Best ESL Flashcards for Beginners

Best ESL Flashcards for Beginners

by Haiden 30,756 views

Help ESL students master common words and phrases with these free flashcards! Flashcards are one of the best ways to kickstart learning in young students who are being introduced to new subjects for the very first time. From numbers to basic sight words to the names of body parts, teaching your ESL students through flashcard activities and games is fun, engaging, and impactful. 

Use these prinatable, free ESL flashcards in your next lesson plan, or send them home with your students to get even more practice. Oftentimes, you can even use these flashcards as conversation cards, to play memory games, or engage in a round of go fish. We love how multi-purpose they are, and science proves their effectiveness in multiple ways. According to Brainscape, flashcards engage "active recall," a powerful learning tool that encourages students to remember concepts on their own, rather than seeing them and recognizing them like they would when reading an excerpt in a book or seeing it on a multiple choice exam. 

20 Sets of ESL Flashcards for Beginners

  1. 1

    Daily Routines 

    These bright and vibrant flashcards help young learners understand daily routines, as well as the present tense. Pairing terms like "brush my teeth" with an image of a child preparing to brush his teeth allows students to not only recognize a common action but they are able to associate that with the phrases, as well. Teachers can use the Daily Routines Flashcard set for speaking activities or memory games. Students will love relating to the different everday activities that they incorporate in their own lives!

  2. 2

    Feelings and Emotions

    We all know how important it is for little ones to understand feelings and emotions, but associating them with the right words and phrases is another story. To help your students connect emotions like happiness and saddness with the proper facial expression, use this card set. This is a printable set, so there's a lot of versatility in what you can use them for, from conversation activities to classroom posters. You can even have your students mimic the facial expressions they see on the flashcards while stating the name of the feeling or emotion outloud. 

  3. 3

    Everday Activities

  4. Similar to the daily routines set, these flashcards made specifically for ESL students who are beginning to learn basic actions like wash your face, wake up, etc. They are perfect for teachers of pre-K or parents who want to get a head start teaching their toddlers about common phrases and actions. This free downloadable comes with 20 colorful cards that kids can cut out. 
  5. 4

    Jobs and Occupations

    It's never too young to start learning about the professional world! This set of flashcards is a student favorite because they often find a card with their dream job on it, or they recognize an occupation that one of their family members has.This is the perfect set to encourage conversation about each students' interests, as well as the pros and cons of each occupation. The set comes with 56 cards, all showing colorful images of common jobs and their titles, such as farmer, musician, carpenter, and fireman. 

  6. 5

    IPA Flashcards

    Teaching the international phonetic alphabet just got a whole lot easier with this set of free flashcards. The cards show the phonetic spelling/pronunciation at the top of the card, and then three examples on the bottom so students can practice pronouncing the sound. You can fold the cards so students can only see the symbol on one side and the examples on the other. 

  7. 6

    Clothing Flashcards

    These clothing cards provide an exciting way to teach ESL students about day-to-day wardrobes and fashion. The set comes with 40 bright-colored, engaging cards that show an image of the clothing item and the name of it written underneath. Use these as conversation starters, or have your students put together their ideal outfit. Download the set for free to use in the classroom or at home for beginners!

  8. 7

    Body Parts - The Face

    One of the most important ESL vocabularly for beginners to learn is about body parts! Use these flashcards to teach students about the main parts of the face, from the mouth to the chin, lips, and ears. There's even some fun ones like a beard. Print these cards out and show them to your class, or have them point to each body part on their own face. The bright, adorable faces on each card will keep your students engaged and eager to learn more!

  9. 8

    Prepositions of Place

    As your beginner ESL students start to learn prepositions of place, this card set will come in handy. Young learners will love the images of adorable monkeys behind, in front of, between, and on palm trees and coconuts. Combining the phrases with the images will further ingrain your students' knowledge and help them recall the prepositions of place in everyday conversation. 

  10. 9

    Irregular Verbs

    Irregular verbs is a tough ESL topic to teach, but these flashcards make it fun for your students. There are several activities you can do in your classroom to reinforce the rules of irregular verbs. For example, you show your students a card and ask them to tell you the past simple or past participle of the words/phrases on the card. The cards are also great conversation starters - you can ask your students to come up with sentences that include the word(s) on the card. The set is excellent for memory games, oral tests, and group work, as well. We recommend laminating this free printable set so you can use the cards year after year!

