Aim of the game:

This fun activity is very similar to the classic party game ‘Simon Says’ and it’s such a great way of helping children learn to listen and follow instructions. It can be played with one or twenty children, anywhere, at any time. It can be played as an active, physical game or can be adapted to be played on a car or bus journey.

 

 What you will need:

  A hand puppet or toy – this doesn’t have to be fancy, children love a simple sock puppet. You could even have fun creating and decorating one together.

 

 How to play:

  • Introduce the game to your child by telling them you’re going to play a listening game and the puppet will give you the instructions.
  • Explain that  they will have to listen really carefully to follow the instructions that the puppet says.
  • Some examples of instructions might include, “My puppet says….”
    • Touch your toes
    • Hop on one foot
    • Dance
    • Do 5 jumping jacks
    • Close your eyes
  • Increase your complexity of instruction as time goes on. You might also want to set a time limit or number of instructions that you will give to give the game an end point.

 

 

 How to extend:

  • Switch up roles so your child gets to use the puppet and give you the instructions. Make this even more fun by sometimes getting the instructions wrong to see if your child notices!
  • Once your child gets really good at this game give more than one instruction for them to do at the same time. For example, “My puppet says touch your nose and hop on one leg”
  • Help your child to learn time concepts by asking them to follow a sequence of instructions. Some examples of time concept words include ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘first’, ‘then’, ‘next’ and ‘last’. For example, “My puppet says first pat your head, then sit on the floor”
  • Use a range of vocabulary to increase complexity, such as location words. For example, “my puppet says jump on the rug, sit on a chair”
  • Play in a group and take it in turns to be give the instructions with the puppet.
  • If your child is really competent at this game then you could try adding the element of inclusion/exclusion like the traditional game of Simon Says. So your child has to follow the instruction if you say “my puppet says…” but if you just give the instruction then they stay still. 
  • Adapt this game for a car or bus journey into instructions that require less physical movement (e.g. “My puppet says touch your nose with your tongue, or blink your eyes 3 times, or wiggle your nose” etc).
  • If you don’t have a puppet toy the you could just use your hand or pretend there is an invisible puppet on your shoulder.

 

 

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