Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers
Seven Up (sometimes called "Heads Up, 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. It takes a minimum of 14 children to play the game in its truest sense, but if there is a smaller group to start with, fewer than seven can be picked at the start. This game dates back to at least the 1950s.
To start the game, seven children are selected and come to the front of the room. 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 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. Some people cheat and pick more than one person. They also try to throw someone off by pressing on their thumbs softer or harder. Another common occurrence is for the kids to cheat and look at the shoes of the person who picked them. In the elementary school setting, where windpants or corduroy are common, it is often easy to identify who touched you by the "swishing" noise that is made by one who wears them.
The teacher/selected player then calls, "Heads up, seven up!" or "Heads up, stand up!" All children raise their heads and the seven whose thumbs were pressed stand up. Each in turn names the person they think pressed their thumb. If they are correct, the thumb-presser sits down and the winning child takes their place. The game then starts again.
The child who goes last may have the advantage if other 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
Many teachers who play this game enjoy it because it keeps the children quiet. During the selecting part of the game all children are either intently listening for clues with their heads down or sneaking around trying not to give away their identity. While guessing, one selected child talks at a time, and everyone else quietly and eagerly waits to see if the guesser guessed correctly.