Using Printable File Folder Games for Learning Fun

Preview: Printable file folder games are the low cost way to bring fun, hands on games into your learning space. Find out what supplies you need to make them, ways to store and organize file folder games, and some ideas for using these games in math and literacy time. Your first and second graders will love practicing parts of speech, addition and subtraction facts and place value. 


Have you ever tried using file folder games for learning activities in your classroom? They are a great tool and a cost effective way to bring hands on games and activities into your learning space. The beauty of these games is that they work with any level - the prep work is similar, just different content.

I've shared why I like using file folder games, what supplies you need to make them and some of my favorite storage ideas. I've also showcased some of my favorite printable file folder games for math and literacy to give you ideas of how to use these with your learners.


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Why File Folder Games?


The reason file folder games are so awesome for classrooms and homeschool settings is that they are generally compact and take up very little space. The game boards are glued to the inside of the folder so that the file folder can close, making the game as flat as possible. Directions can be glued to the back of the file folder so students can easily reference them.

Cost is another huge perk of file folder games. While they take some time to set up, they are generally more inexpensive than store bought games.

The variety of options out there is also a huge perk. If you don't want to design your own, there are plenty of options where you can download file folder games, print and assemble.

Supplies Needed for Printable File Folder Games


The basic supply you are going to need is file folders!! You will need a printer, scissors and possibly a laminator (you can find all my favorite supplies for prepping activities in my Amazon storefront) as well, but mostly you will need file folders!

There are a ton of options out there - from the standard manila file folders to bright colors. I personally love using the colored file folders for games and for lapbooks, because it just makes it pop, especially if there isn't much color on the printable.

Colored File Folders
Standard File Folders

I'm also loving the different designs you can get on file folders. They are a little more pricey, but if you have a theme or color scheme you want to use, this might be for you. This yellow and gray with geometric shapes is fun, polkadots with gold really pop, and of course black and white is always classy.

You might also want to think about a way to store additional pieces for file folder games. You could just use a plastic sandwich bag that you keep inside the file folder when it is not in use. You could also try a reusable sandwich bag - a little more sturdy and eco friendly and I love the zipper option on this one. You are going to want something that will store as flat as possible so the file folder games don't become too bulky when you are using them.

Ideas for Storing Printable File Folder Games

I've done some searching for storage options for all of your file folder games. There are other ideas out there, but these would be some great places to start. Think about:
  • Where will you store the file folder games when students can play with them?
  • Where will you store file folder games when they aren't in use or cover a topic you haven't covered yet?
  • How much space do you have?
  • How many games do you have?
  • How many games will students have access to at one time?

These ideas are also included in my Amazon storefront in the category called Items that I mentioned on my Blog if you want to see and compare them all on the same page at a quick glance.


Portable Desktop Hanging File Folder Holder is a great option if you don't have a lot of space. You could easily store games and place them on a table, shelf, or desk for easy access. This would also be a good option for "teacher storage" to keep games tucked away that students haven't learned to play yet.


File Folder Wall Organizer is another great space saver if you just have a few games to display. This would be great for showcasing the games you have on the current topics that you are studying. Rotate out the games that are displayed in this so that students know what games are available to them. The beauty of this style of organization is that it frees up space on countertops and shelves. You just need wall space or a door to be able to display this vertical display.


Milk Crate File Folder Holder are a great choice for file folder storage. They come in a variety of colors to match your decor. I used to keep two of these under my desk and that is where I stored my math games that could be stored in hanging file folders. Then it was easy for me to flip through and pull out the games we needed each week in math workshop.


Rolling File Folder Holder is a great option for teacher storage, or for storing file folder games that students have access to. The wheels make it easy to move the cart around the room or pull it out at certain times of the day, and then tucking it away during the rest of the day.

Pick the storage that works for you, your needs and your space. If the games are organized and stored in a way that makes it easy to find, it will make things easier for you and your students to find the file folder games when needed and put them back in the correct place.

Printable File Folder Games for Math

File folder games are perfect for math! They make practicing basic facts a whole lot more fun. Make it a game and it isn't such a struggle.
Addition up to 20 file folder games


Students work their way through the game solving addition (up to 20) problems in order to advance through the game. First one to the Finish spot is the winner.



Subtraction within 20 file folder games

Students can practice subtracting within 20. A correct answer means moving forward. A wrong answer means moving back or staying in the same place. Answer keys are included with this file folder game to help decide if the answer was correct if the two players do not agree.



Printable Place value file folder game

\Place value is another great skill that can be practiced using printable file folder games. In this version, students practice identifying and writing numbers by looking at their expanded form, base ten block form or word form.

Printable File Folder Games for ELA

There are so many great ELA skills that can be practiced using file folder games - word work, sight word practice, grammar, and so much more.
Parts of speech file folder game preposition, verb, pronoun

A great way to use file folder games is to practice parts of speech. Students work their way through the game reading the word and determining what part of speech that word is. Answer keys make it possible for students to play independently and solve conflicts that may arise over a wrong answer.

parts of speech file folder game noun verb adjective

Save the most money by buying all 5 file folder games in a bundle.


Are you ready to prep some printable file folder games? You could definitely design your own file folder games, but buying printable versions makes it a lot easier to just download, print, glue, laminate and then you are ready to play.

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