Cause and Effect Card Game Activity

3.3 based on 52 ratings
Updated on Mar 26, 2014

Bring the fun of card games and comprehension practice together in an innovative way! A great indoor game for older students, this engaging cause and effect activity quizzes your child on cause and effect relationships, and challenges him to use creative thinking skills too!

What You Need:

  • Construction paper or other sturdy paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Scissors

What You Do:


Step 1: Begin by refreshing your child’s memory on cause-and-effect. Students need to understand this relationship in order to make logical story connections. Cause-and-effect is a relationship that writers use to show how facts, events, or concepts happen or come into being because of other facts, events or concepts. Why did your child ace his spelling exam (the effect)? Because he studied for it (the cause). Why doesn't he get allowance this week (the effect)? Because he didn't do his chores (the cause).

Step 2: Both you and your child should take a sheet of construction paper or other sturdy paper and set up two columns with a line down the middle. One side will be for a list of causes and the other, a list of effects. You will be cutting the causes and effects into cards, so make sure to leave enough space. Each of you should come up with 20 cause-and-effect relationships, keeping them secret from the other person. For example:  


Effect Cause
Paul was not able to practice lacrosse today because he had the flu.
John spent all day in the kitchen because all of his friends wanted him to make dinner for them.


Step 3: Cut up your papers so that each cause and each effect is on its own card. Mix all the cards up, position them face down, and draw 7 cards each. Hold these cards in your hand like playing cards, and pile the rest, keeping them face down, on the table or floor between you and your opponent. Take the top card from the pile and place it face up next to the pile so that both people can read it.


Step 4:  Play continues like the card game “Gin,” but with a twist. Here are the rules:

  • Players may match a cause or effect in their hand with an effect or cause on the upturned middle card, or draw a hidden card from the pile.
  • After each turn, players must discard one card into the face-up pile.
  • If a match is made, the player takes the two matching cards and places them on the ground in front of him, but only after his opponent approves the match! This means that your match must make sense when read, and eliminates the possibility of matching any old pair of cards together.
  • Play ends when one player has no cards left, and the winner is the player with the most matches by game's end!

Wondering what makes a match? As long as the cause and effect in the match make sense, it counts!


  • Paul was not able to practice lacrosse today/because all of his friends expected him to make dinner for them. Makes sense! This counts as a match, even though it's not the original cause and effect pair.
  • John spent all day in the kitchen/because he had the flu. This doesn't really make sense, so it doesn't count as a match.

This game will give students a newfound clarity in their reading and classroom analysis of literature. They will understand and absorb so much more with this skill mastered!

Liza Jenkins is a middle school Language Arts teacher and private tutor from Maryland. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.