Filed under: Party Games

A classic party game that younger children never get sick of!

Mary Contrary adds a level of complexity and confusion to an otherwise straightforward game.

  1. Line the children up, side by side facing a leader.
  2. The leader then tells the group to do something.
  3. If the leader prefaces the statement with, "Simon says..." then the kids must actually do it. But if this is left off,
  4. If a kid does an action that was not prefaced by "Simon says..." they are out for the round.
  5. They have to continue doing the action until Simon says to stop. This can be a fun way to combine actions, like rubbing their head while standing on one foot. Don't forget to tell them to stop!

Mary Contrary variation

  1. Play Simon Says as usual, except add a second leader giving commands. This person is "Mary Contrary" or "Barry Contrary" if it's a male leader.
  2. When Mary Contrary gives commands, the children must do the opposite. So "hop on your right leg" becomes "hop on your left leg."
  3. If they do the wrong thing, or do an action when not prefaced by, "Mary Contrary says..." they are out for the round.

Alternate idea for Mary Contrary: instead of having a Simon and a Mary Contrary, you have only a Mary Contrary. In this version, if you just say, "Mary says..." they have to do the command, but if you say, "Mary Contrary says..." then they have to do the opposite.

Starter command ideas for the game:

  • hop on your right leg
  • scratch your nose
  • wave at the person on your right
  • give a thumbs up
  • make a peace sign with your fingers
  • stick out your tongue
  • wink with your left eye
  • say "humuhumunukunukuapuaa"
  • beat your chest like an ape
  • pump your fist
  • spin around twice, clockwise
  • grab your right foot with your left hand
  • yell like Tarzan
  • bow or curtsy
  • put your right hand in, put your right hand out
  • shake it all about
  • do the sign language, "I love you"
  • pretend to brush your hair
  • say, "arrr matey!"
  • play air guitar
  • jump as high as you can
  • rub your tummy and pat your head
  • waddle like a penguin
  • give your best puppy dog eyes
  • tick your neighbor
  • yawn like you're bored
  • hug yourself
  • take 2 and a half steps backward
  • kiss your elbow
  • do your best evil laugh
  • leap like a frog
  • look up
  • point to your right leg
  • clap three times
  • put your hands on your hips
  • reach for the sky
  • do the robot
  • freeze
  • do the wiggles

Game Details

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