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How to Play Simon Says with Kids

Simon Says – also known as Simple Simon Says – is a traditional game played by children all over the world, although it goes by different names. [source]

You probably remember it from when you were a child. Here are the instructions for Simon Says and why it’s a great educational game for the class or home.

There are also some fun Simon Says ideas to try.

Kids jumping up. Text reads "How to play simon says with kids".

How to Play Simon Says 

Here are the rules of Simon Says:

  • One child is chosen to be Simon. 
  • Facing the rest of the children, Simon must give action commands and the children must follow them.
  • If Simon gives a command beginning with the words “Simon Says,” as in “Simon Says clap your hands,” the children must follow the instruction.
  • If Simon gives a command that doesn’t begin with the words “Simon Says,” as in “Clap your hands,” the children must stand still and not follow the command.
  • Anyone who moves when the command does not include “Simon Says” is out and must sit down.
  • The winner is the last child standing.
  • The winner is then Simon in the next round.
  • If playing with very young children, a parent or teacher can be Simon.
Children jumping in the air together

Benefits of Playing Simon Says

This game is perfect for playing at home or in class as it has many educational benefits. Here are just a few:

  • All games like Simon Says are great for building listening skills. Children have to hear and interpret the actions, and decide whether or not to follow the instructions.
  • It’s a simple way to extend a child’s vocabulary by introducing new and familiar words.
  • Children learn to think creatively as they need to come up with new Simon Says prompts.
  • It improves attention span. In order to stay in the game, you need to be concentrating all the time. One wrong move and you will be called out.
Group of primary school children pointing upwards
  • Most of the commands encourage children to use parts of their bodies in movement. This helps to develop body awareness, especially in young children.
  • Simon Says makes for a quick and easy brain break when you want to refocus kids, a transition game when moving on to a new activity, or a calming activity.
  • There’s a reason this game has been around for ages. It’s tons of fun and will keep kids entertained. Children are always learning while having fun.
  • Simon Says is an active game which means kids are moving and developing gross motor skills while playing.

Simon Says Instructions

Simon Says prompts are easy to make up on the spot but here are some ideas to get you started.

For some of these commands, leave off “Simon Says”. Anyone who follows the command is out.

Group of children standing together and showing thumbs ups with both hands
  • Simon says point to the sky.
  • Simon says pretend to talk on the telephone.
  • Simon says turn around and face behind you.
  • Simon says clap your hands three times.
  • Simon says run and touch the wall and come back.
  • Simon says flap your wings like a bird.
  • Simon says draw a circle in the air with your finger.
  • Simon says “moo” like a cow.
  • Simon says pat your friend on the shoulder.
  • Simon says fold your arms.
  • Simon says sit down and stand up again.
  • Simon says touch your left ear with your right hand.
  • Simon says sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
  • Simon says run on the spot as fast as you can.
  • Simon says type on your imaginary keyboard.
  • Simon says tap your nose with your finger.
  • Simon says blink your eyes.

These are just a few ideas for Simon Says. Enjoy playing this wonderful classic game.

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Need more ideas? Try this awesome list of Simon Says commands or these games like Simon Says.

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