Action Games

Mother May I?

Summary: Mother May I is a classic kids’ game in which kids request to take a certain number and type of steps (baby, normal, giant, etc.) towards the “mother”.  Kids must remember to ask “Mother May I?” The first to touch the mother wins and becomes the new mother.

Ages: Younger kids. Recommended number of people: Less than 10. Messiness factor: Might break a little sweat. Materials required: None. Recommended setting: Outdoors.

Mother May I (also known as Captain May I)

How to Play

This game is a simple childhood action game that might be good for reinforcing the use of manners. One person is chosen as the “mother” (or “captain” if it is a male).  She or he stands facing away from a line of kids and selects a child at random, or in order.  The mother/captain calls out a direction, step type, and number of steps.  For example, the mother/captain can say: “Scott, you may take seven (or any other number)’ baby/normal/giant steps forward/backward.”The child then responds with “Mother may I?” (or “Captain may I?” if it is a male player in charge).  The mother/captain states “Yes” or “No”, depending on her whim, and the child obeys and takes the steps.  If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?” then he/she goes back to the beginning of the line.  The first one to touch the Mother/Captain wins and becomes the new Mother/Captain.

An alternate version of the game is similar: each child takes turns asking, “Mother/Captain may I take [x kind of] steps?” The child who is mother (or captain) replies yes or no.

There are other kinds of steps possible for this game – be creative and come up with your own.  For example, there are:

  • Bunny hops: hopping like a bunny.
  • Frog hops: going down on all fours and hopping up like a frog.
  • Scissors steps: jump while crossing your feet, then jump while uncrossing them was one step.
  • Skip steps: steps as though one is skipping.
  • Banana step: the child lies down with his or her feet at current spot, noting where the top of his or her head is, and standing up there for the new spot.

(Submitted by Paul A. Thanks Paul!)

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