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Mother, May I?

Mother, May I is a classic game that has entertained children for decades. This is a wonderful game to play outside, and your kids will love learning to both give and receive direction.

Activity Instructions

Have your kids stand in a line in the backyard. Walk several paces away from them and turn to face them. The goal of the game is for them to reach you, but they have to obey your instructions in order to do so. When it is each child’s turn, they will ask if they can move forward a certain number of steps, hops, skips, jumps, etc. Encourage them to be creative with their requests. Also, they must begin each request with “Mother, may I…” When a request is received, you may either grant it or deny it.

If you choose to deny it, you must give your child an alternative. For example, you may deny a request to hop forward three spaces but grant them the ability to skip forward five. When answering, either say, “Yes, you may,” or, “No, you may not. But you may…” After all of the children have made their way to you, choose one of them to play the mother and join the others at the starting line.

Materials

  • Grassy or otherwise soft space

Outcome

This activity will allow you to create fun, lasting memories of a great time spent with your children while teaching them to listen to instructions. This game will also teach them to give instructions, which is an important leadership skill.