Simon says shape shifting

3-5 years
Child Development
Support play with talk and sign (e.g. interpreting instructions to apply rules of the game; discussion); pretending
Physical Activity

Participating with the children; creativity and self-expression, developing body control skills

Where this can be played
Indoors or outdoors
How to Play

1. Read the “Can You” poem together and invite the children to copy the movements of the animals, adding the sounds each animal makes. Think of different animals and, together, move as they do. Read “If” and have the children pretend to be a grizzly bear and a teddy bear.

          CAN YOU by Margaret Mayo

          Can you…
          Snap like a crocodile
          Curl up like a snail
          Stretch out like a starfish
          To the tips o f your nails?

          IF by Malcolm Carrick

          If I were a bear, a grizzly bear, 
          I wouldn’t politely pull, I’d tear,
          and rip and growl and grunt and scowl
          and make all the squirrels stare.

          If I were a bear, a brown teddy-bear,
          I wouldn’t just sit around in a chair,
          but snuggle and huddle and comfort and cuddle
          any children who might be there

2. Use some of these movements and sounds in a game of Simon Says. Move only when the leader begins by saying “Simon Says” – otherwise stay still. For example, if the leader says “Simon Says be a bear,” the children should move like  bear, but if the leader says “Be a bear” the children shouldn’t move a muscle. Take turns being the leader.

Note:  If children with hearing impairments are playing, use sign and/or show cards illustrating the animals and another card showing “Simon Says.”

Change it up / Alternatives / Additional Options
  • Move like different machines. Read Animachines by Debora Pearson for some ideas. For example, move like a pump, a wheel, a crane, a cement mixer, a washing machine, etc. Use machine movements in Simon Says.
  • Invite the children to pretend they are using: skates, skis, stilts, a scooter, a bike, etc.—and move on these at different speeds and in different directions (e.g. “Zig-zag on roller-blades”).
  • Read Simon Says! By Shen Roddie and invite the children to tell you if they think the animals were playing the game fairly or not, and why.

Adapted from HOP Early Learning Practitioners Resource