Simon Says

The Simon Says ESL game is the classic kids game you can use to practise body parts vocabulary, imperatives, or question intonation.

Students for Simon Says ESL Game:4+Time for Simon Says ESL Game:5-15 mins
Resources for Simon Says ESL Game:

With very low level students, you may want to display the body parts vocabulary on the board during the game.

  1. One student stands at the front of the class. The other students stand up facing the board.
  2. The student at the front has to give an instruction e.g. Touch your toes. If they precede that instruction with “Simon says…” (they could also use their own name instead of Simon) the other students have to follow that instruction. Otherwise, they have to remain still.
  3. If one of the students follows an instruction that they are not supposed to, or doesn’t follow an instruction correctly, they have to replace the student at the front.

The game can quickly become too easy for a lot of students. A useful variation in this case is to use intonation as an indicator instead of “Simon Says”. If the instruction is said with the normal intonation it is followed. If a rising intonation is used (as in a question), it is not.

Target Language

Although the Simon Says ESL game is normally for kids, it can also work well with beginner level adults. It is perfect for practising body parts vocabulary using Touch your… or Shake your… instructions.

However you could also vary the instructions to practise imperatives in general. Possible examples could be “Turn around”, “Jump up and down” or classroom instructions like “Stand up”, “Sit Down” etc. Obviously you may want to save the more active instructions for kids classes!

The intonation version is great listening practise; identifying the difference between an instruction and a question being an essential real-life skill.

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