Seven Up (game)

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For the card game of the same name, see All Fours.

Heads Up, Seven Up (sometimes called "Seven Up", "Heads Up, Thumbs Up", "Thumbs Up, Seven Up" or "Heads Down, Thumbs Up") is a traditional children's game that is played in primary schools, and to a lesser extent at parties. The goal is for each selected participant to correctly guess the person who pressed down his or her thumb or in some versions of the game, the players have to guess who tapped their heads.

The game is often used by teachers as a relatively quiet indoor pastime for schoolchildren when they cannot go outside to play at recess or lunchtime due to rainy or other inclement weather or at the end of the school day before going home.[citation needed]


To start the game, seven or another number of children are selected and come to the front of the room.[1] The teacher (or selected player) says, "Heads down, thumbs up!" or "Heads down all around!". The children who are not selected then put their heads down, close their eyes, and put up one thumb each. The chosen seven to be it circulate through 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 are correct, they sit down and the winning child takes their place. The game then starts again.[2]

Children who go later 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 (e.g. front to back, or left to right of the room, or around the room).[3]


  • Play provides opportunities for children to develop speech and language abilities and also to practice listening. Whether their play is companion-based with a sibling, peer, or parent, or solo play using imagination, children talk and listen while playing. [4]
  • Teachers recognize students who tend to cheat (as players with their heads down may attempt to open their eyes and/or turn their heads).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McAteer, Amy. "Heads Down, Thumbs Up". Teaching Ideas. 
  2. ^ Murray, Harold James Ruthren. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. New Ed ed. New York: Hacker Art Books, 1946. Print.[page needed]
  3. ^ "Heads Up Seven Up". Games Kids Play.
  4. ^ Coulson, Justin. "The power of play to boost children's development". Kidspot.