File Folder Games – Fun matching games that can be mounted in individual file folders for student use.

File folder games are games for students that are setup up in one of those manilla file folders. Although the purpose of some of these games is just for fun, many teachers have them set up to reinforce skills that students are learning in class. If you think about it, what better way to motivate students to learn than presenting it as a game. You will find that file folder games can be used for many different math and language arts activities. I have even seen it used to help remember the order of the American Presidents. Creativity is your only limit with these. When I first started teaching over twenty-five years ago, I saw my first file folder game being used by a first-grade teacher that I was student teaching for. She went on to explain that file folder games have been around sell since there were file folders. Challenge your students with these varied matching games. They’ll develop different skills as they are asked to match shapes, colors, words, opposites, patterns, faces, associated objects, names, pictures, and mathematical formulas. Each game set can be placed in folders or envelopes for individual use at a table or work station, or mounted on a bulletin board for team play. We recommend that each piece be laminated so they will last longer.

As you click through different categories of file folder games below you will notice a few things. If this is your first time working with file folder games, lets breakdown what each page means and how to use it. The first page tells students how to play and offers the complete directions. This page defines how you can win or lose. We recommend stapling this page to the front of the manilla or colored file folder. The series of pages that follow the directions, should be placed inside the folder. The only thing that you will need to read and observe is the last page which can be considered the answer sheet. In most cases you will staple this to the back of the folder, but in many cases you will need to put it in the middle of file folder and make multiple copies of it, so that more than one student can play at the same time. If this is your first-time using file folder games, I think you are really going to find them handy. Each game set comes complete with instructions for the students and all pages of matching cards, so be sure to print all of them.

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Printable File Folder Games Categories

Click the buttons to see all that is available for each file folder game category.

Color Matching

Students will match cards of colored objects, and/or colors to their correct names. This game help students get a rhythm of how to match words to something else. In this case students learn the words can be used to signify things.

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Color Patterns

Students will match patterns of colors and objects. While this is a shade and coloring based activity it leads directly to math patterns and learning that things have logical sequences.

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Students will match pictures of objects to the correct number card. We use seeds in an orange which is fun and can be seen as an advanced observation skill. It helps to have the actual fruit available as well for some extra motivation.


Students will match opposites, animal pictures and names, associated objects, and more. We have seen teachers have so many uses for this game. Art teachers have used it to teach simple line drawing. Math teachers have used it to teach the concept of symmetry. Some teachers have students cut out the shapes and create a jigsaw puzzle of sorts.


Students will match color and shape patterns. This image reminds the author of her alma mater (Richmond University). Their Men’s lacrosse team has the coolest uniforms.

Addition (Math)

Students will match cards with simple addition problems to the card with correct sum. Time to put all these skills together that we have been playing with and get our math on.