Heads up, seven up

Heads up, seven up (sometimes called Thumbs up, seven up or Heads down or Heads down Thumbs up) is a game where each selected participant with their hands raised the players have to guess who tapped their heads. It is played traditionally in elementary schools.[1]


To start the game, seven or another number of individuals are selected and come to the front of the room.[2] The teacher (or selected player) says, "Heads down, thumbs up!" or "Heads down all around!" The children who remain in their seats are to put their heads on the table/desk with their eyes closed and keep one thumb up. The chosen "seven up" children then circulate around the room, secretly pressing down one thumb each and then returning to the front of the room. A variation is simply tapping the person. This part of the game takes about one minute.

The teacher/selected player then calls, "Heads up, seven up!" or "Heads up, stand up!" All children raise their heads and the children whose thumbs were pressed stand up. Each in turn names the person they think pressed their thumb or tapped their head. If they guess correctly, the guesser takes the place of the person who pressed their thumb at the front of the classroom, and the person who pressed their thumb returns to his or her seat. If the person whose thumb was pressed guessed incorrectly, he or she sits down. The game then starts again.[3]

Children who guess later in the seven have an advantage, especially if one or more pickers have been eliminated. To make the game fair, the teacher can alternate the order in which the children are called each time (such as from the front of the classroom to back, or left to right, or some other pattern).[4]


The origin of this elementary school game being played in American classrooms goes back to at least the 1950s, perhaps earlier.[5] A game called seven-up is mentioned in the Ansonia Mirror (Ansonia, Ohio) newspaper of May 13, 1882.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "How to Play Heads Up 7 Up | Heads Up Game". RockbrookCamp.com. Rockbrook Summer Camp. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  2. ^ McAteer, Amy. "Heads Down, Thumbs Up". teachingideas.co.uk. Teaching Ideas.
  3. ^ Murray, Harold James Ruthren (1946). A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. New York: Hacker Art Books.[page needed]
  4. ^ "Heads Up Seven Up". GamesKidsPlay.net.
  5. ^ "Game: Seven Up - Short Lesson". eslteachersboard.com. Retrieved 2017-09-18.