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Know Your Idioms Task Cards – Puzzling Problems Bundle includes 3 sets of fun, problem solving task cards designed to engage students in developing their knowledge of idioms and overall enthusiasm for figurative language.

Each idiom needs to be solved by deciphering a combination of jumbled letters and pictures. You may wish to demonstrate with an example card, but generally students understand the task very quickly.

These cards have been used successfully with:

  • Grades 3-7
  • ESL / EAL / EFL / Grades 4 – 12, University/College, Adult

This bundle contains:

  • 78 cards (25 idioms and one title card per set)
  • Student recording sheet for each set
  • Answer Key (Answers are also in an optional full-sized pdf) for each set
  • Student sentence sheet for each set
  • PDF and PNG Files

The idioms included in Set 1:

  • To get the ball rolling, Cup of tea, Back to square one, All in the same boat, Over the moon, Rip off, To cut corners, Cold turkey, Drive me up the wall, The green light, Under the weather, Fishy, To see eye to eye, Skeleton in the closet, Out of this world, Head over Heels, Out of the blue, Up and running, To fly off the handle, To go the extra mile, In a pickle, A leopard can’t change its spots, In two minds, To be caught red-handed, Barking up the wrong tree

The idioms included in Set 2:

  • Hold your horses, Hit the nail on the head, No big deal, To sit on the fence, On the ball, Blow your own trumpet, On cloud nine, Different kettle of fish, First crack at, A head start, Second nature, A double-edged sword, A drop in the ocean, Over the hill, Cherry pick, Hit it off, A piece of cake, Bigger fish to fry, Second to none, Storm in a teacup, A dime a dozen, To spill the beans, Turn a blind eye, A stone’s throw, Brush up on

The idioms included in Set 3:

  • Apple of my eye, Cost an arm and a leg, Close but no cigar, Mum’s the word, To let the cat out of the bag, Once in blue moon, To win hands down, Bite the bullet, A walk in the park, Neck of the woods, On the cards, All ears, Fish out of water, Hit the sack, At the drop of a hat, Ball is in your court, By the skin of my teeth, For a song, All Greek to me, Finding your feet, Over the top, Pipe down, Run out of steam, Skating on thin ice, Wrap it up


  • Print, laminate and cut the individual cards. (p. 2-8)
  • Print student sheet (p. 9) and provide each student with a worksheet. You may prefer to allow students to work in pairs.
  • Distribute the cards around the room.
  • Students may start at any number and work their way through in any order, but it is helpful to remind students to write the idiom in the same numbered answer box i.e., if they are on card number 12, they should write their answer in answer box number 12.
  • Students check their answers.
  • An extra sheet is provided (p. 11) to have students choose 4 idioms and write 4 sentences to demonstrate their understanding and ability to use it in the correct context. Students may access the cards and definitions while writing their sentences.
  • For higher grades, students are more likely to enjoy being challenged by seeing if they can use two idioms in the right context in the one sentence.