Filed under: Active Games, No Prep Games

This simple game is a great no-prep option when you need to burn a few minutes between activities. It's a twist on the classic Red Light, Green Light, but it has many different variations that make it more entertaining.

The game works better in a medium to large room, but we have played it in our small room by making some limitations as noted below the instructions.

  1. Have the children line up, side by side, facing across the room toward a leader.
  2. The leader will call out either "Go!" or "Reverse!"
  3. On "Go!" the children take one step forward, whatever direction they are facing.
  4. On "Reverse!" the children do a 180 degree turn in place. They are now facing the opposite direction.
  5. If "Go" is said they will now take one step toward the starting line.
  6. The first player to reach the finish line wins.

While the core of this game simply rewards children who can take the largest step, we often combine it with other game ideas to make it interesting.

Our favorite variation combines it with The Sun Shines On. The leader picks an attribute or characteristic - say anyone wearing blue, or anyone who likes Finding Nemo - and then combines it with "Go!" or "Reverse!" Only children for whom the attribute applies follow the direction. Everyone else stays put.

To make it more fair, have the leader turn away from the players or have them blindfolded so they cannot pick out attributes for specific players. We prefer to play it with eyes open so we can give some of the younger kids who are falling behind a little nudge if needed.

One other version of the game combines it with Simon Says. Instead of having an open-ended game of Simon Says, there are now only two choices between "Go!" and "Reverse!" To throw the kids off we'll often immediately repeat the action ("Simon Says 'Go!' Go!") but they only move on the first one. Or we'll throw them for a loop by modifying the word ("Simon says 'Goat cheese!'" or "Simon says 'Reverberate!'").

Game Details