Alphabet flash cards can be powerful, versatile tools for teaching the alphabet. Keep reading and watch the videos to discover fifteen fun and easy ways to use flash cards to help children learn the alphabet. You can use any flash cards for these activities. In the videos I use all four sets of the free printable alphabet flash cards found in our subscriber resource library. I printed them, mounted them on construction paper and laminated them.
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- Keep it light and fun. Try out activities to discover which ones your child enjoys the most.
- For any of these activities, start with a limited number of cards and work up to using a larger set.
- As you prepare a game or activity, choose a mix of letters your child knows well with a few that they are working on.
- Keep activities and games non-competitive.
- Consider laminating your alphabet cards to make them sturdier.
Memory or Concentration
Choose two sets alphabet flash cards you want to work with. Create 3-5 matched sets, mix them up and place them face down in rows. Take turns flipping over two cards. If the two cards match, leave them face up. If the two cards don’t match, turn them back over. Keep playing until all the cards have been matched in pairs and are face up.
Some variations allow the person who turned over matching cards to keep them. For young children, I prefer Memory to be a non-competitive activity, rather than a competitive game, so we leave the matching cards face up.
To play bingo with alphabet flash cards, create a “bingo” board. Place the cards face up. Use small items such as puffballs or Lego pieces as markers. You can call out the names of letters or the sounds of letters. Or use the picture cards and ask your child to place a marker on the letter for the sound they hear at the beginning of that word.
For alphabet SlapJack, use the vowels as the “jacks.” Place a set of alphabet cards face down in a pile and turn them over one at a time. Decide with your child if each card is a consonant or a vowel. When a vowel comes up, the first person to place their hand on top of the card “wins.” Instead of having the vowels be the “jacks,” you can use the letters in your child’s name.
The object of the game is to collect matched pairs of cards. Choose two sets of alphabet flash cards and organize them into matched pairs. Choose a limited number of pairs to create a playing deck. For example, you could start with ten pairs to create a deck of 20 cards.
Each player receives five cards. With older children you can keep the cards secret. When I play this with younger children, we lay our cards face up so that I can help them create pairs. The remaining cards are spread out face down between the players.
If a player has two cards that match, they set those cards aside, face up.
Player One then looks at the cards they have, and asks Player Two for a card that will create a pair. “Do you have the letter ‘m’? If Player Two has the requested card, they give it to Player One, who sets aside the matched pair. Player One goes again until they do not get the card they asked for.
If Player Two does not have the requested card, they say “GO FISH!” and Player One chooses a card from the face down cards. If it is the card they wanted, they create the pair and then go again. If it is not the card they asked for, their turn is over.
The game ends when either player runs out of cards or the cards in the middle are gone. The “winner” is the person who has the most pairs.
The object of the game is to collect and discard matched pairs, and not get left holding the “Old Maid.” To play Old Maid, choose two sets of alphabet flash cards and organize them into matched pairs. Choose a limited number of pairs to create a playing deck. Then add a letter on its own. This card is the “Old Maid.”
Place all of the cards face down. Players sort their cards and set aside any matched pairs. To start the game, Player One keeps their cards face down and offers them to Player Two. Player Two chooses one card without seeing it.
If it makes a pair with a card they have in their hand, they set the pair aside. If not, they keep the card. Then, it is their turn to offer their cards face down to Player One. The game ends when both players have paired up all of their cards. The player who is left with the Old Maid “loses.”
Create a Game Board
Use alphabet cards to create a path in whatever shape you like. In the video I made a grid, but with more space you can create curves. Take turns rolling dice and moving markers. Depending on your child’s needs, decide what to do once you land on a card. Say the letter name? Provide the letter sound? In the video I do both, but this activity is so flexible. Modify it as needed to match your family’s needs.
Create your own game board
“I Spy” is a simple, versatile activity with flexible guidelines. Choose a set of alphabet cards and lay them out. With letter cards you could say “I spy lowercase b.” Or, “I spy the letter for the /b/ sound. Then have your child point to the card that matches what you “spied.”
With alphabet picture cards you might say “I spy a picture that starts with the letter b,” or “I spy a picture that starts with the /b/ sound.”
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Place/prop alphabet cards next to objects in your home that start with that letter. When your child finds a card, have them tell you the letter name and letter sound, and the name of the object.
Bean Bag Toss
Arrange alphabet flash cards in a group on the floor. Have your child toss a bean bag on to the cards. Whatever card the bean bag lands on, have your child provide the letter name, letter sound, or a word that starts with that letter.
Arrange alphabet flash cards in a line on the floor. Have your child hop or jump from letter to letter, next to the cards (rather than on top of them like traditional hopscotch.) At they land next to each card, have them say the letter name, letter sound, or a word that starts with that letter.
Which One Does Not Belong?
Choose three lowercase letter cards and one uppercase letter card. Help your child figure out which card is doesn’t belong with the others and why. You can do this activity with consonants and vowels, or letters with curved shapes and letters with straight lines.
Arrange a set of alphabet flash cards in alphabetical order. Then remove a few and scoot the remaining cards close together. Help your child figure out which letters are missing. Keep an alphabet chart handy to use as a reference.
Sort by Letter Shape
Sort a set of lowercase letter cards by shape. “Monkey” letters have tails, “giraffe” letters are tall, and “chicken” letters are short. You can also sort by letters that have curved lines and letters that have straight lines.
Pick a card and think of as many words as possible that start with that sound. This is a fun activity to play as a family during dinner or on car rides.
Practice Letter Formation
Teach your child to trace letter shapes with their finger. If you have laminated your cards, your child can trace with a crayon or dry erase marker.
Our free printable Alphabet Flash Cards provide a ton of fun and easy opportunities to help children learn the alphabet. Which activity or game will you try first? Let us know how it went in the comments section below.
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