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7 Engaging Ways To Use Flashcards For Toddlers & Beyond

Inside: Use these creative activities to make flashcards for toddlers fun and exciting! These are part of the ultimate printable activities for kids collection

Flashcards get a bad rap. 

Who doesn’t remember sitting still, looking at the flashcards our moms held up, and then putting them in the “right” and “wrong” pile? 

It’s no surprise that they’ve fallen off the radar!

Flashcards are a fantastic tool, however.  They are portable, efficient, and versatile.  It just turns out we grew up using them in the most boring way possible.  

Here is a “flash mob” of seven new ways to use flashcards for learning with your child!

Make flashcards fun with these 7 creative ways to play. Toddlers and kids of all ages will love practicing when you make it into an interactive game! #learnthroughplay #flashcards #toddler #kidsactivities #simpleeverydaymom

Flashcards For Toddlers and Fine Motor Fun

Fine motor skills are important to develop at a young age. 

Mastery of the small muscles in the hands is the precursor for good writing, cutting, and self-help skills.  These flashcard activities do double duty and help practice the fine motor skills as well!

1. Clothespin Cards

Have fun with flashcards with these 7 engaging ways to play!

For this activity, you will need some spring-loaded clothespins and a little preparation.

To practice colors or shapes, use a sharpie, colored clothespins or glue pom poms to color one flat surface of the clothespins to match.  For letter or spelling word practice, write the uppercase or lowercase letter of each letter on individual clothespins. 

This is an excellent activity for quiet, individual learning practice.  After a brief demonstration, most children can take the basket of clothespins and the cards, and pinch each pin onto the correct card. Load the entire kit into a small container or zip top bag, and it is instantly portable!

2. Flash Card Puzzles

Get out your scissors! 

To make quick flashcard puzzles, you will need a set of picture flashcards with the letters or numbers below the picture.  Cut each card in half. 

To create an easier set, cut each card into a unique shape; for a higher difficulty level, cut them all the same. 

Want to implement some self-checking? Simply place different stickers on the back of each card where you will cut, and the child can flip over both sides to be sure the halves of the sticker match.

Flashcard Fun for Active Children

Many children are kinesthetic learners.  That means they learn best by moving.  Try these three variations for your active children.

3. Flashcard Relay

A Flashcard Relay Race can be especially useful if you are working with a classroom or group of children. 

To set up –  Designate a starting line, then across the room put two sets of magnetic letters, colored bean bags, or even matching sets of flashcards across the room.   

To play, shuffle the cards, hold up (or for pre-readers, call out) the item they need to dash to get. 

You can mix up the way they have to move, such as hopping, walking backward, crawling, or even rolling!  When they get back to the finish line, the “winner” adds their piece to their team’s pile to keep score. The other team must put their piece back.  This activity is especially nice as you can modify it to fit the temperament and needs of the group.

4. Flashcard Scavenger Hunt

Flashcards For Toddlers | Have fun with flashcards with these 7 creative ways to use flashcards. Your kids will love flashcards after they play these games! #learnthroughplay #flashcards #abcs #alphabet

The Flashcard Scavenger Hunt is an excellent way to practice without needing any preparation at all.

Simply pick up the deck of flashcards and shuffle.  Choose the top card, and then ask your child to find an item with the same color, that starts or ends with the same letter, or the number of items on the flashcard.  This can even be a way to make clean-up time both fun and educational! 

5. Flashcard Hopscotch

Think flashcards are boring? Think again! Check out all these fun, interactive ways to use flashcards with kids.

For older children, perhaps who are trying to memorize spelling words or multiplication tables, sidewalk chalk can make flashcards fun!

First, you need to write the answers on a large, outdoor surface like a driveway or sidewalk.  Then, shuffle the flashcards.  For spelling words, have them move to each letter in the word.  For math problems, have the numbers written out. 

Get creative with the movements as well!  Jumping, leaping, hopping, bear-crawling – the only limit is your imagination! 

Flashcard Activities for Game Lovers

Playing games is more than just fun – it provides a load of essential social skills! When your child plays games, they practice taking turns, sharing materials, compromising, and learn how to win and lose gracefully.  Flashcard games combine the best of both worlds!

6. Flashcard Fishing

For this activity, you will need

  • A set of flashcards
  • As many paperclips as you have cards
  • A piece of string
  • A magnet (that you can attach to the string in some fashion.)

Attach one paperclip to each flash card.  Using the magnet tied to the string, children can “fish” for the cards. 

To make it more challenging, divide the cards into pairs such as uppercase and lowercase letters, and have them fish for the matches. Another variation is to have them get the cards in order, or find the letters in their name.  They can “throw back” any card that doesn’t match!

7. Flashcard Memory

shape flashcards to teach toddlers | Memory game

Test your child’s memory with this classic game. 

You will need two sets of flashcards and a flat playing surface.  Cards are shuffled and dealt face down in a grid pattern.  Keeping the cards in place, each player takes turns flipping the cards over two at a time, keeping them in place. 

Make a match?  Keep the pair and go again!  For more advanced learners, have two different sets of cards. For example, a picture and the written word can make the game more challenging.

Other Ideas

Do you have more ways to make flashcards fun?  Don’t forget to leave your ideas in the comments!

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Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Can you please send me the link for the camping flashcards? I couldn't find it. Thanks


Thursday 13th of May 2021

If you go the camping flashcards page here, there's a form at the end of this post. Just enter your email in the form and the link will be sent to you.


Monday 9th of April 2018


Sam T

Monday 9th of April 2018

Hi Paige! These are a digital file, so they would be emailed to you.


Thursday 8th of February 2018

My boys are too old for flashcards now, but we definitely used them when they were smaller and learning so much. One of their favorites was the scavenger hunt, just as you described. Another super fun way to use them, which my boys really loved, is to use the word cards along with some letter tiles (think Scrabble tiles, etc - we found some amazing hexagon letter tiles from a thrift store), having them match the letters, spelling out words. This is great for Kindergarten/grade one age. This is an especially helpful activity to go along with their learning their sight words.

Sam T

Thursday 8th of February 2018

Wow, Kaly, I would have never thought of that one!! Such a good idea; thank for sharing :)

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