Telephone Pictionary Game: How to Play

Telephone Pictionary (or paper Telephone Pictionary) is a great game to play on a rainy day in or with your friends during a sleepover. Not only is it great fun, but it’s a good way to improve skills, such as creativity, team-building and not to mention the really funny end-results you get every time you play. The basic idea behind the game is that players draw pictures from phrases and as the paper (or story) gets passed around, you start to see that the original message gets lost. When the game finishes you end up with a really funny story written by you and your friends.

Looking for more fun ice breaker games? Try out our would you rather game for kids.

What Do You Need?

Telephone Pictionary doesn’t require anything complicated or expensive, just the following materials:

  • Some pieces of paper
  • A pencil/pen to write or draw with
  • Clipboards are optional (if playing without a table)
  • A group of 6 to 10 players is ideal

How to Play Telephone Pictionary:

Playing Telephone Pictionary is really simple. Before you start playing the game, you must make sure that everyone is sitting in a suitable place, where no-one else can see each other’s papers. Then you can hand out a paper and a pencil (or pen) to each player and make sure each player writes their name in small print at the bottom of the paper (so you know which paper belongs to which player). Now you’re ready to start playing! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play:

  1. Every player should write a random sentence/phrase at the top of their paper. This could be a song lyric, a memorable line from a movie, a slogan you really like or anything else random.
  2. Once everyone has completed their sentence, they should pass their paper to the player on their left. Now every player must draw a picture of the sentence they see on their paper. Draw your picture under the sentence.
  3. When everyone is done drawing their pictures, fold the top of the paper over so you can’t see the sentence. You should still be able to see the picture you have drawn.
  4. Pass this paper to the payer on your left.  Now you will receive a paper with just a drawing on it and no sentence. From the drawing you see, you should write down what you think the original sentence was. Do NOT look at the original sentence, as this is cheating.
  5. When you’re done fold the paper, so you can only see the sentence you just wrote and not the drawing. Then pass this paper to the player and the left.
  6. Repeat these steps until each paper reaches its original player. If you run out of room you can use additional papers, just make sure there is no cheating.
  7. When each player gets their paper back, they can unfold it to reveal a short funny story. You can then share your stories with each other and have a great laugh together as you read through them.

Example Game

To help you understand the rules of Telephone Pictionary and how it works, take a look at this quick example game:

Player #1: Wrote the following starter sentence – She caught a star in a jar.


Player #2: Drew a picture relating to the sentence above.


Player #3: Writes a sentence relating to the drawing only.

Step 3- Telephone Pictionary

Player #4: Draws a picture based on the previous sentence only.

Player #5: Writes a sentence based on the image they see.

Player #6: The final player draws a picture of the previous sentence.

 Player #1: The paper is passed back to the original writer of the sentence. They open up the paper to reveal a short story.

And that’s how you play a quick game of Telephone Pictionary! It’s really interesting to see how a sentence changes as it is passed around to different players.

Game Rules & Tips:

Try to have fun with the game and be as creative as you can. To make Telephone Pictionary even more fun you can throw in some additional things to your sentence or picture, to make the story even funnier (even if this is against the rules).  Oh and don’t worry, you don’t have to be good at drawing to join in, any old scribble would do!

And just in case you want to play by the rules, here are some key Telephone Pictionary rules you should ideally follow:

  • No peeking at sentences or drawings that are folded over.
  • This one’s up to you: Try to avoid adding in additional things you don’t see in the picture or sentences (although it can be fun to do this).
  • Add your name to your piece of paper at the start of the game, so papers are returned to the correct players when the game ends.

Telephone Pictionary is more than just a fun party game, it’s an innovative way to help generate funny story ideas and build up your imagination. It’s also a brilliant way to build friendships and get to know the other players in a fun and creative way.


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