red light, green light

A couple of red traffic lights against a blue skyRed Light, Green Light is a popular children’s game played in different ways around the world. Here’s the way we play it.

All players line up along one end of the playing field, and one person is chosen to be “it”. That person goes to the opposite end of the playing field, and faces away from the other players. The game begins when “it” calls out “Green light!” The players then run as fast as they can towards “it.” At any time, “it” can face the players, calling out “Red light,” and the others must freeze in place. If anyone fails to stop, they must return to the starting line. The first player to reach the person who is “it” wins and becomes “it” for the next round.


  • Call out different colours that correspond to different actions. For example, “it” may call out “Yellow light!” to make all the other players walk instead of running, “Purple light!” to make them hop on one foot, and so on.
  • Team-building version: If anyone moves when “it” calls out “Red light”, all players return to the starting line, not just the one who moved.

Photo: A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky, by Horla Varlan (CC BY)

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