Cause and Effect Card Game Activity

What You Need:

  • Pencils, pens or markers 
  • Sturdy paper (such as cardstock or construction)
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  • Before diving in, review the principle of cause and effect with your child. Remind her that writers use cause and effect to show the relationship between two facts, concepts, or events, in which one is the result of the other (or others). Give her some examples to put the concept into context. For example, She got 100 percent on the test (effect) because she studied hard (cause). He had a stomachache (effect) because he ate junk food (cause).
  • With your child, fold two sheets of sturdy paper down the middle lengthwise. Draw a line on the fold to split the paper into two columns, and label one column Effect and the other column Cause. Separately, write down 10 examples of cause and effect relationships, leaving enough space to cut each situation into a card. Some examples could include:
Effect Cause
Aiden was not able to go to soccer today because he had the flu.
Mike spent all day in the kitchen because all of his friends wanted him to make dinner for them.
  • Cut up each piece of paper into cards, so that each cause and each effect has its own card. There should be 20 cards total. Shuffle the cards together, and then lay them out face down. Draw 7 cards each, and leave the rest in a stack between you and your child. Flip the card on the top of the stack, and put it face-up next to the stack. You and your kid should both be able to read it.
  • Play the game following the rules below.


  • On their turn, players have the option of picking up the face-up card or choosing a new card from the stack. The object of each turn is to match a “cause” card with an “effect” card.
  • Players must discard one card into the face-up stack after each turn. Players should always have 7 cards in their hands.
  • When a player thinks she’s made a match, she must show the matching cards to her opponent. If the match makes sense, the match will be approved. If not, then she’ll have to try for a new match during her next turn.
  • The game ends when one player has no cards left. The player with the most matches at this point wins.

To determine what makes a match, read the cause and effect together. If they make sense, it counts! Two cards that don’t represent the original cause and effect pair can be a match.

  • Match: Aiden was not able to go to soccer today/because he needed to make dinner for all of his friends. This counts as a match, even if it's not the original cause and effect pair.
  • Not a match: Mike spent all day in the kitchen/because he had the flu. This pair doesn’t count as a match because it doesn’t make sense.

This game offers a fun, hands-on way to practice this skill that will help in the classroom and beyond!

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