Seven Up (game)

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Heads Up, Seven Up (sometimes called "Seven Up", "Thumbs Up, Seven Up" or "Heads Down, Thumbs Up") is a game where each selected participant guesses the person who pressed down their thumb or in some versions of the game, 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 are not selected then put their heads down, and close their eyes. The chosen seven 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 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 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).[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 (Ohio) Mirror newspaper issue of May 13, 1882.

See also[edit]


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