Usually we don’t have to encourage kids to move around and be active. For both moving and stopping, kids can play a Red, Yellow, Green Light game.
The rules of this game are very simple and easy to remember. They are like traffic lights. Red signals a stop, green means it’s okay to run around fast, and yellow is for going slow, just walking along. A big space like a backyard is great but it’s also possible to play this inside. Some houses have a hallway or other space where little kids can run but the green light time might need to be quite short.
Young kids may need a parent, caregiver, or an older child to call the color of the lights. If kids are old enough, they can play this game independently with friends. One person gets to call the color of the light and the other kids either stop, walk, or run.
Movement activities for kids are absolutely essential. They optimize the development of brains, not just muscles. Through physical stimulation and movement, millions of connections for thinking form in the brain.
This red, yellow, green light game adds another layer to play, combining movement and simple rules. Kids match their movement to the color of the traffic light. Even children that can barely talk know red lights mean stop and green means go.
Kids can include sound effects as they play and make screechy brake noises when they hear, “Red Light.” The “Green Light” call invites them to rev their motors and change gears as they run around. And if somebody is too slow for “Yellow Light” it’s okay to honk a horn. Keep some small pieces of paper handy to write a speeding ticket for kids that go too fast and don’t watch out for others.
Do you know what the traffic light said to the cars? “Don’t look. I’m changing.” Has your child played the red, yellow, green light game?