How to Play Simon Says

Two Parts:Playing The GamePlaying With Variations

Simon Says is a fun game that helps in exercising listening skills. This game is fairly easy, but it can quickly turn into a challenge, especially if playing in a large group. Although this game goes by many names worldwide, the fun, basic rules tend to remain the same.

Part 1
Playing The Game

  1. Image titled Play Simon Says Step 1
    Gather your group of players. Simon says is a simple and fun game played by children all over the world. Although Simon says is normally reserved as a children’s activity, people of all ages can play and enjoy the game.[1]
    • Normally, all the players in Simon says remain standing for the duration of the playing round. However, you could also play sitting down.
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    Designate someone as Simon. Within your group of players, designate one person to be Simon. Whoever is chosen to be Simon will then stand in front of and face the rest of players in the group.[2]
  3. Image titled Play Simon Says Step 3
    Understand the role of Simon. Simon is the leader and commander of the group of listeners. Simon gives commands to the group of listeners. Simon’s commands can be given in two different ways: beginning a command by saying, “Simon says…” or simply stating the command.[3] Simon’s goal is to eliminate as many listeners as possible, until there is one listener remaining as the winner.
    • Depending on which way the command is phrased, the group of listeners will either obey the command, or not. Simon eliminates listeners by having them incorrectly obey or not obey commands.
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    Understand the role of the listeners. Listeners must listen closely to what the leader, Simon, commands them to do. If Simon gives a command by first stating, “Simon says…” the listeners must obey Simon’s command.[4] If Simon gives a command without first saying, “Simon says…” the listeners must not obey his command.[5]
    • If a listener incorrectly obeys or does not obey Simon’s command, they are eliminated from the rest of the game round, and must sit out until another game round is started.
  5. Image titled Play Simon Says Step 5
    Give commands as Simon. Because you are trying to eliminate as many listeners as you can, you should try and make your commands tricky to follow. For example, frequently switch up when you give commands preceded with, “Simon says…” Give your commands quickly so your listeners have to make quick decisions on whether to obey your command or not.[6] When someone incorrectly obeys one of your (Simon’s commands), call them out so they can be eliminated from the remaining group of players still in the game. As Simon, you can get creative with your commands; however, some common commands Simon can give include:
    • Touch your toes.[7]
    • Hop on one foot.
    • Dance around the room.[8]
    • Do some jumping jacks.
    • Give yourself a hug.[9]
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    Obey commands as a listener. As a listener, you have to listen and pay attention very carefully to the commands given by Simon. Simon will try to trick you into obeying commands you shouldn’t by giving the commands very quickly.[10] Wait a split second before you go to perform a command, to think back if Simon preceded the command by first saying, “Simon says…”
    • After Simon gives a command (assuming the command is preceded by, “Simon says…”), perform the command until Simon moves on to the next command.
    • If the next command is not preceded by, “Simon says…” continue to perform or hold the previous command.
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    Start a new game. Keep playing until there is one remaining listener left.[11] The remaining listener is the winner for the round, and becomes the new Simon. At the start of a new game round, all the eliminated players are back in the next game.[12]

Part 2
Playing With Variations

  1. Image titled Play Simon Says Step 8
    Counting your own strikes. This variation of the game involves the listeners counting their own personal strikes when they incorrectly obey or don’t obey a command. Simon can set a number of strikes (three strikes, five strikes, etc.), or strikes can be counted as letters of a word. Depending on the word, listeners who spell out the entire word are then out for the rest of the game round.[13]
    • For example, much like the basketball game Horse, strikes can spell out H-O-R-S-E. Once a player spells the entire word, they are eliminated.[14]
  2. Image titled Play Simon Says Step 9
    Play with a theme for Simon. During holidays or certain festivities, the leader of the ground can change their name from Simon. For example, if you’re playing some time around Valentine's Day, Simon says can turn into Cupid says.[15] If you’re playing around the Fourth of July, Simon can change into Uncle Sam says.
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    Incorporate sports activities. “Simon says” can be translated into a fun activity for any sports team, especially teams that have older kids.[16] A volleyball version of Simon says would include all volleyball related commands. For example, Simon might give commands like:
    • Block – All players jump up to block.
    • Dive – All players pretend to dive for a ball.
    • Defense – All players go into their defensive, ready position.[17]
    • Shuffle – All players would shuffle in the direction indicated by Simon.


If you’re Simon, try to give commands quickly. If you’re a listener, wait a second before you go to perform a command.

Article Info

Categories: Party Games for Kids