How To Play Paper Telephone

If you are looking for a great party game, or perhaps a quick and easy way to entertain at any moment, then paper telephone is perfect. But how do you play paper telephone? We’ll take you through the paper telephone rules and gameplay.

We all remember some of those childhood games that kept our friends and us entertained for hours, but what you may not have known is that there are some fun variations on those schoolyard classics. 

Paper telephone, sometimes known as Telephone Pictionary, is one of those games, taking the playground classic of telephone and adding a physical and artistic element. It’s entertaining and creative, and is not only perfect for kids but can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

Let’s go through how you, too, can play paper telephone.

What is Paper Telephone?

Paper Telephone Game Info image

Paper telephone is a paper-and-pencil version of the classic playground game ‘telephone,’ with Pictionary elements thrown in for good measure. To make it work and make it really fun, you’ll need to gather at least 6 people to play it.

It’s a great group or party game to play, with similar group games including Catch Phrase, HangMan, Mafia, and 5 Second Rule.

If you know how to play telephone, then playing paper telephone will be easy. For those that don’t know, telephone is where you all sit in a line, and one person at the end tells the next person along a phrase. This person then repeats it to the next person along, and so on. 

By the end of the line, the original phrase ‘I went to the supermarket’ might end up something like ‘Mike bent his suit and asked it.’ Paper telephone is a simple adaptation of this classic. There’s no real winner when it comes to paper telephone, but you’re sure to be roaring with laughter when you get to the final stages of the game.

Number of Players: At least 6 players are required.

Ages: All ages.

Difficulty: Very easy.

Length of Play: Depends on the number of players, but an average game could last 30-40 minutes.

Similar To: Catch Phrase; 5 Second Rule.

Main Objective: To see how much the original phrase changes – just like with the game ‘telephone’.

Why We Love It: It’s the ultimate nostalgia trip, harking back to those carefree, schoolyard days – as well as being absolutely hilarious and great fun!

Playing Paper Telephone – What You’ll Need

Setting up a game of paper telephone is easy. All you need is a blank sheet of A4 paper and a pen for each person playing. That’s it!

As it is so easy to play and gather the necessary equipment, there’s no need to go and buy anything, as it’s likely you’ll have everything you need already. However, a fresh pack of A4 paper and a box of pens can always help you out.

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How to Play Paper Telephone

Hand out a sheet of paper and a pen to everyone who wants to play. Then get everyone to sit in a circle and tell them to write at the top of their piece of paper a phrase or sentence. Make sure everyone writes this quite small, though! 

The phrase they write doesn’t have to be anything magical or witty – it can literally be ‘my cat chases mice’, or ‘I don’t like apples’. Once everyone has written something down, they pass their piece of paper to the person to the left.

This person then has to draw the phrase at the top of that piece of paper. Ensure that they don’t draw it too big, as space is a premium with this game. 

Round the Circle

Once everyone has drawn the phrase they read at the top of the page, tell them to fold the paper so that only the drawing is visible and the original phrase is hidden. Then pass the paper to the left again. 

This person then has to write out what they think the original phrase was from what they interpret the drawing to be. Once this person has described what they see in words, they fold the paper over again so only their phrase is showing. They then pass it to the left, and this person has to draw the phrase.

Final Stages of Paper Telephone

This continues around the circle, with each person drawing and writing until the pieces of paper make it back to the original phrase writers. They then have to unfold the page and read aloud the numerous different changes to the phrase that have taken place, and admire the works of art that accompany each phrase too! 

You’re guaranteed some laughs, because even the simplest of phrases will change in some way – unless the drawings are particularly good! You can then repeat the whole process as many times as you like. 

How to Play Paper Telephone – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play Paper Telephone with less than 6 people?

Of course you can – but you might find that the rounds go by very quickly. 6 or more people makes for a longer and more amusing game.

Do I need to be good at drawing to play?

Absolutely not! In fact, it can be even funnier if you’re not very good at drawing, so don’t worry about this at all.

Is it suitable for kids to play?

Paper telephone is suitable for all ages, and especially for kids. You can check out some other fun indoor group games for kids to play if you want to have a look at some alternatives.

Alternatives to Paper Telephone

Playing a game at a party can be a great way of keeping everyone entertained, and paper telephone is a great one for a group. Trivial Pursuit is another great party game, and is a real test for your brain, making it a suitable alternative to paper telephone.

If you are looking for similar games to Paper Telephone, be sure to check out Snaps game.

Check out these awesome group games for teenagers, hand clapping games or get some ideas for some of the best youth group games too.

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