How to Play
Divide the group of kids into two teams. The kids then form two lines holding hands and facing each other. The lines should be 30-50 feet apart. The team chosen to go first calls for a runner from the other line, saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Thomas come over!” Thomas then takes off running and tries to break through the other line. If he breaks through, he chooses one of the kids that he broke through to take back to his team. If he doesn’t break through, he has to stay with the other team. The game ends when everyone is in one line. The game is fun because of the suspense of wondering when your name will be called and wondering whether the runner from the other team will choose you as the weak spot to try to break through. It’s not a highly competitive game as everyone ends up on the winning team; however, Red Rover has been banned on some playgrounds as too rough. Obviously the game works best if the kids are close to the same age. Three practices should definitely be banned. The first is double-linking by holding each other’s wrists or arms. Hands only can be joined. The second is raising the arms high to “clothesline” the runner. The third is thrusting the joined hands outward so that the runner encounters the equivalent of an outthrust fist.
In one of the variations of this game, the player who breaks through a line may choose any player from that team. In a less common variation, the player who breaks through joins the opposing team.
Originally posted on about.com
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