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Simon who? The Story Behind A Playground Favorite Simon Says

2015 Commonwealth Youth Games - Preview Day
(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Simon says, put your hands on your head. Simon says, turn around. Put your hands down. Out! If that gives you flashbacks to standing in kindergarten, arms at your sides, while all your classmates point and stifle giggles, let’s just say you’re not the only one.

Who is Simon? And why do we have to do what he says? Daily Muse says this game is centuries-old and was originally called “Cicero dicit fac hoc”–Latin for “Cicero says do this.” Back in the times of Rome, when revered statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero said to do something, you did it.

So, why Simon? According to Julie Glover, it’s because of Simon De Montfort, a 13th century French-English noble, who commanded so much authority from those around him that he imprisoned King Henry III. She says, if your words outrank the king’s, you should be able to get schoolchildren to pat their heads and rub their tummies at the same time. Theoretically, of course. That’s awfully hard to do–especially while standing on one leg.

Wanna know where some other kids games came from? Follow Julie Glover at her website.

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