If, Then

Thinking & Engaging
Thinking & Engaging
Healthy & Active
Healthy & Active

In this Simon Says adaptation, participants will learn the basic rule of conditional statements used in web coding and computer programming all while getting some physical activity and not spending any time in front of a screen.


  • No materials are need for this activity.


Start the activity in its easiest form then check out the “Modify” section for ways to increase the difficulty.


  1. Designate one child to be the Programmer. The rest will become Computers.
  2. Standing in front of the Computers, the Programmer gives a command, filling in the blanks of, “If I…” and, “then you…” with an action (ie. “If I stomp my feet, then you stomp your feet.”)
  3. After giving the command, the Programmer will do an action. If Programmer’s action is part of the command, then the Computers will follow the command. If the action is not a part of the command, then the Computers do nothing.
  4. Play as many rounds as you see fit and switch up the Programmer so every can try giving commands. Check out the suggestions under “Modify” for how to increase the challenge level.


  • Level 2: If I Do This, Then You Do This Too – The Programmer commands the Computers to do whatever s/he does and to stop whenever s/he does (ie. “If I hum, then you hum”)
  • Level 3: If I Do This, Then You That – The Programmer commands the Computers to do something different than what s/he is doing (ie. “if I hum, then you clap”)
  • Level 4: If I Do This, Then You Do That, Or You Do Something Else – The Programmer commands the Computers to do something different than what s/he does however, if the programmer does nothing, then the Computers must do something else (ie. “If I spin around, then you meow, or you do a jumping jack”)
  • Try this activity using a process of elimination. Whenever the Computers don’t follow the Programmer’s command, the “break” and must sit out. The last Computer wins.


  • Discourage any movements that are beyond the ability of any of your participants.


This activity can take on both a literary or technological focus. With the literary focus, conditional statements are used to describe an uncertain future event that may or may not happen. For example, “If we go to the park, then we can play on the swings.” In technology, coders use “if” “then” and “else” in a special language called queries to command computers to do something. For example, If I Google image search “horses,” Google only turns up images with “horse” in their file name (which may mean that even some photos not of horses will show up). In either case, the idea is that the outcome of the statement or command cannot happen unless certain conditions are met. In other words, whether the action following “then” occurs depends upon whether the action following “if” occurs.

Anne. “If-Then Backyard Coding Game for Kids.” Left Brain Right Brain. Last Updated March 18, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2018, online from: https://leftbraincraftbrain.com/if-then-backyard-coding-game-for-kids/