How to Make File Folder Games that Help Kids Learn the Fun Way

A file folder game is a simple way to make a game for fun or for learning a concept that can easily be pulled out for independent learning or concept reinforcement.

We are going to talk about why and how to make file folder games and then make a really cute Very Hungry Caterpillar file folder game that is super versatile and can be used for lots of different learning games based on your learning goals.

Very Hungry Caterpillar File Folder Game - Kids Activities Blog - finished file folder game shown with dice
Let’s play a caterpillar file folder game!

File Folder Games

Free file folder games like this caterpillar game are one of my favorite learning tools to make. They easily fit any theme your children are interested in or that you will be studying. Oh, and they are super easy to store and don’t take up much room at all. You will see that the same pieces can be used from file folder game to file folder game making usefulness exponential.

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What is a File Folder Game?

I loved this explanation…

File folder games are independent activities that you can grab on the go and then can be folded up and tucked away. They’re usually colorful and often feature exciting themes and images, which makes them extra fun for kids. For some reason, even basic activities are more fun with a file folder game.

Exceptional Thinkers
Files for File Folder Games to Make for Classroom or home - Kids Activities Blog - three files in colors red, yellow and blue pictured
Let’s make a file folder game!

Parts of a File Folder Game

A file folder game is generally created for a preschool, Kindergarten or early elementary school concept based around a theme. It uses a traditional office supply type manilla file folder in the following ways:

  • Front of the folder: Game name & instructions
  • Inside file folder (attached to both sides): Game board
  • Inside file folder (storage): Game pieces
  • (Optional) Game piece pocket or stapled storage bag might be attached to the interior of the file folder or a pocket added to the back of the folding file.

Storing File Folder Games at Home or in the Classroom

File folder games are really inexpensive to make and are easily folded and filed away in a traditional filing box, filing cabinet or filing drawer because it doesn’t take up a lot of space. If they will receive a lot of use, laminating them is a great way to keep the fun safe over time. File folder games travel well and can even be taken in large quantities in a file box.

Uses for File Folder Games

My favorite part about file folder games made of paths of dots is that they can be used to practice or assess understanding of a lot of concepts.  Math concepts, language skills,  science vocabulary or social studies facts can all be done with a file folder game.

In the classroom, teachers use file folder games as take it to your seat activities or as the foundation for learning centers in small groups. At home, parents may use in the process of homeschooling, enrichment activities or travel games for long car rides or plane trips.

Caterpillar game for kids: Cute file folder game to make
Let’s make a file folder game with a caterpillar theme.

Make a File Folder Game

Today we are going to make a caterpillar file folder game which is inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It is a great game — open-ended file folder game that could be used to turn whatever learning concept your child is currently struggling with into a game.

In our case, my son has been working on speaking specific letters sounds clearly that give him a challenge.  We have used the caterpillar game to review those sounds. After every four or five words containing those sounds that he says correctly, he gets to roll the die. He then gets to hop the pom pom of his choice forward the number that comes up on the die.  Since I have also been clearly saying those letter sounds, I get too roll the die and move forward the unchosen pom pom.

You could choose anything to “reward” with a roll of the dice making this an extremely flexible learning tool creating different games for their needs. Kids are competitive and motivated to win the game while learning along the way.

File Folder Game Supplies

Directions for Making Caterpillar File Folder Game

Step 1

Choose a beginning and ending spot in opposite corners of the inside of the folder (open file folder). With markers draw (or have your child draw) a caterpillar in the beginning space and the butterfly in the ending space.

Step 2

Plan out a winding trail between the beginning and end using dot stickers. When you are laying them out, think of a traditional board game. It needs to be clear what the path is, but can wind around taking up more space in the file.

Step 3

Set the rules with your child, grab a dice and play.

Our Experience with File Folder Games

I think we will be making more and more file folder fun games at our house.

A simple file folder game has become a great tool, a motivator to successfully work on a particular skill that needs to be worked on in a fun way. I bet you have a skill or two that need to be worked on by your children. It may not be an oral skill like a letter sounds or reciting a fact. You might need to work on writing numbers or letters. It may be larger motor skill or a small motor one. Simply getting the reward of moving down the path on file folder game may be just what they need to inspire them to work on that skill.

Caterpillar Game: Cute File Folder Game for Kids
Oh so many ways to use this file folder game!

More File Folder Games from Kids Activities Blog

Have you ever made a file folder game?   If not, this simple caterpillar game is a great way to start.  For more file folder games and kids activities, you might want to read over these ideas:

Oh! And if you are looking for more Very Hungry Caterpillar activities and crafts for kids, we have those too!

How did you make your file folder game? Are you in file folder heaven yet?

One Comment

  1. What a great idea! This would also make a fun activity to go along with “The Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

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