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Cause and Effect Game for Kids

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Cause and Effect Game for Kids
Cause and Effect Game for Kids
Image: Amanda Morin

Download the Cause and Effect Tree as a PDF file
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The Cause and Effect Game

Knowing more about cause and effect relationships play a big role in learning about history, literacy, math, science and even social interactions. Once your child has a better grasp on the idea that sometimes events happen as the culmination of a chain of causes and effects, and that sometimes an action or reaction can be both a cause and an effect, you can play a fun cause and effect game to reinforce his newly-learned skills.

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Teaching Kids About Cause and Effect

Skills Being Practiced:

  • turn-taking
  • identifying cause and effect relationships
  • understanding that sometimes events have multiple causes

Materials Needed:

  • pencil
  • sticky notes
  • posterboard
  • dice

How to Play the Cause and Effect Game:

  1. Create your Cause and Effect Game Board either by print the above graphic or-- if you would like a larger, reusable version of the board-- by helping your child draw one. Use a pencil and a piece of poster board to draw a large tree with a lot of branches, each of which should have their own branches as offshoots. Color the game board as desired.

  2. Tape or pin the Cause and Effect Tree to an easily accessible wall or set it in the middle of a flat playing surface. Provide each player with a pencil and place a pad of sticky notes next to the game board.

  3. Roll the die. The player with the highest number goes first.

  4. Player One begins by talking to all the players about an event or final effect. It can be the end result of science experiment, something that happened in a book, a historical event, the end of a movie, or something completely fictional. The only rule is that any book, movie, experiment or historical event Player One chooses has to be one that all the players have read, seen, participated in or learned about.

  5. Once that has been determined, Player One writes the ending on a sticky note and sticks it on the bottom of the tree, or writes it in the "What happened in the end?" square on the printed gameboard. For example, he may write "The Emancipation Proclamation was signed," or "The carnations changed color." (See the Coloring Carnations Experiment for more information.)

  6. Player Two then adds to the tree a cause for that effect. It can be a direct cause, in which case, he places his sticky note right above the “What happened?” square or a contributing cause. If he chooses a contributing cause, he places the sticky note in one of the higher branches of the tree (or writes it toward the top of the game board). He then needs to explain how what he wrote contributed to Player One’s end result.

  7. Player Three now has a choice. He can move Player Two’s note up or down the tree if he can come up with something that occurred earlier in the chain of events and makes Player Two’s cause into an effect. Or, he can add a co-contributing cause on the same branch of the tree that Player Two used. Either way, he needs to explain his cause/effect and how it relates to the other notes on the board.

  8. The game continues until the entire board is filled up or none of the players can think of any more information to add.

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