The Whisper Challenge. How to Play and 50 Phrases Ideas

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Looking for an exciting game to spice up your party, family reunion, or sleepover? A fun lip-reading game, The Whisper Challenge might be just what you need.

Equally enjoyed by kids and adults alike, this game will allow you to spend some quality time with family and friends and have a good laugh together. But let’s see what this is all about!

What is the Whisper Challenge

We are all familiar with the classical Telephone Game, a popular party ice breaker that consists of whispering a phrase or a word into the ear of the player next to you who will then have to whisper it to the next player and so on.

By the time the original phrase/word is whispered to the last player in line, the participants are already roaring with laughter. 

Well, the Whisper Challenge game is pretty similar. Only that, this time, loud music and headphones play an important role. 

Basically, the Whisper Challenge game is an upgraded version of the classical Telephone game. 

Players form a circle or a line and are challenged to figure out a word or phrase by reading the lips of the player who is uttering it. All that while wearing headphones and listening to music. 

What makes this game extremely fun to play are the errors that usually accumulate in the retellings. 

By the time the original phrase reaches the last player, it has undergone so many wrong corrections that the humorous effect is almost guaranteed. 

The purpose of the Whisper Challenge game is to have fun. So there will be no winner.

The fun factor comes from comparing the final with the initial phrase or word.

If the final phrase contrasts significantly with the original one, it might be interesting to listen to the intermediate interpretations too and see exactly how the message got distorted. Sometimes it only takes a few players to have the phrase garbled. 

To make the game even more exciting, you can agree upon a scoring system before you start playing.

This way, you can have a winner! Or you can opt for other variants. For instance, you can have players retell the lip-read phrase deliberately changing one or two words. 

Or you can even decide to whisper to the next player the first phrase that you associate with the message you have lip-read. 

How to play the Whisper Challenge game

how to play the whisper challenge
Playing the whisper challenge

In order to play the Whisper Challenge game, you will need at least one more player to join in the fun. Obviously, the more the merrier and funnier final results!

The mechanics of the game is not complicated, but it requires certain equipment. Let’s see exactly how to play it. 

There is no limitation of numbers of players

 A large number of players increases the chances of getting hilarious final sentences. The only drawback would be that it takes a lot longer to pass the phrase or word around. But it’s worth it!

Get headphones for all the players 

Once you have figured out exactly how many players will play the game, you have to make sure that there are enough headphones for each one of them.

As we have already explained, the major challenge of the Whisper Challenge game is to have players lip-read while listening to music.

The player who is whispering the word/ phrase can take off his headphones. But all the other participants must wear theirs. 

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure to turn up the music loud enough so that the players cannot hear what is being said.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones work better. However, they are not mandatory. Just turn up the music a little louder to make it up for the ‘technological’ mishap. 
  • If you can, try to use headphones instead of earphones. The reason is simple: earphones cover your ears less than headphones, blocking out less sound.

Think of words and phrases

Now that you know exactly how many you will play the game and have ensured that everybody will wear headphones, it’s time for each participant to think of the words and phrases he/she is going to use.

Obviously, you can use any word or phrase. However, for extra laughter, you shouldn’t make them too easy to lip-read. Figures of speech, absurd sentences, puns, or idioms make awesome choices.

Just make sure not to disclose your phrases to the other players before you start playing. 

PRO TIP:

If you want to spice things up, try to think of phrases or words that are confusing or difficult to guess correctly.

Have the first player say a word or phrase

Pick out the player who will start the game. Once all the players have their headphones on and are listening to music, the selected player will whisper a phrase or word to the player next to him/her who will have to lip-read it.

The word or phrase should then be passed along until it reaches the last player in line.  

PRO TIP:

It is advisable to set a limit on the number of times a player can ask for the phrase to be repeated to him/her. Otherwise, you might waste a lot of time repeating the phrase to the same player. 

Say the word or phrase aloud!

Once the word or phrase reaches the last player, it’s time to get ready for fun! All the players can now turn down the music and take their headphones off.

The last player must now say aloud what he/she has lip-read. The result will more than likely be hilarious, especially if there have been many players involved in the retelling. For extra fun, you can contrast the original phrase with the final one.

Have the next player say his/her phrase or word

Once you have contrasted the two sentences and had your fair share of laughter, it’s time for the next player in line to challenge everybody else with his/her phrase or word.

Continue the Whisper Challenge game like that until the last player in line says his/her phrase or word. If you are still up for fun, start afresh!

