This telephone game is also known as ‘Broken Telephone’, ‘Chinese Whispers’ or ‘Pass The Message.’
Regardless of what you call it, it’s a fun game that you can play anywhere, anytime, and with any number of people.
It’s a simple party game as you don’t need anything to play except a few telephone game phrases to get you started.
How to Play the Telephone Game
Teens should stand in a straight line or form a circle. They should stand close enough to whisper in each other’s ear, but be mindful that other participants should not be able to hear them.
Choose an appropriate word or phrase depending on the age of the group of people playing the game.
The first person must whisper the word, phrase, or sentence to the next person in line. They must try to say it as clearly as possible and may not repeat it.
The following person must then whisper what they heard to the next person in line.
Each person will whisper what they heard to the person standing next to them until the message is delivered to the last player in line.
The last person then says the message out loud for everyone to hear.
In most cases, the final message is very different from the original message.
The first player then reveals what the original message was.
The participants will find it hilarious to hear how the original phrase or word has been distorted.
Telephone Game Rules
- Participants should whisper the word, phrase, or sentence only once and may not repeat it. Even if the next person could not hear or understand what was correctly whispered, make sure they continue playing because that is the point of the game.
- Even though you should whisper the words, you should speak slowly and clearly so that the person can hear you.
- Uncommon phrases or hard-to-pronounce words make the game more fun. Words that rhyme and alliteration are great to use as well.
- The original message should only be shared with the first player at the beginning and kept secret until the end of the game.
How Do You Choose a Good Phrase?
To make the telephone game fun, it is essential to have some good phrases.
It will be best to have a few phrases ready before the game starts.
If you want to make it even more entertaining, you should pick words and phrases that are challenging and easy to misunderstand when whispered.
Make the phrase silly enough for teens to have funny facial expressions as they pass the message along.
Alliteration, tongue twisters, rhymes, funny statements, or nonsense phrases are the best terms for children to use in telephone games.
However, when playing with tweens or younger children, make the phrases appropriate for their age. Don’t make them too long or complex for the kids to pronounce or remember.
Watch Jimmy Kimmel playing broken telephone with the Avengers:
Telephone Game Phrases & Sentences
It is best to start with easier words, phrases, or sentences before moving on to more challenging ones.
Here are a few telephone game starter ideas.
Easy Telephone Game Phrases
When playing telephone games with tweens and younger kids, it is best to use easy phrases to get them started.
Below are a few examples.
- Holy Night.
- Topsy turvy.
- Baby shark.
- Crazy fox.
- Grumpy Grandpa.
- Fairy godmother.
- Dainty dishes.
- Hugs and kisses.
- Sparkling water.
- Black crow.
- Mickey Mouse.
- Olive juice.
- League of legends.
- Bluebird blinks.
- Salty and spicy.
- Shark tank.
- Greek grapes.
- Eat Egg.
- Taco Bell.
- Snowflake Sunday.
- Netflix and chill.
- Just do it.
- Angry birds.
- Sugar and spice.
- Jingle Bells.
- Guinea pig.
- Grain of salt.
Short Telephone Game Phrases
This is a list of short, simple, easy-to-guess whisper challenges for the beginning of the game.
After a while, you can shift to the funnier and more challenging phrases, which can be harder to guess.
- Jack and Jill.
- Foggy London awaits.
- It takes two to tango.
- Stop screaming.
- Speak louder.
- She sells seashells.
- Once in a blue moon.
- Oh, never mind.
- You are an angel.
- I like you.
- School is lame.
- I like eggs.
- It’s raining. It’s pouring.
- Pickles on Buns.
- I speak French.
- Nice to meet you.
- Let’s get fast food.
- What do you do.
- Sing a song.
- Macaroni and cheese.
- I got two pickles.
- Cars for cash.
- Pikachu, I choose you.
- I’m growing old.
- I don’t know.
- Pretty pink Petunias.
Funny Telephone Game Phrases
Whether the final message passed along is correct or not, these hilarious whisper challenge phrases will make your teens laugh out loud.
Here are the funniest whisper challenge sentences we found.
- Would you like to sign my petition to have “badminton” changed to “goodminton”?
- Don’t worry, be silly.
- Chocolates make my teeth hurt.
- Swimming in spaghetti is fun.
- These shoes don’t fit my hands.
- The secret password is cock-a-doodle-doo-diddle-doodad.
- Catch your fridge. It’s running away.
- Is my breath awful right now, or is it just me?
- I have an itch that I can’t scratch.
- Oh no, I dropped all my gizmos!
- I’m sending a silly message.
- Would you rather put toffee in your coffee or brie in your tea?
- Don’t move! There’s a massive spider behind you!
- If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a frog.
- I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it well.
- Ghostly gum tastes gooey.
- A camel cannot see its own hump.
- Restless roosters sit on yoga mats.
Watch how quickly the game can go horribly and hilariously wrong:
Hard Telephone Game Phrases
This is one of the few games that becomes more enjoyable and exciting when the phrases seem impossible to understand.
Complex lines are much more difficult to remember and can be easily distorted.
Here are some more challenging alliterations phrases for you to try.
- The angry birds ate candy and crushed the subway surfer.
- Jokers, jesters, and jugglers jingled, jumped, and jigged for the King of Jordan.
- Rabbits rumble, giants grumble, dogs bark in the dark and the cat sat in the hat.
- Did you order dark drool or Jamba juice for lunch?
- We need moldy mothballs to keep the moody mummies quiet.
- I have four fine fresh fish for you.
- A dog named Moose ran loose through the spruce forest chasing a goose.
- Your pet guinea pig ate my pink balloon on a rainy afternoon!
- Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows!
