Flashcard Game: 3 Card Monte

This activity is good for introducing just 3-6 new cards. It works best with kids 3 and over.

  1. Lay out your new cards. Say the target word/phrase as you lay each card down, face up.
  2. One by one, say the word/phrase and turn over the cards until all are face down.
  3. Pretend to “review” one time, taking a quick peek at each card and confirming the target language.
  4. Mix up the cards so that they are all in different locations than when you started. (For kids 3-4 years old, only move the cards one space so they can still get the right answer. Unlike real 3 card monte, we actually want the kids to win.)
  5. For passive recognition, say one of the targets and have kids point to the card they think it is. For active recognition, point to a card and have the kids say which one they think it is.

NOTE: when the kids have guessed a card, you must let them judge whether they are correct or not. Otherwise there is not much benefit to the activity.

You can increase the difficulty of the game by adding more cards and/or mixing the cards more thoroughly. Older kids (over 5-6 years old) can take turns being the teacher, in which case this also works as a pair or small group activity if you have enough cards.

TIP: for kids under 6, try to avoid any sense of competition. Either have kids simply take turns guessing the card and give praise win or lose, or have the class guess as a whole. If you must, make it a match between the teacher and students, and just be a very poor guesser!

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