Flashcard Game: The classic “shell game”

This is a great flashcard activity to use with almost all age groups, in any size class. My kids always get excited when I reach for the stickers!

Introduce your vocabulary flashcards as usual, and then show the kids that you are going to put a sticker on the back of one of the cards. (At my school I use circle stickers from the office supply store, but any sticker will do.) Then place the cards face up in front of the kids and have them say which card has the sticker. Once they have the idea, shuffle the cards under the table or behind your back and put the sticker on a different card. Then, the kids can take turns guessing which card has the sticker.

At first the kids will want to just point, but be consistent and insist that they say the word before you can turn over the card.  Even the most impetuous kids will start to say the words before long!

If you have more than about 5 or so kids, put the cards on a white board with magnets so everyone can see.


  • Individual or team competition: keep track of each child’s (team’s) guesses. The one with the fewest total guesses is the winner.
  • Small group work: if you have enough cards for everyone, divide the class into pairs or small groups. Have them take turns taking the role of the teacher as the other students guess where the sticker is.

Do you have a similar game or another variation that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!


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