At least 3 people, but more people make for more fun

Game play

One player is designated Mother — it can be a girl or a boy — and all the others are Children. Standing on opposite sides of a room or field the children take turns asking “Mother may I _____?” filling the blank with a suggested movement. For example, one might ask, “Mother, may I take five steps forward?” Mother replies, “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not, but you may take _____ instead” and adds a suggestion. Mother may offer an amended suggestion that is a direction the child MUST follow, leading the child closer to or farther from the goal of reaching Mother. Any child who forgets to ask “Mother may I?” must return to the starting line. The first child to reach Mother wins the game and becomes Mother.


Running, walking, and creativity. The fun derives not from the end result, but from the imagination used in the “Mother May I” questions.


The players may ask some of the following of Mother. Mother, may I _____?

  • Take (a number of) steps forward
  • Take (a number of) GIANT steps forward
  • Take (a number of) BABY steps forward
  • Run forward for (a number of) seconds
  • Crabwalk forward for (a number of) seconds

If Mother does not approve of the suggestions she might:

  • Reduce the original child’s suggestion. She could reduce five giant steps to three giant steps.
  • Take (a number of) steps backward
  • Run backward for (a number of) second
  • Walk backward until I (Mother) says, “Stop”

Also in Outdoor Games:
Marco Polo, Ring around the Rosie, Simon Says, Statues, All
See more games:
Card Games | Indoor Games | Pen and Paper Games | Word Games