Barbie Telephone Game Fun - Learning Through Dreamtopia

Lesson: Communication

Telephone Game

When a game of Telephone leads to a misunderstanding in the real world, Chelsea wonders if miscommunications ever occur in Dreamtopia. That’s exactly what happens when Honey’s barking causes the Mopples to get the wrong message from Barbie. The kids set out to clear things up and calm the panicked Mopples. Back home, everyone agrees that if you aren’t sure about what you heard, always ask for clarification.

Since children’s ability to communicate effectively emerges during preschool years, it is helpful for them to understand the consequences of miscommunication. This activity uses the Telephone game to show how miscommunications can make a big difference.

ACTIVITY: Telephone Game

4 or more children (the more the merrier!) supervised by an adult.

What You'll Need

  • A list of pre-made phrases of varying difficulty.
  • Here are a few suggestions:
    • Dogs dig holes for big bones
    • Chelsea chased a chubby chicken
    • Mommy munched the moose's lunch

What To Do

  1. Have the kids sit in a circle. They should be close enough to one another that they can whisper to their neighbor without the other children hearing what they say.
  2. The first person whispers the phrase to the person next to them.
  3. Players continue whispering the phrase to the next person until the last player is reached.
  4. The last player says the phrase out loud so everyone can hear how it has changed from the start.
  5. A few tips. Kids may only whisper the phrase once, so they need to say it clearly while the other person listens actively. The more the phrase changes, the more fun it is, so avoid familiar sayings. Only the first player should know the original phrase.
  6. Young children may get quite silly playing the telephone game, so it's best to choose the phrases yourself. For the most fun, use rhyming phrases or words that sound similar.

Discussion Questions

  • Use the Telephone game as a springboard to discuss listening skills. What happens to the phrase by the time it gets to the last person? Why are listening skills so important?
  • In the episode, why did the Mopples panic? Did they hear what Barbie actually said?

Follow-Up Activities

Words are one way we communicate, but pictures also tell a story. Using a book the children have not read, have them make up a story to go along with the pictures. Then try this with the book, Tuesday, by David Wiesner.

Books

Tuesday, by David Wiesner (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1991)
Mice Squeak, We Speak, by Arnold Shapiro (G.P. Putnam, 1997)
Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken, by Daniel Pinkwater (Feiwel & Friends, 2010)