Seven Up originated as an indoor, children’s classroom game, and has become a party game and icebreaker suitable for any age. Versions include an outside game played with a ball and a card game. We have included three different types of Seven Up games with how to play, rules, and variations.

Inside Seven Up Game

This traditional version of Seven Up is used by teachers as a relatively quiet game when the weather forbids outside recess or as a game just before the children leave for the day. Most of us remember this game from our school days. The goal of this heads up game is for each selected player to guess correctly which person has tapped their head or pressed down their thumb, depending upon the version of the game being played.


  • Seven Up goes by other names, among them “Heads Up, Seven Up,” “Heads Up, Thumbs Up”, “Thumbs Up, Seven Up” or “Heads Down, Thumbs Up.”

How to Play

  1. Everyone puts their heads down on their desks or table and extends one thumb.
  2. The leader or a designated adult chooses one person to be “It.”
  3. “It” goes around touching the thumbs of six people.
  4. Everyone whose thumb is touched, goes to the front of the room.
  5. After all six people are at the front of the rom, “It” joins them and yells, “Seven up!”
  6. Everyone raises their heads and has to guess which of the seven people is “It.”
  7. Those who succeed change places with the person who touched their thumb.
  8. After all players are guessed, changed places, and/or taken their seats, another round is played.


  1. Everyone puts their heads down and extend their thumbs.
  2. The teacher, leader, or a selected player moves around the room, touching seven thumbs and then calls, “Heads up, seven up!” or “Heads up, stand up!”
  3. All children raise their heads and the seven whose thumbs were touched stand up.
  4. Now all the children except for those standing put their heads down. The seven move through the group touching thumbs.
  5. This time when the leader calls, “Heads up. Seven up!” those who had their thumbs touched stand and try to guess which player touched them.
  6. If the standing person guesses correctly, they take that person’s place.
  7. Now the seven players, some new and some not, take a turn touching thumbs while heads are down.

Other Variations

  • You need at least fourteen players, but more is better. If you do not have enough players, have two or three players tap heads or press thumbs
  • To make sure children do not peek, have them cross their arms and then put their heads on their crossed arms.
  • You can have the children who are “It” either press thumbs or tap heads.

Outside Seven Up Game

Played with a ball, parents and grandparents may remember this one from childhood. You need a smooth, flat surface, and a ball that bounces – a tennis ball or a small rubber ball the same size. This fun game works for one player or a group. Play this game against a smooth flat wall, the floor, hard ground, or a garage door.  The object of the game is to bounce the ball against the wall a set number of times, sometimes with a skill attached, as follows:

  • Onesies – Throw the ball against the wall, spin around completely and then catch it before it hits the ground or wall.
  • Twosies – Toss the ball under your leg, bounce it off the wall or ground, and then catch it. Do this twice.
  • Threesies – Bounce the ball on the ground, then use your palm to bat it against the wall and catch it before it hits the floor or ground. Repeat this twice.
  • Foursies – Bounce the ball from the ground to the wall and then back to you (the opposite of what you do for Sixies). Repeat this four times.
  • Fivesies – Bounce the ball on the ground five times.
  • Sixsies – Bounce the ball against the wall and then allow it to bounce once on the ground before you catch it and throw it again (the opposite of what you do for foursies). Repeat six times.
  • Sevensies – Bounce the ball seven times, catching it after the last bounce.

Keep playing, repeating the series above. However, on round two, clap hands once between each throw or bounce and then add another clap for each additional round.

Seven Up Card Game

Seven Up Card Game

The Seven Up card game is a quick, two player game, that takes only about 20 minutes to play. When a player reaches seven points, they win.

You will need a deck of playing cards for this fun two-person game.

How to Play

  1. One player serves as the dealer, shuffling the cards and dealing six cards to each person. The remaining cards are set in a stack with the top card turned up. If the top card is a Jack, the dealer gets one point.
  2. The dealer has the option of letting the suit on the face-up card serve as trump or not. If the dealer does not want that suit, three more cards are dealt to each player and the next card on top of the stack is flipped face up. If the flipped over card is the same suit as the previous one, the dealer continues dealing three cards and flipping over the top card until the trump suit is different from the original the dealer rejected.
  3. At this point, there are two options. Players can either discard additional cards choosing which they wish to keep, until they have six cards again or play with all the cards in their hand.
  4. Now the player who did not deal lays down a card.
  5. The dealer either follows suit or trumps if he is able and desires to do so. The dealer does not have to play the suit if it is available if he or she wishes to trump instead. If she has neither a card in the suit or a trump card, she can lay down any other card.
  6. The winner of this trick is the person who has the highest suit card or who trumps or plays a higher trump card.
  7. Players place the cards they win face down in a pile in front of them.
  8. After each trick, score is taken as follows:
    • One point to the player who has the highest trump card
    • One point to the player who has the lowest trump card
    • One point for having the Jack of trumps.
    • One point to the player with the highest face value total of captured cards
    • Aces count as 4
    • Kings as 3
    • Queens as 2
    • Jacks as 1
    • All other cards count as their face value.
  9. Collect the cards and switch roles of dealer and non-dealer. Continue playing hands, switching the role of dealer each time and counting points.
  10. The first player to score seven points wins. If there is a tie, additional hands must be played until the tie is broken. If two players exceed seven points in the same hand, the higher score wins.


  • Instead of leading the trump card, a player should use their low trump cards to trump the suit that the other player leads. This prevents the player from having to lead with a low trump card at the end of the game and losing it.
  • Games can become longer if the trump takes a while to be chosen, since this results in additional cards in players’ hands.

As you can see, when a person says they like to play “Heads Up! Seven Up” they may be referring to a sit down group game, an active game with a ball, or a card game. Which version of this game you choose, you are sure to have an enjoyable time.