Mother May I?

two girls holding hands

“Mother May I?” may sound like just a child’s question, but it’s also a fun game for young children that gets them moving!

You need at least 3 players to play “Mother May I?” One player is the mother while the rest of the players are the children. The mother and the children should stand opposite each other in a room or open area outside. To begin, one child asks the mother, “Mother may I _____?” Whatever the child asks the mother should be to take some number of actions that helps the child get toward the mother. The mother can either say “Yes you may,” or “No you may not, but you may ____” (if the mother says no, they must instead offer a different movement that the child may do). Continue playing until one of the children reaches the mother–this child is the winner and becomes the mother for the next game.

Examples of actions that children may request include:

  • “Mother may I take 5 baby steps forward?”
  • “Mother may I take 2 giant steps forward?”
  • “Mother may I take 3 hops forward?”
  • “Mother may I run forward for 4 seconds?”

Examples of suggestions that mother may make include:

  • “No you may not, but you may take 2 giant steps backward.”
  • “No you may not, but you may run backward for 3 seconds.”
  • “No, you may not, but you may walk backward until I say, ‘Stop.'”

Who can your children play “Mother May I?” with this week?


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)