Teach Your Kids: 5 DIY Adaptable Flashcard Games You’ll Love

I have 5 sure-fire flashcard games that you’ll use time and time again to teach your kids! These games are easily adaptable and can be used for everything from colors to math facts.

You can play using the content of virtually any basic skill/memorization your child needs to work on: capital/lowercase letter recognition, number recognition (numerals), counting (dots), shapes, phonics/sounds, sight words, math facts, Bible verses, colors, and virtually anything else that requires memorization. Perhaps your middle schooler would even challenge you to a game as a way to help learn their science vocab words!

But to begin, let’s clarify my definition of the word game. Yes, a couple of the following are actually games. My definition of game, actually, is any sort of activity that you call a game in your most enthusiastic and enticing voice. 

To play these games, you’re going to need one basic thing: 2 sets of blank flashcards, each set in a different color. Using different colors is key for quick sorting and organization. You could be like me and hack away at index cards, cardstock, or any other thick paper that you can’t see through. Or, you could be smarter and order these blank flashcards on Amazon for $7 (as an ad-on to the $25 order that you’re sure to order anyway) and save yourself time, measuring and cutting. Why haven’t I done this yet? Rookie mistake.

Teach Your Kids: 5 DIY Adaptable Flashcard Games You'll Love

For simplicity’s sake, let’s use letter recognition as our example. Now that you have 2 sets of capital letters and 2 sets of lowercase letters, each on different colors, let’s play the games!

1. Memory

This is a classic and I’m sure you know the rules. If your child needs to learn capitals, lay both sets of capital letters, or better yet, half of both sets face down in rows to make it less overwhelming and time appropriate. Being that you have two colors, you get to flip over one card of each color. Be sure that you and your child say the letters each time a card is flipped. If they get a match, they get to go again. Play until all cards are matched and count your results.

Here’s the key: the winner gets chased and tickled! Run!!

2. Go Fish

Again, another classic, in which I trust you know the directions. If not, they are right here. We have these handy card holders which makes playing with little hands entirely doable.  This time, perhaps you use two sets of cards: one set of capital and one of lowercase (or half of each). Just like in memory, you should count the cards at the end and chase the winner for a tickle showdown. Rrrraawwwww!

Teach Your Kids: 5 DIY Adaptable Flashcard Games You'll Love

3. Swatter Slap

To play you’ll need one set of cards and a clean flyswatter. Lay down two cards, for example, letters C and Q. You say the letter, the child gets to slap it with the swatter. Don’t forget to make it a game! Say things like “Wow!” “Good one!” of “Look at you go!” and “You’re the best letter swatter I’ve ever seen!” Tickles and chasing optional.

4. Third Time’s a Charm

This game works great for flipping through cards quickly. Let’s say your child is close to mastering the capital letters. Flip through them as quickly as they can identify three times, hence the name. Don’t forget to shuffle the cards in between each round and give double high fives for going so quickly. We sing a song while we shuffle and think you should, too. It’s all part of the “game!”

5. Pick a Card, Any Card

Here you line up a slew of cards in your hand and they, you guessed it, pick a card, any card! If they can name it, they get to keep it. If they can’t name it, it goes back into your hand. “No way! Look at you stealing all of my cards. You rascal!” I warned you: excitement is key.


Your most enthusiastic voice and desire to spend time playing with your kids might not work. Sometimes they will throw their body to the ground in utmost drama while whining and complain that they don’t “waaaaaantttt ttooo pplllaaaaaaayy a game with you!”

Then guess what? Don’t play. Learning isn’t going to work if it’s being imposed against their will. Earlier is NOT better and I’m a firm believer that kids will not learn when forced. I know you want to push it, momma. But please don’t. Perhaps your willingness to let go, might surprise your child and they will slowly become interested the next time you offer. 

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