3 Creative Ideas to Make Flash Cards Fun
Flash cards are incredible learning tools. The repetition they provide helps students of all ages study and retain information. Flash cards are an especially helpful learning tool for at-home use right now as they support independent and small-group review, and help reinforce key topics from distance learning lessons.
While simple Q&A and rote learning are certainly important, adding creative and fun activities to your at-home flash card practice is also valuable. Memorizing information with FUN activities helps kids feel connected to the material, builds interest in the subject, and makes learning a positive experience.
Read on for our tips on how to transform study sessions into engaging, entertaining practice using these flash card game ideas. Put your own spin on it and see our suggestions for extra FUN too!
1. Musical Chairs
Arrange kitchen or folding chairs in a circle with the backs facing in. Make sure there’s plenty of space for players to walk around. Place flash cards on each chair seat, with the answers facing down.
Let’s jam! Turn on the music to cue children to walk around the circle. When the music stops, it’s time to face the facts! Each child chooses one flash card from their spot to read and answer. The person or parent playing the music checks each answer.
If the child answered correctly, remove that card from play. If incorrect, return the card to the chair so they can try again next time. Keep playing until all cards have been answered and all are removed from play. Hooray!
Extra FUN: Take learning outside to soak up the sun and math facts at the same time! Revamp your circle so kids walk around a picnic table, blanket, or similarly-sized space, and place the flash cards intermittently around the play area. Use the extra space to dance, hop, or speed walk around the circle!
Top Flash Card Picks for Musical Chairs
Choose flash cards based on your child’s grade level and what they are currently focused on in their distance learning lessons. Some of our favorite fun flash cards for games include:
- Multiplication Pocket Flash Cards: Test your child’s memory of the multiplication times table with this fun, colorful pocket-sized flash card set. The answers are on each card back for self-checking convenience.
- Picture Words /Palabras Pocket Flash Cards: This set showcases colorful pictures of household objects for multilingual learners. Invite kids to name the photograph in English, Spanish, or both!
- Alphabet Pocket Flash Cards: Young learners name the photographed object and say the beginning letter. Build essential pre-reading skills using the photo cues, and move on to mastering early reading skills with the word-only side.
2. “I Spy…”
Depending on the desired challenge and grade level, along with the flash card topic, there are a couple of different ways to turn flash card practice into an “I spy…” game.
I Spy Facts
Find an open area, like the living room floor or table for this game. Place flash cards in a grid with the answers facing down. Begin each sentence with “I spy with my little eye....” and finish your sentence with the answer on the flash card. Children search the cards for the one that fits the answer.
For example, if your child is learning subtraction, you might say, "I spy with my little eye the number 4.” Children then read each equation to find the one that has an answer of 4. When your child finds the card, he or she flips it over to reveal the answer.
If correct, remove the card from play. If incorrect, replace the card with a different one from the flash card set. Keep playing until all the flash cards in play have been solved and removed. Great job!
I Spy Hide & Seek
When studying colors and shapes, sight words, or non-math learning concepts, an exciting option for play is to place the flash cards throughout the room (where kids can easily reach/see) instead of in a grid.
For Shapes & Colors Pocket Flash Cards, for example, say the “I spy…” sentence and challenge kids to hunt for the flash card (the color red, the word red, or just red, depending on the challenge level). When kids find the card in the play area, they bring it back to you. They’ll love this hide-and-seek version!
Extra FUN: Start with a small selection of cards to keep kids interested and avoid overwhelming them. Add cards each time you play until you can master them all!
Invite kids to take turns at naming the “I spy…” for different rounds, too. They’ll love trying to stump Mom or Dad.
Top Flash Card Picks for "I Spy"
Play with a variety of flash card topics for “I spy…” games. Choose flash cards that best work with the type of I Spy you’ll play.
- Subtraction Pocket Flash Cards: Solve the equations and self-check with this colorful pocket-sized flash card set.
- Shapes & Colors Pocket Flash Cards: Master 10 shapes and 10 colors in different ways. Play hide ‘n seek with photos, vocabulary words, and colored visuals.
- U.S. Presidents Pocket Flash Cards: Help your child recognize each president with these flash card portraits. Can they name a fun fact, too?
3. Trivia Time!
This game makes it easy to cover a variety of subjects at one time. Begin by creating a trivia board on cardboard, on a chalkboard, or a dry erase surface. Write the featured topics across the top of the board, like “Math Equations,” “Spelling,” “Counting,” and so on.
You’ll want a flash card set for each topic of your game. If you don’t have a set to cover a specific topic or subject, that’s ok. You can make your own custom flash cards to fit this game. Kids will be excited to see topics specific to what they are learning and will be even more motivated to show what they know!
Review the flash cards beforehand and choose 5 cards for each topic. Arrange them in order from easiest to hardest (top to bottom) in a column under the matching heading. Number each row for point totals 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, for example. Place an index card, piece of paper, or a Make-Your-Own Flash Card over each question so it is hidden.
Decide if you will play in teams or individually, and if you will play until all questions are answered or to a desired point total. Each turn, the child chooses a flash card to answer.
Read or show them the flash card so they may solve the equation, name the item, or spell the word (depending on the card/topic). When they answer correctly, they earn the points!
Record points on the game board or a piece of paper until all cards are gone or one team has reached the winning point total.
Reward the winner with picking the game night activity, an extra afternoon craft, or choosing what’s for dinner.
Extra FUN: Announce a reward at the beginning of each week to motivate kids to pay extra attention during distance learning sessions so they’re ready for trivia. Everyone will look forward to playing for the reward.
When playing with a variety of ages, make a topic column for each child using flash cards fitting to their age or learning level. In this version, the first child to correctly answer their column of 5 questions wins!
Top Picks for Flash Card Trivia
Depending on your child's grade level, we recommend the following flash card sets:
- Addition Pocket Flash Cards: Math skills add up to fun with this colorful pocket-sized flash card set.
- States and Capitals Pocket Flash Cards: This set is full of fun facts on all of the U.S. states and capitals – it’s a top pick for trivia.
- Opposites Pocket Flash Cards: You name it! Compare objects and learn position words with this photo-real flash card deck.
- Make-Your-Own Flash Cards: Create custom challenge questions with blank flash cards!
Enhance At-Home Learning with More Hands-on FUN
Looking for even more flash card games, puzzles, and activities to enhance at-home learning? Discover all of our family favorites and free resources to make learning at home super successful for everyone!