How to Play Telephone Pictionary Game (With Tips!)

Playing telephone pictionary is great for family bonding, as a team building exercise, and even a party game. Unlike board games, all you need is a pen, paper, and some creativity to have fun! But how do you play pictionary telephone game? Here’s how. 

What Is Telephone Pictionary

A child sketching.

The pictionary telephone game is a fun, engaging way for any group size! It requires players to start with a phrase, followed by a picture of their interpretation of the initial phrase, then another phrase and a drawing until they reach the end of the paper. 

Unlike regular Pictionary, which can get noisy, silence is imposed throughout a pictionary telephone game – you’ll only speak at the end of the game. 

How to Play Telephone Pictionary

A person writing on a piece of paper

Playing telephone pictionary is not as complicated as you think it is – even young children can immediately pick up the rules and instructions! The game starts with a stack of paper that matches the number of players. 

Then, the first person writes a phrase at the top of the first page, then moves the stack to the person on their left. That person silently reads the phrase, moves the page with the original phrase to the bottom of the stack, and draws a picture of the phrase on the next sheet of paper. 

Again, the stack moves to the left, and the next viewer studies the photo, moves it to the back of the stack of paper, and writes a phrase related to what they saw on the image.

Step 1: Prepare Sheets of Paper Based on the Number of Players

This can be a large game or you can make up teams. You just need as many pieces of paper as there are players or teams around the table. This may be more fun with: 

  • Colored paper
  • Colored markers or pens
  • A timer

You may even want to set up dividers around the table. 

Step 2: Ask Each Player to Number Each Paper

Each player will need to number each piece of paper. Since the phrase will be written across the top of the page, consider numbering the bottom right-hand corner of the stack for ease of reading.

Step 3: Write a Phrase on the First Paper

A person thinking her initial phrase for a telephone pictionary game

Then, each player will put a phrase on the first paper. It can be about anything. If you want to make the game more engaging, use a phrase that has a subject, location, and action. For example, you can put in “A dinosaur in a unicorn costume chasing a chicken across the living room.” 

Step 4: Hand Your Entire Stack of Paper to the Next Person

Once you have the pages numbered and the phrase added, you should then hand over your stack of paper to the person on your left. Basically, the stack of paper from each participant will move counterclockwise. 

paper phrase to the back and draw a picture of the subject, location and action featured in the phrase. 

Step 5: Move the Top Sheet of Paper to the Bottom

Read the phrase on the top sheet and put it to the bottom of the stack. A timer can make this more exciting. You can also impose a rule of silence at this time.

Step 6: Draw a Picture of the Phrase Written on the First Sheet

A kid using a color pencil to draw

On the second sheet of paper, draw your interpretation of the phrase. Again, use a timer to push the excitement level up. You can also use colored pencils and markers! At this stage, you shouldn’t view the first sheet of the stack. 

The next person drawing now has a new phrase, which may or may not match the original phrase. It doesn’t matter. Their job is to draw a new image based on the phrase they were given. Colored sheets of paper, markers and colored pencils can make this more intense.

Step 7: Pass the Stack of Paper Again and Guess the Drawing

Once you have finished your masterpiece, it’s time to pass the stack of paper again to the person on your left. The stack of paper you’ll receive will also have a drawing on its top sheet. You’ll need to guess what it is about and write your answer on the next page.

Step 8: Recite Your Stack

Keep passing until you get your original stack with the phrase you wrote on the first page. Now it’s time to read your results. Since not everyone can draw and can guess the exact phrase, expect hilarious results! 

Pictionary Telephone Game FAQ

How Many Players Can Participate in Pictionary Telephone

There are no limits to the number of pictionary telephone players. We suggest having more players to make this game of drawing and guessing even more exciting and hilarious.

What Do I Need to Play Pictionary Telephone

You need several stacks of paper that match the number of players. If you have ten players, you need ten stacks of ten sheets each. You also need pencils for each member of the group. Colored pencils can be a nice addition as well. If you don’t have that much paper or space, you can divide the players into teams or groups.

Can I Use Any Starting Phrase

Yes, as long as it has a subject and a location. Try to create something with a juxtaposition; think “sofa in a subway” or something with a unicorn to make it easy for the first artist to get started.

Have Fun 

Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive! With the pictionary telephone game, you can bond with friends, family members, and even co-workers using only pen, paper, and some imagination and creativity.


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