Zoo-phonics and Red Light, Green Light

When I was a kid, my classmates and I would often play Red Light, Green Light on the playground at recess. When I became a kindergarten teacher, I took that old childhood game and infused it with Zoo-phonics instruction. It got the kids up and moving while simultaneously letting them practice their Zoo-phonics signals and sounds. 

Because it's so simple to learn, kids as young as 4 can take part. I played it with my sons when they were preschoolers – sometimes in the park and sometimes in our yard. You can also play indoors if you have a wide open space. Best of all, there are no materials needed. Here's how to play:

1. You are the traffic light, calling out commands to the players: green for go and red for stop. 

2. Stand across from the kids in a wide-open area, at least 15 feet apart (more with older kids). You want enough distance so the players can move toward you but not so much that they can't hear you. 

3. Turn your back to the players and call out "green light" and the name of a Zoo-phonics animal such as Allie Alligator, Lizzy Lizard, or Willie Weasel. The children move towards you as fast as possible doing the signal and sound for the animal you named. 

4. Turn around to face the kids and call out "red light." They must stop dead in their tracks. If you catch some still moving, send them back to the starting line. Keep going, moving back and forth between red and green lights.

5. The winner is the child who reaches you first. If the winner is old enough (6+) and can handle a leadership role, she may become the traffic light. 

To play Red Light, Green Light and other fun Zoo-phonics games, you and your child need to know the 26 animals – their signals and sounds. This DVD is all you need. You'll learn them so quickly. Then your child will have the foundation she needs to become an enthusiastic and skilled reader. 

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