- Choose a leader to be Sensei (which means 'teacher") for the first round. You may want to let the birthday child go first.
- Have the leader call out a series of commands; some should start with "Sensei Says..." and some shouldn't. The commands should include blocks and kicks if the children have learned some basic martial arts moves.
- Children who fail to complete a task in which Sensei did say "Sensei says" first and children who complete a task when Sensei didn't say "Sensei says" are out for the rest of the round.
- The winner is the last person who follows all of Sensei's directions correctly, and this child becomes Sensei for the next round.
- If all of the remaining players get "out" at the same time, they should all stay "in" until only one player remains and is named the winner.
- Choose a child to be the leader for the first round; or, if your guests are younger, have an adult be the leader throughout the game.
- The leader will be "Sensei," and the other players must do whatever Sensei says.
- To start the game, the leader should call out a series of commands, such as "Sensei says...touch your nose!" or "Sensei says...hop on one foot!"
- The children must complete every task in which the leader says "Sensei says..." first.
- Randomly, the leader should call out a task without first saying "Sensei says," and all children who complete that task by mistake will be out for the rest of the round.
- Here is a sample dialogue of what the leader could say, along with how the children should react:
"Sensei says...tap your head!" - The children should do as directed.
"Sensei says... touch your left foot with your right hand!" - The children should do as directed.
"Hop up and down!"- The children should do nothing.
"Sensei says... hop up and down!"- The children should hop up and down.
Children are out when they:
- Complete a task that the leader gave without first saying "Sensei says," or,
- Don't complete a task when the leader did say "Sensei says" first.
Play until there is only one player left; that player is the winner and the leader for the next round!