Following directions activities are a way to build critical skills in impulse control, and this activity is a Zoo U twist on the classic game Simon Says. Students will follow “Principal Wild’s” instructions to make different movements with their body, such as hopping on one foot or hands on their head, only moving when the instruction is preceded by “Principal Wild says…” To challenge their Impulse Control Skills, a few students will act as distractors, trying to engage students in conversation while the instructions are happening. Students will need to focus intently on Principal Wild’s instructions and ignore the distractions to know when and when not to move.
Students Will: Resist distractions to focus on and follow specific instructions.
Materials: Cue cards for distractors
- Line students up in rows facing “Principal Wild.” The Principal Wild role should be played by an adult the first few time, but could potentially be played by an older student as they get the hang of the game.
- Choose one distractor for the start of the game.
- Instruct the distractor that it’s their job to distract the students who are playing while Principal Wild gives instructions. They should do this by talking to them using statements or question, not just by making random noises. If they are not sure what to say, they can use examples from their cue cards. Distractors should move around talking to different students throughout the game. They cannot touch other students or try to distract with gestures, such as waving their hands in front of faces.
- Instruct the remaining students that you (Principal Wild) will be giving instructions on how to move. They should only move when you say “Principal Wild says…” before the action. For example, “Principal Wild says…touch your nose.”
- If Principal Wild just says “Touch your nose” and a student does it, he or she is out of the game, but then becomes a distractor! Hand the student a distractor cue card, and continue the game. The game will become more difficult as more distractors join.
- Students (who are not distractors) may not talk during the game. If they respond to a statement or question from the distractors, they are out and then become a distractor.
- The last one or two students to be left following instructions correctly while resisting distractions are the winners!