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Statues (also known as Red Light, Green Light in the United States, and Grandmother's Footsteps in the United Kingdom) is a popular children's game, often played in different countries. How the game is played varies throughout different regions of the world.
- A person starts out as the "Curator" (It, Granny, Pooh, etc.) and stands at the end of a field. Everyone else playing stands at the far end (distance depends upon playing area selected). The object of the game is for a "Statue" to tag the Curator, thereby becoming the Curator and resetting the game.
- The Curator turns their back to the field, and the "Statues" attempt to race across and tag the Curator.
- Whenever the Curator turns around, the Statues must freeze in position and hold that for as long as the Curator looks at them. The Curator can even walk around the Statues, examining them. However, the Curator needs to be careful – whenever his back is turned, Statues are free to move.
- If a Statue is caught moving, they are sent back to the starting line to begin again (or thrown out of that round, whichever way is preferred.) Usually, the honesty of the Curator is not enforced, since being a Statue is more desirable.
Red Light/Green Light
Red Light/Green Light (sometimes abbreviated as RLGL) is a variation of statue. The "it" person stands at one end of the playing field, with the rest of the players at the other end. "It" turns their back to the others and calls out "Green Light!" or "1, 2, 3! Red Light! Green Light!" or "Red Light! Green Light! 1, 2, 3!" The players then run as fast as they can towards "it". At any time, "it" can face the players, calling out "Red Light", and the others must freeze in place. If anyone fails to stop, they are out or must return to the starting line. The first player to reach the person who is "it" wins and becomes "it" for the next round.
In the Dutch version, instead of "Green light!" the "it" person sings in a slow voice "Annemaria", followed by a quick and loud "Koekkoek!" ("Cuckoo!") when he/she turns around (like "Red Light!"). "Koekkoek!" is also the Dutch equivalent of a Peek-a-boo game played with babies, where the parents hide their face with their hands, then reveal themselves whilst saying "Peek-a-boo!" (also known in Dutch as "Kiekeboe!").
In this version the Curator is the "Granny" and does not call out anything before facing the players.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh is a variation of Statues where the person playing "Pooh" (the Curator) usually leans against a wall and has to shout "1, 2, 3, Winnie the Pooh, stop!" (so it is long enough for the players to reach some distance and because of the rhyme it provides in Bulgarian, where this version comes from) before turning to face the players. Whenever a player tags Pooh they have to run so it doesn't catch them. If they manage to go back to the wall where Pooh was leaning before it catches them, they become Pooh and the game starts over. In this variation the role of Pooh is more desirable.
Team building exercise
Another variation of the Red Light / Green Light game was altered as a team building exercise. It follows RLGL rules with exception that if anybody moves after the red light the whole team must return to the starting line. Also, the object of the game is for the players to "steal" an "object" positioned near the "it" person and return with it to the other side of the field. Once the "object" is moved it has to stay hidden from "it" who has several guesses as to who has it at the moment. If guessed successfully then the whole team must return to the starting line.
Uno, dos, tres, toca la pared (Spain), Un, deux trois, soleil (France), Daruma-san ga koronda (だるまさんがころんだ, lit. "The Daruma Fell Over" (Japan)), Mugonghwa kkochi pieotseumnida (무궁화꽃이 피었습니다, lit. "The Rose of Sharon Is Blooming" (Korea)), Peili (tr. "Mirror") (Finland), Winnie the Pooh (Мечо Пух, lit. "Pooh Bear") (Bulgaria), (דג מלוח "pickled herring") (Israel), "Annemaria Koekkoek!" (Netherlands), "Ziitigläse" (tr. Reading the Newspaper) (Switzerland), Eén, twee, drie, piano! (Flanders), Un, due, tre, stella! (Italy), Un, dos, tres, pollito inglés! (tr. "One, two, three, little english chicken!") (Venezuela). Instead of calling out the phrase, "Daruma-san ga koronda, you may countdown from 10 to 1.
In popular culture
- Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies said that the statue role in Grandmother's Footsteps was a concept for the Weeping Angel, a recurring monster on the 2005-present show.
- In The Railway Series story Percy and the Trousers, Percy tries to play Grandmother's Footsteps with the coaches, but hits a trolley of trousers.
- Folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary adapted this game into a song called Rocky Road on their 1963 album, In the Wind.
- Howard Papush (2004). When's Recess?: Playing Your Way Through the Stresses of Life. Trafford Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 1-4120-3346-2.