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Toys Flashcards: Games & Activities for the ESL Classroom

December 22, 2016

We have a NEW flashcard set of toys just in time for Christmas! While you might think of toys as a subject only young learners would be interested in, adults enjoy the nostalgia of this theme too. Some of your students may even be parents who have a very practical need for this vocabulary this month.

Ideas for Using Flashcards: Toys

ESL Library's Toys flashcard set features a wide variety of play things, including traditional toys like tricyles and blocks and more modern toys like handheld video game. Below you will find some ideas for using this updated flashcard set during the holiday season. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for related lesson content.

What would you like for Christmas?

Choose one student to be Santa Claus. Put Santa on a chair at the front of the room beside another chair. Hand out toy flashcards to all of your students. Have each student take a turn talking to Santa. Students must describe what they want (the image on their card) without saying the name of the toy. Santa guesses. (Give more than one student a turn to be Santa.)

Under the Tree

Draw a tree on the board. Give each student a toy flashcard. Put a piece of tape on the back of the flashcards. Have students take turns putting their flashcard under the tree. They have to say who they would give this toy to and why. You can have them choose other students from their class or real people from their lives.

I am giving this tricycle to my nephew. He loves bikes!

Toy Store Field Trip

Take your students to the local toy store. Put your students in small groups or pairs. Give each group a set of toy flashcards. Have students search the store to find each toy. Which section or aisle did they find the toy in? They must make a list of where they found the toy and what other types of toys were in the same section. Which toy could they not find? Tell them to find one toy they have never seen before. Back at the school they can describe the toy. You can also ask them to find the most expensive toy, the least expensive toy, the prettiest toy, the funniest toy, etc.

When I Was Young

This is a game you can play with adults. Set out all of the flashcards on a table. Have students take turns picking up a flashcard and describing their favorite toy as a child.

When I was a child, my favorite toy was a doll.

The other students have to ask at least five questions about the toy.

What was your doll's name? Who gave you the doll? What did the doll look like? What happened to the doll?

If a student cannot find his favorite toy in the flashcards, he can draw it on the board.

Reality Flashcards

You've heard about reality TV, but what about reality flashcards? Invite your students to bring the cards to life by telling true stories related to the cards. Hold up a card and ask the class this question:

Who has a real life story about this toy?

True stories will help your students remember the words. After the story time, ask the students which story was the most memorable and why. Encourage the other students to ask the storyteller at least three questions.

The teacher pulls out the "stickers' fashcard.

Student A: I have a story! My sister and I collected stickers when we were kids.

Student B: What kind of stickers?

Student A: Hello Kitty and fairy stickers.

Student C: Did you have a sticker book?

Student A: No, we had a sticker box.

Student D: What happened to all of your stickers?

Student A: I put them on letters to my relatives.

If no student volunteers to tell a story, try a different card or tell a real life story of your own and have the students ask you questions.

Elves' Workshop

Tell your students to pretend they are elves. They have to make all of the toys (flashcards). What will they need to build each toy? Hold out the flashcards one at a time.

The teacher pulls out the "doll house" flashcard.

Teacher: Molly wants a doll house. What do we need to make it?

Elf 1: Wood.

Teacher: Yes, what else do we need?

Elf 2: Fabric to make curtains and sheets for the beds.

Elf 3: And we need a drill to cut out the windows and doors.

Dear Santa

Give students a flashcard and tell them to write a letter to Santa asking for this toy for Christmas. Have students peer correct and respond to the letters.

Kids Christmas Party

Your classroom is an office and the workers are organizing the work Christmas party. Review all of the flashcards and make notes about each toy. Discuss these things as a class. Allow students to disagree about age, gender, etc.

Age appropriateness: preschool, primary school, junior, high school (or by age)

Gender: Male, Female, Unisex

Interest: educational, adventure, outdoor, fantasy, building, creative

Toy Combo

Put your students in pairs or small groups. Hand out two flashcard to each group. Students have to design a toy that uses parts from both flashcards. Students present the toy combo. They have to answer the following:

  • What is the name of the toy?
  • What does the toy do?
  • What age group would have this toy?
  • How much would this toy sell for?

Toy of the Year

This is a fun activity if your students are learning to compare and contrast. Give each student one flashcard from the set. Then, have your students research the Toy of the Year. (Your students may come up with different results for 'Toy of the Year'.)

How does the toy of the year compare to the toy on the flashcard?

Have students write a paragraph or prepare a presentation comparing the two toys.


Please share your own ideas, lessons, and activities related to Toys and Flashcards in the comments below.

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