How to play this listening game Simon Says.

For Back to School, we are sharing games that develop school readiness skills. This week's game is great for teaching preschoolers listening and following a short series of directions. The Game of the Week is Simon Says!

Group Size:  Any size

Age Group:  Pre K – Grade 5
Length of Activity:  Under 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To increase listening skills
Equipment:  None

Before You Start: 

  • Play a practice round to make sure everyone understands.
  • Be sure players are clear on the consequences when they do not follow directions.
  • Check that everyone knows how to maintain safe distances between themselves. 

How To Play: 

  • Explain that you are going to give directions to perform a specific movement or sound
  • Everyone should only follow your direction if you first say “Simon Says”
  • If someone follows your direction when you don’t say “Simon Says” they receive a consequence, such as:
    • 10 jumping jacks
    • Touching the ground for a round
    • Getting a high five from a leader
  • The leader can call all types of directions, i.e. touch your nose, toes, etc., stretch to the sky, run in place, jump 5 times, skip high, make silly animal noises, etc.  


  • A basketball version of this is called Shaq Says which might be more appropriate for older children and basketball practice. In this game all of the commands are obviously basketball related. For example: Defense- all the players should go into a defensive position, Slide- all of the players would shuffle their feet once in the direction you move. Other commands are pass, shoot, dribble in front, around your back, between your legs, with your left hand, spin on your finger, dunk, etc.
  • You can be really sneaky and say, “Great job, you can relax and stand up now” and get them all out!
  • Allow others to take on the leader role and be “Simon”.
  • Pre-K:  Instead of saying “Simon says”, say “touch your nose” while touching your nose at the same time. Students should mirror the action and touch their nose. Continue the game, saying touch your ears, touch your knees, etc. When students get the hang of that, say touch your _____, but touch a different body part. Most of the students will copy the movement and laugh when they realize the mistake. 

Find more new and exciting games in our games library!

Love implementing Game of the Week? Playworks Trainers are equipped with oodles of tools and tips to help you get a recess and play program going today. Check out our professional development programs and bring Playworks to your school or afterschool program.


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