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How to Play Mother May I

Sharpen your listening skills and coordination by playing a round of Mother May I.


  • Step 1: Designate one player to be "Mother" Designate one player to be "Mother." The other players will be the "children."
  • Step 2: Have them stand on opposite sides Have Mother stand on one side of the room. The children stand in a row on the other side of the room, facing Mother.
  • Step 3: Mother gives the first child a command Have Mother give the first child in line a command, telling the child to move forward in a particular manner.
  • TIP: Be creative with commands. Have children "walk like a monkey" or "hop like a kangaroo."
  • Step 4: The child asks "Mother, May I?" Have the child respond to the command by asking, "Mother, may I?" If the child does not ask permission from mother but performs the command first, they go back to the start line.
  • TIP: For a shorter game, have the children who didn't ask for permission stand in place instead of returning to the start line.
  • Step 5: Mother responds with "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not." Let Mother choose to respond to the question with either "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not."
  • Step 6: The child either moves or stands still Have the child respond by moving forward if Mother says "yes" or staying still if Mother says "no." Pass the play on to the next child in line, who is given another command by Mother.
  • Step 7: Continue playing until one child reaches Mother Continue playing, with each child going in turn, until one reaches Mother. They're the winner, and gets to be Mother in the next round of play.
  • FACT: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared the first official Mother's Day observance in 1914.

You Will Need

  • Three or more players
  • A large room or open space

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