Mother May I?
is a children's game
. Also known as "Captain May I?"
Objective, Rules, and General Gameplay
One player, particularly a female
(but sometimes a male
) plays the "mother" or "father". The other players are the "children". To begin the game, the mother or father stands at one end of a room, while all the children line up at the other end. The children take turns asking "Mother/Father, may I ____?" and makes a movement suggestion. For example, one might ask, "Mother, may I take five steps forward?" The mother/father either replies "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not do that, but you may _____ instead" and inserts his/her own suggestion. The players usually move closer to the mother/father but are sometimes led farther away. Even if the mother/father makes an unfavorable suggestion, the child must still perform it. The first of the children to reach the location of the mother/father wins the game. That child then becomes the mother/father himself, the original mother/father becomes a child, and a new round begins.
Some suggestions that fill in the "Mother, may I ____?" blank include:
- Take (#) steps forward
- Take (#) GIANT steps forward (usually a small number, due to large step size)
- Take (#) BABY steps forward (usually a large number, due to tiny step size)
- Take (#) umbrella steps forward
- Hop forward like a frog, (#) times
- Run forward for (#) seconds
- Crabwalk forward for (#) seconds
- Take (#) CINDERELLA steps - Twirl forward with index finger touching the top of the head (Manhattan, late '40s)
If the "children" are reaching the "mother" or "father" too quickly, the "mother"/"father" may reject the child's suggestion by replacing it with "No, you may not do that, but you may ____ instead."
- (He may reduce the original child's suggestion. For example, he could reduce five giant steps to three giant steps.)
- Take (#) steps backward
- Run backward for (#) seconds
- Walk backward until I (mother/father) say "stop"
- Return to the starting line (in rare cases!)
References in fictional media