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Playing the Simon Says Game with Children

Play the Simon Says Game with your kids at home or in class and it’s bound to be a hit.

This game has been around for centuries and is popular with kids of different ages. It’s fun, active and makes a great listening activity.

Here’s how to play the game, why it’s so educational and some ideas to try with your kids.

How Do You Play the Game Simon Says?

Here are the rules of the Simon Says game for kids. 

  • One child is chosen to be Simon (a parent/teacher can also be Simon).
  • Simon faces the rest of the children and calls out action commands.
  • If Simon gives a command beginning with “Simon Says,” as in “Simon Says clap your hands,” the children must follow the command.
  • If Simon gives a command that doesn’t begin with “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 begin with “Simon Says” is out and must sit down.
  • The winner is the last child standing.
  • The winner is then Simon in the next round.

The game can be played with two or more children, or even just alone with your child, but is more fun with a group.

What Age is Appropriate for Simon Says?

This game is suitable for multiple ages to play. All you need to do is tweak the commands and rules to suit the age of the kids.

  • If playing with school-aged kids, give more complex commands or give multi-step directions
  • Preschoolers and kindergarteners can follow well if you use clear commands.
  • You can even introduce this game to toddlers, just don’t expect them to understand that they must only follow the command if it begins with “Simon Says.” With time, they will grasp it though.

Simon Says is an easy game to improvise and play in any way that suits your kids. 

Children playing Simon Says with their father

Benefits of Playing Simon Says

Did you know this game has many educational benefits? Here are some reasons why Simon Says is a good game to play.

Gets Kids Moving

Simon Says is an active game, which makes it the perfect way to get kids moving. 

Movement activities are a wonderful way to build gross motor skills and stimulate the senses.

Kids jumping up and down

Brain Break

This game makes the perfect mid-activity or transition activity, also called a brain break

You can play it for just 5 minutes to get your kids up and moving and to help them to focus again.

Listening Skills

The top reason to play this game is that it’s good for developing listening skills.

Listening is a crucial skill to build and games like this teach kids to pay attention and listen. If they fail to listen even for a second, they risk being out of the game.

Not only must they listen for the words “Simon Says” – to decide if they must follow the command – but they must also listen to and interpret the command so they can carry it out.

No Preparation

One of the best things about this game is how easy it is to play at a moment’s notice. It requires no preparation, props or set-up.

Need a quick idea to settle rowdy kids? Is it raining and your outdoor plans have changed? Play Simon Says and you’ll keep your kids happy and entertained.

Build Vocabulary

Need a good vocabulary game to build language skills? Look no further. You can even introduce some challenging verbs if playing with older kids.

Practise Skills

If you’d like to do an activity to build a specific skill, play this game and simply focus on incorporating movements to build it.

You can give commands to work on body awareness, crossing the midline, memory (by giving multiple commands at once), etc.

Child bending to the right

Improves Attention Span

Any game where children are expected to listen carefully and follow directions will improve their concentration span.

Young kids can only focus for short periods of time, but when you get them involved in a game that they’re enjoying, they will stretch the limits of their attention just to keep on playing.

Calming Activity

While this game can be full of fun and giggles, play a silent game of Simon Says to use it as a calming activity for nervous, anxious or over-excited children.

Make a rule that only Simon can call out directions and if you talk or giggle during a round, you are also out.

Simon Says Game Ideas

Here are some simple commands to get you started.

Child puts his hands on his head while playing Simon Says

For most rounds, say “Simon Says” before the command, but every now and again, read the command as is.

  • Close your eyes and turn around
  • Say your name to someone near you
  • Do a jumping jack
  • Stretch up high
  • Clap three times
  • Run to the wall, touch it and run back
  • Holds hands with someone near you
  • Touch something green
  • Say any fruit that comes into your mind
  • Put your hands on your hips
  • Touch your toes

Make up simple commands as you go or try this fun list of Simon Says Ideas if you’d like to try different types of commands.

For a long list of mixed phrases, here’s a list of 200 Simon Says commands. There are also several games like Simon Says that teach similar skills.

Child stretching over and touching the floor. Text reads :"How to play Simon Says with your kid".

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