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How To Play Red Light, Green Light: Kid-Friendly Version

Learn how to play this nostalgic world-famous game — it works indoors and outdoors!

New trends can quickly overtake our kid’s playtime, and Red Light, Green Light is no exception. If you’re wondering how to play this exciting and nostalgic game, we’ve got your back.

We’re exploring the ins and outs of how to play Red Light, Green Light, providing clear instructions for your little ones. With a step-by-step guide for gameplay, including exciting variations like the Yellow light, you’ll be ready for quality family time very soon.

We’ll also delve into the benefits of this game. After all, a fun game with an educational twist is always something we want to add to our repertoire as parents!

Is Red Light, Green Light a Kids’ Game?

Red Light, Green Light is a popular game among kids. Before the release of the Netflix show Squid Game, it was mainly known as a game played by kids. However, in 2021, Squid Game showcased the game in its violent series, which raised concerns among some parents whose children wanted to play it.

However, it’s still an appropriate game for kids (just not the Squid Game version). Whether you’re looking for a game for preschoolers or older kids, this game provides endless fun.

How To Play the Red Light, Green Light Game

Playing Red Light, Green Light is easy, but it’s important that everyone knows the rules before starting. Below are straightforward step-by-step instructions for mastering the game.

  1. Define the area: You can play this game indoors or outdoors. Wherever you play, define the start and finishing line.
  2. Choose the caller: One person should be the caller. They stand at the finish line, facing away from the starting line.
  3. Line up: Gather the remaining players at the starting line, standing side by side.
  4. Shouting Green Light: Facing away from the group (even better with eyes closed), the caller has a few instruction options. First is “Green Light” — when the caller shouts “Green Light,” everyone must run towards the finish line to try tagging the caller.
  5. Shouting Red Light: To prevent the other players from getting to the finish line too quickly, the caller can shout “Red Light” after a few seconds. The caller then must turn around quickly, and the other players need to freeze on the spot.
  6. Getting players out: After shouting “Red Light,” if anyone is spotted moving, the caller can send them back to the starting line, and they have to start again.
  7. Winning the game: The first person to tag the caller wins. They become the new caller, and it’s time for a new game.

Variations on the Game

The simple rules of playing Red Light, Green Light are great for younger kids, but you can mix it up for those experienced with the traffic light game. Below are some variations and new twists you can add to the game for an extra thrill!

Yellow Light

When the caller shouts “Yellow Light,” the other players must slow down and walk slowly instead of running towards the finish line. This is also a great way to teach about traffic control.

Other Colors

Add in other colors with various rules. For example, an orange light can mean skipping. Purple can mean galloping. Blue can mean walking backward.

A Perfect Finish

When we were kids, we played it with a twist. Instead of being the first person to reach the caller, the player had to end perfectly at the finish line when it was a Red Light. So if the caller called out “Green Light” and someone made it to the finish line before the caller shouted “Red Light,” then they had to turn around and head back to the start, making the start and finish line an endless loop rather than a linear A to Z path. If they ended at the finish line when the caller shouted “Red Light,” then they were automatically the winner.

No Running

When playing inside or in smaller areas, no running is allowed. Instead, green means walking, and yellow means slow motion. This means that each round doesn’t end too quickly.

Quick Changes

Surprise players by shouting the commands quickly, with short breaks in between. This will catch players off guard and test their listening skills. You can also shout “Red Light” a few times in a row to see if people are truly paying attention.

Moving Caller

Try playing the game with a moving finish line. The caller can move around after every few commands, making it harder for the players to catch them.

Backwards Edition

Let’s try playing the entire game backward. Whenever an action is called out, players have to run, walk, and stop while facing away from the finish line. This is great for kids of an older age, as it acts as an extra challenge!

Get Into Pairs

Try pairing kids up so they move together throughout the game. This is fun during motion commands but is quite tricky during “Red Light,” as they have to stop simultaneously and ensure they don’t pull each other down.

Create an Obstacle Course

Take it up a notch by introducing an obstacle course to the game. Add cones, hula hoops, or hurdles to the playing area for players to navigate around as they try to reach the caller.

Red Light, Green Light Game Benefits

Are you curious if this Red Light, Green Light game has benefits beyond passing time for kids? It sure does.

First, learning how to play Red Light, Green Light helps develop children’s motor skills, especially for younger kids. This game involves running, walking, and stopping abruptly, which develops both fine and gross motor skills.

Red Light, Green Light also encourages listening skills. Kids have to listen carefully for instructions, which can improve their processing and listening skills. It’s also an excellent reflex test to see how quickly they can react to what they hear.

Besides this, the game improves patience, fosters socialization, encourages special awareness and balance, and even teaches road safety.


What Is the Red Light, Green Light Game Called In Other Countries?

The game has various names depending on the country. In the United States, it’s commonly known as Red Light, Green Light. In the United Kingdom, it’s known as Statues, Grandmother’s Footsteps, or Fairy Footsteps.

In Australia, it’s called Hot Chocolate. In Canada, it’s called Go, Go, Stop! In France, the translation is 123, Sun. Panama has named it One, Two, Three, Grilled Cheese! And in Switzerland, it translates to Reading the Newspaper or One, Two, Three, Star.

What Age Is Red Light, Green Light Appropriate For?

Kids as young as two can play easier versions of this game to work on listening and motor skills. We recommend using red and green signs for younger toddlers.

Typically, this game is best for kids ages four and up and may be enjoyed for many years until early middle school (age 11). But each kid is different. Personally, we think it’s fun even for adults!

Can You Play Red Light, Green Light Online?

Various Squid Game versions are available, such as at Kevin Games, but they’re not the most appropriate for younger kids as they include violence, as seen in the TV show. Even the song in the online game is very creepy! There are many other age-appropriate online games kids can play, such as card games like Uno or Go Fish.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.