The Traffic Light Game

The popular game of traffic light is fun to play with a group of children indoors or outdoors. It can be played by both preschoolers and older kids as well. Not only is it a game that can be played with a group, but it’s also really educational so young children can learn while playing it.

Playing traffic lights is good for overall gross motor development and skills such as having good reflexes and body control.  Kids need good balance and control to be able to stop suddenly while running and not move their bodies.

This game reinforces kids’ listening skills and concentration as they have to listen carefully for the words “red light” or “green light” and react correctly with little time to think. This teaches them to follow given instructions and carry them out properly, a skill they will use repeatedly at home and school.

How to Play Traffic Light game.

Traffic Light is best played outdoors with a group of children, but can also be played as an indoor game.

The rules of the games are simple:

  • Children stand in a line against a wall, starting line or on the far side of the playground or a room.
  • Parents must stand opposed to the kids at the finish line or the other end of the room or playground.
  • When you shout “green light” the children must all run/walk towards you, but when you shout “red light” they must stop and freeze.
  • Anyone who moves when you say “red light” must go back to the starting line and start again.
  • The object of the game is to cross the finish line as quickly as possible.

The game ends when the entire group crosses the finish line. Then you can start a new round.

To play the game indoors, kids will not be able to run, but will rather have to be given different actions such as “jumping forwards when you say green light and stop when you say red light.”


Use Signs with Words

Use the game as an opportunity to develop pre-reading skills by making a “STOP” and “GO” sign with the words written on them. Kids will learn to recognize these words by memory so they can add them to the list of sight words they naturally learn from their environment.

Turning around

You can also have different variations of the game such as starting with your back to the kids and calling out “green light.” Then turn around when you say “red light” so you can catch out those who are moving and send them to the start line again.

 Turning around adds a fun element as kids try to freeze before you turn and spot them.

Use of Coloured Signs

Instead of calling the colours out, make signs out of coloured cardboard. Kids must respond to the colour you hold up. This is a great way to teach young kids colour recognition.

You can make up your variations of this game or play it the traditional way with your preschoolers. It’s also a fun game to play with the family.