This game involves one person “Simon” giving instructions with or without the cue “Simon says”. When they say “Simon says” the other players must do the action, for example “Simon says touch your toes”, the other players then touch their toes. If they give an instruction without saying “Simon says” then the other players shouldn’t copy, and if they do they could be out of the game, for example “spin around” the players should continue to do the previous action, or stand still. This works best with children who have well established motor imitation and receptive repertoires and you want to teach them to distinguish the stimulus of “Simon says”, or if working with peers, to copy peers actions. If you are playing with just you and your learner, this could be trickier but can be important for your learner to cue into the stimulus of “Simon says” to know that they should complete the action. Hopefully when playing with peers they will successfully follow the instructions (social 9M). If you learner struggles with discriminating the “Simon says” stimulus, but your playing with peers, they can cue into the peers action and imitate them. Imitating peers spontaneously (Social: 5M) is an important skill for children to develop too. Its important that when teaching your learning to imitate peers, you prompt them physically or verbally “look what your friends are doing!”, and avoid transferring the imitation on to yourself; don’t reinstate the instruction or give a model of the action required. This is a great game for peer play and interactions, even if you require a promised reinforcer or preferred activity initially to follow this game (Social 4M, 8M). You can even let your learner have a turn to be Simon (Social: 7M).
Preceding skills reference to the VB-MAPP Assessment tool:
Sundberg, M. L. (2008) Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP. Concord, CA: AVB Press.