- Musical mice made the muffin mix while humming a melancholy melody.
- The entrance is guarded by a fire-breathing, near-sighted dragon with a fear of heights.
- Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
- Brave soldiers in a blue coat on a blue boat shouted bing bong.
- A pink pig and a pesky donkey flew a kite at night.
- Ice cream, candy floss, and colored candies.
- Black mice chased Micky Mouse into loose piles of leaves.
- Two-colored cans of sweet sugar.
Dirty Telephone Game Phrases
Although these phrases sound a bit awkward, they are difficult to guess.
- I’m sorry I haven’t changed my socks in days.
- I farted, and it smells like a cheesy burger.
- Can you tell me where babies come from?
- He left me high and dirty.
- Eat your heart out.
- Can I nibble on your earlobe?
- Ride him, cowboy!
- I want to lick your toes.
- Coming in like gangbusters.
- I can’t feel my lips. Can I feel yours?
- Knock your socks off.
- Walk softly but carry a big stick.
- Stick it to the big man.
- Can you rub this oil in my back?
- What do you want me to do to you?
Cool Telephone Game Phrases
There is nothing more fun and interesting than games with cool and funny ideas.
You can use some of these cool and funny phrases while you play the broken telephone game.
- I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it well.
- When I grow up, I want to be a pokemon trainer.
- I only Riverdance when I’m happy.
- The best chips are chocolate ones.
- Minions would look weird wearing contacts.
- Kaleidoscopes, Calliopes, and Christopher Columbus.
- Koala bears are cute, and pandas are cuddly little bears.
- The only thing better than a tall, dark, and handsome man is one carrying a pizza box.
- Dumbo’s real name is Jumbo Junior.
- A Taco Bell chicken quesadilla with extra creamy jalapeno sauce.
- Wednesday is hump day but is the camel happy about it.
- Lightning McQueen likes loaded lunches.
- Education is important, but big muscles are importanter.
- Can you catfish a cactus for practice?
- Bob The Builder couldn’t fix Noddy’s car with a toy robot.
Best Telephone Game Phrases
In a telephone game, the best phrases are those that are difficult, hilarious, and bizarre.
The weirder a phrase sounds, the funnier the responses at the end of the round.
The following are some of the challenging yet interesting phrases you can use in your next game:
- Forsooth! What ho! Hey, nonny nonny! Prithee! Yowzers!
- The sound of a raspberry is pppphhbbbbhhtttt.
- I like to read in the shower.
- Get high, climb a tree.
- Don’t move! There’s a gigantic spider behind you!
- The Eagle has landed.
- When I was six, I had a pet guinea pig that I named “Sir Piggysworth.”
- Chinese food is made with sugar and spice, and lots of rice.
- I was voted most likely to become a cat lady in high school.
- Nobody’s favorite food is cabbage.
- I’m growing parsnips, rhubarb, zebras, and hairbrushes in my garden.
- Candy crunching coconut lovers eat tons of toadstools.
- Too blue to make it through to you too.
- I had to fight thorny kumquats with thorny stems all my life.
- Who put a raw fish in my suitcase?
One Word Telephone Game Phrases
You might think that playing the game only saying one word will be easy. However, I’ve found some pretty tricky words to pronounce.
When playing one-word telephone games, one thing to consider is that words should be relatively long and open to misinterpretation.
Here are some one-word telephone game phrases that are hard to say.
Telephone Game Variations
It can be boring to play the same old game repeatedly. While it is fun to play broken telephone, some players might want to try something different.
If you want to add a fun twist to the game, try one of the following variations!
There is a variation of the telephone game called Rumors, in which players intentionally alter one or two words.
Watch how the words become twisted as they spread, just as a rumor does!
Team Telephone Game
The Telephone Game is great for large groups, especially with many players. It works well as a team-building activity.
You can either give both teams the same word or phrase, or you can let them choose one themselves.
Whoever ends the sentence closest to the original will win.
Read My Lips Whisper Challenge
In this version of the telephone game, players must wear noise-canceling headphones so that they cannot hear what the other players are saying.
The first person gets a word or phrase and says it out loud to the next player.
Each person repeats out loud what they think they said until it’s revealed in the end.
Watch BTS play the Whisper Challenge Game in this video below:
Charades Telephone Game
Here’s a wacky version of the game that combines charades with a telephone game. In this variation, the person must act the word or phrase with body language and facial expressions instead of whispering the word.
Watch how to play Charades Telephone Game in the video below:
Drawing Telephone Game
With this variation, the first player selects a word and begins the illustration of that word by drawing a single line.
The next player is quietly informed of the word and must continue drawing with just one line.
At the end of the round, the word is not revealed to the last player, and they must guess it from the drawing!
Every player gets a sketchbook and has to sketch a word from their card. The sketchbook is then passed to the player next to them and they have to guess and write down what they think the drawing is. This process of drawing and guessing continues until you get your original sketchbook back. Then you go through each sketchbook together and see where it went wrong.
Watch how to play Telestrations in the video below:
Text Message Telephone
This is the modern spin on the old-fashioned game of telephone.
Instead of whispering phrases to each other down a line, players send text messages instead using their phones.
The first person writes a short message on a piece of paper and shows it to the next person in line.
The recipient has fifteen seconds to memorize the message.
Then they write a text message, trying to make an exact copy of what they just read.
The first player then shows the message to the second player on their phone for 15 seconds, then takes it away.
Each person gets a turn to read and type the message. Finally, the last person reads their text message aloud.
The group then compares their texts with the original message.
Online Telephone Game Translations
You can download apps for Apple and Android devices that will translate your original phrase into different languages. When it eventually comes back to the original language, you’ll get some hilariously incorrect translations.