One person serves as the “Mother” (or Grandmother, or even Father or Grandfather). Everyone else lines up about 20 feet away from Mother and faces her.
Mother starts at one end of the line and says something like, “Sarah, you may take three big steps forward.” Sarah must respond with, “Mother, may I?” Mother then says “Yes, you may” and the player proceeds by taking the three big steps forward. If Mother says only “Yes” the player cannot proceed.
Mother then moves to the next person in line. Mother can instruct different players to take a different number of steps and different kinds of steps each time (e.g. big steps, baby steps, regular steps, hopping steps).
The game continues until one person finally reaches and touches Mother. Whoever reaches Mother first becomes the Mother for the next round.
The game sounds simple, but as it continues someone inevitably forgets to ask “Mother, may I?” or makes a mistake by moving when Mother says only “Yes.” When either of these things happens, or a player doesn’t take the number or kind of steps designated by Mother, Mother sends the player back to the starting line.