Telephone Game – aka Pass the Message, Message Mix-Up Game
Supplies: Group of kids or adults, a phrase and the ability to listen and whisper, 8 or more people.
Send a message seems so easy, unless you have to pass the message through 10 or more people! The Telephone game is a simple games of listening and repeating what you hear, but somehow, as in life, along the way the message changes and often becomes something different from what you started with.
The Telephone game can be played anytime, but makes for a fun ice-breaker. We recommend that you have a minimum of at least 8 people to play this game, it seems to be best when you have 14 or more. The pass the message game is sometimes used at business retreats and workshops to show how messages and their meaning can change as more people interact with the message.
The Telephone Game Prep, Rules & Play
a. The Game/Party Host must come up with a phrase or statement about the birthday person or event honoree. This statement / sentence should be written down because you will need to repeat it at the end of the game. This statement needs to be a little long to make the game challenging and fun. We like the idea of having a few items in the statement. Last the older the kids, the longer the sentence(s).
1. The big brown bear chased Billy through the dark forest just before dusk.
2. A hungry big brown bear chased Billy through the dark forest, mucky swamp and into a cornfield before dusk.
Tips: Write up a few sentences or ideas and then let them sit for a little while and then review. Often one will naturally be your favorite. Use humor, as silly statements are more fun to share and help make the Telephone game interesting.
b. Have your guests be seated around the room or they can stand in line. You may want a little space between each person so that they don’t accidentally overhear what is said. This can happen with kids, so maybe a little music on low in the background so the room is not silent. FYI – If playing at a Birthday Party or Shower the birthday person and/or shower honoree should be last in line to get the message.
c. Now let them know you are going to play Telephone and explain the game.
d. The Game Host will will come up with a sentence concerning the birthday person or the party theme and whisper it with the first player. The first player will listen to the statement and then turn to the next player in line or on their left in the circle and whisper the sentence exactly as they heard it. That person will then turn and whisper it to the next person. This pattern continues until the last person receives sentence.
e. When the last person tells the Birthday person or Honoree the statement, then that person shares the sentence out loud for everyone to hear. Often there will be a lot of laughter as the message will have totally changed while playing the telephone game.
f. Once the final message has been stated, ask that person to repeat it one more time and then ask everyone “Do you want to know what the original message was?” They will all say yes, and then the original message can be shared with the group.