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DIY: Red Light/Green Light with a Nutritious Twist

kids playing game outdoors

Many of us remember playing a spirited game of Red Light/Green Light when we were kids. It was a test of our physical agility to go from running to stopping with immediate ease, but it was also a test of our mental ability to quickly process and act on spoken commands.

Nellie Bradley of Greater Richmond Fit4Kids shows us a version of this game that doesn’t just get kids moving. It also gets them thinking about the colorful foods their bodies need to be healthy and strong: yellow squash, green broccoli, red tomatoes and more.

How to Play Healthy Red Light/Green Light

Think of some colors you see in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Make a nice big stoplight that assigns a movement to each color.   Green means go, so run in place when you hear "lime" or "lettuce."  Yellow means slow down, so march in place when you hear "lemon" or "corn."  Red means stop, so hold still when you hear "tomato" or "strawberry."

  • Ask the kids to stand in a nice, open space that gives them plenty of room to move.
  • Explain that you will be calling out the names of several fruits and vegetables.
  • Tell them their job is to think of the color of that food and do the movement for that color until you call out a new one.

Kids can help with the setup by making the stoplight themselves out of construction paper. (If you’re pressed for time, here’s a stoplight you can print out. It even includes a bonus version for foods beyond the red, yellow and green, so you can bring more fruits and veggies into the mix!)

Want to Do More?

You can keep the conversation going with tips on eating more fruits and vegetables and being more active from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.

Fit4Kids also has a Food Explorers curriculum and Active Lesson Plans to get more exercise and nutrition into your child’s school day.

And be sure to check out the PBS Kids website for more nutrition information especially for parents and children.

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