

Where to get free FLASHCARDS and great ideas for using them

I have always been a big fan of flash cards and I even use them in my own language learning. You can find lots of free flash cards on the internet but there is one particular place I use all the time and that is ESL Flashcards.

ESL Flashcards has loads of high quality images that you can print out in various formats. So for example you can print out large flash cards or smaller sets of cards for games in groups etc. I find these smaller sets really useful. There are also medium size sets with 2 flash cards per page. The cards are organised around themes and so it is easy to find sets and then print them out. You can even print out the word lists for the pictures too and this can be useful for matching games.

Idea one

Place 6 or 7 flashcards around the room. Tell the students that you are going to say simple sentences; the students have to listen and point at the picture that is related to the sentence and say the word.


Teacher Yesterday, I saw a blue car

Students Point at picture of car and say ‘car’

Teacher I like eating cheese

Students Point at picture of cheese and say ‘cheese’

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Idea two

This is a simple game which I call ‘Flash card battleships’. Print out one set of cards for each student. They should all have the same cards. You should print out the flash cards in as a small set so that each student has one complete set of cards.

Now put the students into pairs and tell each student to cross out 2 of the pictures on their cards but not to tell their partner. The object of the game is to find your partner’s two crossed out cards. Students take it in turns to ‘fire’ their words. If the student guesses correctly one of the words, the other student should say ‘hit’


Student One ‘To buy’

Student Two ‘No’

Student Two ‘To dance

Student One ‘No’

Student One ‘To Write’

Student Two ‘ Hit’

The game continues until one student finds both the verbs that the other student has crossed out.

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Idea 3

This is a lovey activity if you have space. You can even take the students into a hall or the playground if you want. It works best with groups of up to about 20 students. You can have more than one group doing the activity but in that case you need to choose a student to be the ‘teacher’ in the group.

Put the students in a circle. Give each student one flash card. In this example all the students have numbers. The teacher calls out two numbers and the students with those two numbers repeat them and then come to the middle of the circle and exchange cards


Teacher 17 and 19

Students with 17 and 19 Students say their number then come to middle of circle and change cards

Teacher 9 and 16

Students with 9 and 16 Students say their number then come to the middle of the circle and change cards

Continue like this

Here is a quick video to show you how to get free flash cards from the ESL Flash Cards site:


Russell Stannard

Russell Stannard is the founder of TeacherTrainingVideos.Com and the Associate Trainer at NILE. He was the previous winner of the Times Higher ‘Outstanding Technology Initiative’, the British Council ‘Technology Innovation Award’ and the University of Westminster ‘Excellence in Teaching Award.’ He trains teachers all over the world, especially in the use of technology in language teaching.