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Red Light, Green Light

Red light, green light is a popular children's playground game. The name is based on the traffic light system, in which a green light means "go" and a red light means "stop." One participant is assigned to be the "stoplight," and stands facing away from everyone else; their role is to direct the other participants throughout the game. The other participants stand some distance away from the stop light and stand in a parallel line facing the stoplight's back. When the stoplight calls out "green light,” participants are able to walk or run towards them. If the stoplight calls “red light”, they immediately turn around and face the participants - if any participant is caught moving at this time they must return to the starting line. The purpose of the game is to reach the stoplight without being caught moving. The participant who reaches the stoplight first becomes the stoplight during the next round.

Is this activity known by any other names?


What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

The origins of this game and its arrival in Canada are unknown.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, the majority of whom are children.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

This game is played year-round in elementary schools, summer camps, and informal children's play.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Red light, green light is organized informally.

Cultural Significance


Is there anything else we should know?



Physical Game

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