  11. 10


  12. Kids may not like eating vegetables, but learning about them isn't so bad. Utilizing this card set will broaden your students' vocabulary and help them to identify the names of everyday veggies, as well as ones they may have not seen before. There are 29 cards in the set, and they eat have a realistic image of the food on them with name of the vegetable below it. Teachers can use them in class, but they are also a great set for parents to use at home to keep young ones on top of learning new words. 
  1. 11

    Phonetic Symbols

    These free, printable flashcards are a must for any ESL teacher. They focus on the 46 symbols of English phonetics, from consonants to vowels to stress symbols. Engaging in a memory activity with your students will help them hone in on pronunciation of these symbols and how they are used in the English langauge. Each card shows the symbol on top and a couple examples that they should practice speaking outloud. 

  2. 12

    Fruit Flashcards

    Your students likely have their favorite fruits, but do they know how to speak them in English? These fun fruit flashcards are a joy for kids to work through. The vibrant photos will keep your students locked in, and they can be printed off as small, personal sized cards or as posters, depending on how you'd like to use them. The set includes words like apple, bananca, kiwi, blueberry, lime, mango, and more. 

  3. 13

    Sea Animals

    Beginner ESL students love talking about their favorite things, and more often than not, some of those things are animals! Helping them branch out from common animal words like dog and cat is simple with these realsitics sea animal flashcards. You'll expose your class to words like octopus, seaweed, coral, starfish, shark, and stingray. You'll notice their eyes light up when they see an animal they love or think is interesting. With such vivid photos, these flashcards are excellent at keeping students engaged and ready to learn.

  4. 14

    Basic Colors for Toddlers

  5. Maybe you've got a little one at home that is just starting to learn English, or maybe you're teaching toddlers ESL. Either way, this set of basic color flashcards will give you a strong visual aid. Feel free to laminate these and let the children interact with the cards as they explore these new words. This is a set of 12 and includes cards for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray, black, brown, gold, silver, and white. 
  1. 15

    Physical Description

    Little ones are curious about people - there's no doubt about it, and this set of flashcards will help them delve into that curiosity a bit more. This ESL resource will help your kids learn to describe others and themselves, from hair color to facial features to height, age, and eye color. There are so many activities you can draw from this set, don't be afraid to be creative!

  2. 16


  3. Small talk isn't always fun in the real world, but it's essential when you're teaching students ESL! Use these weather flashcards to introduce basic words and phrases to describe what it's like outside, including sunny, cloudy, rainy, stormy, windy, snowy, hot, and cold. The set comes with images of people in the weather conditions and the corresponding words, so you can use them to give your students a visual, as well as to start a dialogue. Ask them to describe what the weather is like outside today by referencing the cards. 
  1. 17

    Farm Animals

    Beginner ESL students will love getting to know farm and domestic animals with this set of flashcards. Animals highlighted in this set include horse, sheep, cat, dog, cow, and more. These are perfect to use at home for little ones learning the language for the first time, or for primary school students. You can use them for a variety of activities. 

  2. 18

    Parts of the House

  3. What's fortunate about teaching young ones is that they are always curious. They want to what everything is and why everything is, which plays to your advantage as an ESL teacher. This set of printable flashcards introduces another basic topic, parts of the house. Students will be familiar with these items, as they are standard in homes, such as furniture and different rooms. If using these cards at home, have the learner point to the room or piece item in the home as they say the word outloud. If you're using the set in a classroom, you can focus on speaking and memory activities. 
  1. 19

    Personality Adjectives

    Watching children grow and develop into their own personalities is one of the most exciting parts about being a teacher. With this set of flashcards, you get to teach ESL students all about those personality traits. The charasmatic, vibrant images on each of the cards will help connect the dots between the meaning and the phrase on the card. The personality adjectives range from simple terms like happy and silly to more complex words like optimist, bad-tempered, and attentive. 

  2. 20

    Classroom Objects

  3. If you need a fun, thematic activity for back to school days, try these classroom objects flashcards! Not only are the cards full of colorful, enticing images, but these words are completely essential for students to be able to communicate as they enter a classroom setting. The set features words like ruler, notebook, pen, pencil, desk, chair, and more. You'll have endless opportunities to use the cards if you're in a physical classroom and utilize the objects in your room, but they are great to have as a learning tool at home, as well. 


By using these ESL flashcards, beginners will learn quickly and enjoy their experience diving into ESL. If you're looking for more activities for young learners, check out our top speaking and grammar worksheets!


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