Red Rover, Red Rover!

How To Play Red Rover, Red Rover - Birthday Party Game - Kids

Red Rover might not be a game for the fainthearted. However it´s usually lots of fun! Try and brake through the other team´s chain of holding hands!

Red Rover is one of those games where supervising is really important. Purely because it involves a lot of body contact. As long as everyone playing is informed about the rules the game usually is a breeze though. And really fun at that!

You need

  • At least six players. Three on each team. The more players the longer the game usually goes on for.


Start by dividing the players up into two teams. Have the teams stand opposite each other. They don´t need to be that far apart. About 15 feet is usually enough.

Have the team members of each team stand side by side and form a chain holding hands, while facing the other team.

How to play

  1. One team starts by selecting a player in the other team. They do this by saying “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (name of a player) on over!“.
  2. The player called out (lets say Lisa) now have to try and run as fast as she can between/through the chain of players holding hands in the team that called her over.
  3. If she is able to break through the arms of the players on the other team she gets to go back to her own team. She also gets to steal any one of the two players she managed to brake through at and take that player back to her own team. The stolen player joins the chain of holding hands in the team he or she was stolen off to.
  4. If the Lisa fails to break through the chain of holding hands she instead joins the hand-holding-chain of the team that called her over.
  5. Repeat the process allowing the teams to take turns calling one person at a time out to try and break through respective teams chain of holding hands.
  6. When one of the teams only has one team member left the other team wins.

Game options

Since this game sometime can be a bit rough it´s always a good idea to inform the kids playing to take it easy and go soft on each other. Also make sure that any kid feeling unsure about being in the game of course shouldn’t be forced too. (I hated holding hands when I was young, purely because I felt ashamed of having sweaty hands. Anyway.)

What the kids not participating however can do is to act as help-judges deciding whether someone is actually stopped or not by the hand-holding-chain of any team!

Instead of holding hands: If the kids aren´t that fond of holding hands the option of hooking elbows together with the person next to one also works. This does however makes the breaking through much, much harder.

One more thing: This game is usually really fun to also play adults-only. A bit brutal, definitely. But fun.


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