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Zoo-phonics and Mother May I

Did you play Mother May I when you were growing up like I did? Many games from our childhoods can get tweaked and become vehicles for teaching Zoo-phonics. The whole idea in Zoo-phonics is to reach children at their level of development – combining their need to move and their curiosity about animals and the world around them. Whether you're working with a small group of youngsters, a whole classroom of students, or just your own child, this Zoo-phonics game based on Mother May I will get everyone on their feet and excited about learning. I played it for years – first with my kindergarten class, then with my two sons, and most recently with my pre-k kids. We always had such fun, especially when the weather was good and we could do it outside. 



Materials: nothing is needed for this game but can use your set of 26 large Zoo-phonics letters if you want


Objective: Be the first one to cross the room, playground, or lawn and reach the Mother.

1. You are the Mother in the game.  Stand about 12 feet away from the children, facing them.

2. The children take turns asking you a question such as: "Mother, may I slither forward like Sammy Snake?"

3. If you say "yes, you may," the child slithers forward like Sammy Snake, making the "s" sound until you say "stop."

4. Or you may say "no, you may not. But you may move forward 3 hops like Rabbit Rabbit." Then the child hops forward, making the "r" sound.

5. If a child forgets to say "mother, may I," she returns to the start.

6. The mother can get creative. A child may ask: "Mother, may I swim forward like Francy Fish?" She may respond: "No, you may not. But you may swim backward like Francy Fish until I say 'stop.'"

7. The first child to reach the Mother is the winner. 

***If the winner is old enough and can handle the job, she becomes the new Mother and you become one of the children.

Have fun!


Do you know the signals and sounds for all 26 Zoo-phonics animals? They are the heart and soul of the program. This instructional DVD will get you and your child on your feet, learning these movement in record time. Find out what sound Bubba Bear makes as he reaches for the honey comb. Find out what Lizzy Lizard does as she sits on a rock, waiting for a fly to eat. It's so much fun to learn these with your child and great exercise, too!

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