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ESL Icebreaker Game for Kindergarten: Simon Says

“Simon Says” is a timeless game adored by children across the globe, and it finds a special place in ESL (English as a Second Language) classrooms for kindergarten students.

This game is not just about fun and laughter; it’s a powerful tool for teaching English in an engaging, interactive way. By incorporating basic commands and vocabulary, “Simon Says” is an ideal game to enhance listening and speaking skills in young language learners.

esl icebreaker simon says

Kindergarten Icebreaker – Simon Says

We have loads of icebreaker games here on the site for all ages, you can check out the full list for kindergarten on the link directly below but we also have icebreakers for adults, primary and high school here which you can check out as well.

How to Play

  • Game Setup: The teacher acts as “Simon” and stands in front of the class. The children should have enough space around them to move freely.
  • Basic Rules: The teacher gives various commands starting with the phrase “Simon says,” such as “Simon says touch your nose” or “Simon says jump.” The children must only follow the command if it begins with “Simon says.” If the teacher gives a command without saying “Simon says” and a child follows it, they are gently reminded to listen carefully.
  • Game Variations: As children become more familiar with the game, introduce more complex commands or add sequences (e.g., “Simon says touch your nose, then jump”).

Educational Benefits

  • Enhances Listening Skills: Children must listen carefully to follow the correct commands, which improves their ability to understand and process English instructions.
  • Teaches Common Verbs and Actions: The game is an excellent way to introduce and practice verbs and action words in English, like ‘jump’, ‘sit’, ‘clap’, which are fundamental to language learning.
  • Encourages Physical Activity: The game involves physical movement, making learning active and energetic, which is essential for young children’s development.
  • Promotes Fun Learning: The playful nature of the game creates a fun and enjoyable learning environment, encouraging a positive attitude towards English learning.

Resources Needed

  • Space: A classroom or outdoor area where children have space to move around.
  • No Special Equipment: “Simon Says” requires no special equipment, making it easy to play anywhere, anytime.

Playtime Guidelines

  • Duration: The game is flexible and can last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the children’s engagement and enjoyment.
  • Pace: Start with simple commands and gradually introduce more complex ones to keep the game interesting and challenging.
  • Group Size: Ideal for any class size, from small groups to larger classes.

Adapting to Different Learning Levels

  • For Beginners: Use basic commands and actions. Demonstrate each action as you say it to help children understand and follow along.
  • For More Advanced Learners: Introduce more complex commands, sequences of actions, or even incorporate learning themes (e.g., “Simon says find something blue”).


“Simon Says” is more than just a game; it’s a gateway to language learning for kindergarten students.

It combines the excitement of a beloved children’s game with the educational value of language practice.

By playing “Simon Says,” children learn English in a way that feels like play, creating a foundation for a lifelong love of learning languages.

This game is a testament to the idea that the best learning happens while having fun.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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