Head, Shoulders, Knees, Cone

  1. Icebreaker
  2. Indoor Game
  • 6-10 Players

  • Grades 1-2

  • Cones

  • 5-10 Minutes

This is a great indoor recess game for a group of any size aged first grade and up. In this game, players test their reactions, listening abilities, and conflict resolution skills. Players follow a sequence of instructions, called out by a leader, and ultimately race to an objective when prompted. 


The students who put their hand on top of the cone first are the most successful.

Before You Start

  • Gather the necessary equipment (cones).
  • Review RoShamBo as conflict resolution tool for ties. 
  • Set volume expectations.

Set Up

  • Create a straight line of cones (one cone for every two players in the group).
  • On either side of the cones, create two lines of players. Each cone should sit on the ground in between a pair of students who are facing each other.

How to Play

  • To start the game, the leader calls out one of three instructions 
    • “Head,” “Shoulders,” or “Knees”
  • Players respond by placing both hands on the named body part
  • The leader continues to call out one of the three instructions in a varying order, before giving the last instruction, “Cone!”
  • Players then race to grab the cone, the first player to grab the cone is more successful. 
    • Note: if players are struggling to safely take the cone (e.g. accidental scratching), simply instruct players to place their hand on top of the cone.
  • If players grab the cone at the same time, they can play RoShamBo to decide who was first.
  • To encourage new partners and relationships, after calling “Cone” the leader can have players rotate by asking everyone from one line to move down one cone to face a new partner. The player at the end of the line would then move to the front.


  • Players can play either stand or sitting with legs crossed.
  • Create your own instructions to replace head, shoulder, and knee instructions.
  • Speed up the pace that students receive instructions.