No Elimination Simon Says

Directions: This works well for groups of 10-20 people. Divide the large group into two teams. Both teams play Simon Says independently so there are two games running in parallel.  It’s fun for the two teams to be just a short distance away from one another–close enough so that members can keep an eye on the other team’s game.

You probably remember the rules of traditional Simon Says: a caller says “Simon says: Put your hands on your head” etc. and players oblige. When the player sneaks in a command without prefacing it with ” Simon Says”, players are supposed to stand still. Those who follow the command are eliminated from the game. The last person left in wins.

The difference between No-Elimination Simon says game and the traditional versions is that a player isn’t out of the game if she does what the caller says to do in without saying “Simon says” first. He or she merely goes to the other team and plays the game with them.

Suzanne’s Note: This is a much more inclusive and jolly version of Simon Says than the classic version. I found this game in Terry Orlick’s excellent book “Cooperative Games and Sports.”  For an extra level of cooperation, do what the players at a democratic ed conference in Portland showed me: Players take turns being the caller. Natch!

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Directions: This game is like the Infinite Story Game described above. Except in this case, players begin their part of the story either with the word “Fortunately” or “Unfortunately.” They then proceed to tell a fortunate or unfortunate development in the story line. Fortunate and Unfortunate parts of the story alternate.

For example Player 1 could say: “Unfortunately, when the man crossed the street he stepped on a banana peel.” Player 2: Fortunately, he didn’t fall when he stepped on the peel. Player 3: Unfortunately, the man skated on the banana peel all the way across the street…” Player 4: Fortunately, there were no cars driving on the street at that time…” Player 5: Unfortunately, the man crashed into an ice cream cart parked along the curb…” Player 6: Fortunately, the man crashed into an ice cream cone and got to taste the best vanilla ice cream he ever had….”

Notes: This is a fun-for-all ages game. It can get quite silly! At the same time it can be a creative challenge and a good exercise for thinking on your feet.

Infinite Story

Directions: Make a story as a group. Each person adds a sentence or two that takes off from where the person before them left the story. Game is over when everyone has a chance (or two or three chances, etc.) to contribute.

Notes: You may want to start the group off by providing the first part of the story. Special occasions can make good story beginnings. For example, on Halloween begin a story about a black cat wandering into a school yard.


Directions: This game is a cooperative version of Hide and Seek. Kids can play it indoors or out. The player who is “It” hides first. Then everyone tries to find “It”. When a player finds “It” he or she stays in the hiding spot spot. The game is over when everyone huddles together in the hiding spot—like sardines.
Note: This is a good game for friends who don’t mind close physical contact.

The Trust Fall

Directions: A small group stands in a circle should-to-shoulder while a volunteer stands in the middle. When the volunteer and group are ready, the volunteer falls with arms at his side and feet in place into the surrounding ring of friends. Needless to say, this builds trust.

Notes: Take common sense precautions with this game: play it on a soft surface and don’t play the game with players who you do not trust to carefully catch and hold the falling volunteer. It can take quite a bit of strength to support a volunteer who really trusts and lets go, so please be sure your group is up to the task!