50 Whisper Challenge phrases

Now that we have seen exactly how to play the Whisper Challenge game, it’s time to have a look at some phrases you can use and that will more than likely trigger hilarious results. Here are our 50 suggestions:

Proverbs

  1. A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse.
  2. As you sow so shall you reap.
  3. Birds of a feather flock together.
  4. Bread always falls buttered side down.
  5. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Puns

  1. An alligator in a vest is an investigator.
  2. Do clouds wear thunderwear?
  3. Santa Claus’ helpers are known as subordinate Clauses.
  4. A boiled egg every morning is hard to beat.
  5. A cross-eyed teacher couldn’t control his pupils.

Tongue twisters

  1. Cooks cook cupcakes quickly.
  2. The big bug bit the little beetle.
  3. She sells seashells on the seashore.
  4. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
  5. Four fine fresh fish for you.

Nonsensical phrases

  1. Violets are bluer than blueprints.
  2. If you like it, it likes you back.
  3. You can get a lift on an olive leaf. 
  4. Pick a pickle for my toothache.
  5. I took a nap in a gap and fell off.

Funny sentences

  1. Those who throw dirt only lose ground.
  2. After God created the world, everything else was made In China.
  3. I get sufficient exercise pushing my luck.
  4. He who laughs last, didn’t get it.
  5. You’re only as good as your last haircut.
  6. You are what you eat, so avoid nuts.
  7. Sheep look just like candy floss.
  8. I am talking gibberish and you will have to guess it.
  9. My brain has too many open tabs.
  10. Give me a red pencil of any colour.
  11. If you step on a corn flake you become a cereal killer.
  12. Let’s all dance with the Smurfs!
  13. A pink and fluffy unicorn is dancing on the rainbow.
  14. A hotdog is jumping off a bridge.
  15. Sponge Bob kidnapped Mariah Carey. 

Famous movie quotes and lyrics

  1. May the Force be with you!
  2. Hasta la vista, baby!
  3. Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.
  4. Elementary, my dear Watson.
  5. Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?
  6. If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.
  7. The city is cold and empty, no one is around to judge me.
  8. Come in the dark we have cookies.
  9. Pikachu, I choose you!
  10. Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!

Christmas phrases

  1. Good tidings to you and all of your kin.
  2. Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet, jingle around the clock.
  3. Santa will put coal in your socking.
  4. All I want for Christmas is to have my savings back.
  5. Christmas is a time for guessing everyone’s sizes.

Of course, these are only some ideas. You can get as original and tricky as you wish.

If you want to share the fun with those friends who didn’t make it to the party, you can record the game and use social media to get some likes and, maybe, even ideas for phrases and words to use during the next round.

Whisper Challenge game app

The Whisper Challenge game can also be played online by downloading the app from the App Store.

The app can be downloaded for free, features multiple game modes, hundreds of phrases, a scoring system, and allows you to add your own phrases and play your favourite music.

The only drawback is that, since it is a free-to-play game and developers still need to make a living, you will have to deal with many ads. But the fun is worth it.

Can the Whisper Challenge game be used for educational purposes?

The answer is definitely YES. With a little bit of creativity, there can be much more than mere entertainment behind the Whisper Challenge game.

For instance, the game can be used in the classroom to show students how word-of-mouth information is distorted when communicated indirectly.

This way, students will see exactly how gossip spreads and how badly it can affect the persons involved. 

The Whisper Challenge game could also be used in the classroom to help students enhance speaking and listening skills, focus, and attention to detail. The purpose of the game could be adapted.

For instance, students should try to retell the sentence or word as comprehensibly as possible.

The goal is to have the final phrase/word as similar to the original one as possible… if not identical! The used vocabulary should, obviously, be adapted to the age of the participants.

If necessary, additional support (for example flashcards) can be used. Since using headphones in the classroom is rather complicated due to the high number of students, teachers could use a PC or a phone to play background music.

When playing, the teacher could also ask the guessers to cover their ears with their hands.

It is important to remind students that cheating will do nothing but spoil everybody’s fun.  

EFL learners (children and adults alike) could also benefit from the Whisper Challenge game. Teachers could use the game imaginatively to practice the studied vocabulary or tenses.

Similarly, the Whisper Challenge game could be used as a warm-up activity. Warm-up activities are not only relaxing but they are also an efficient way to get students’ attention, boost energy, and create a friendly classroom environment that will ultimately facilitate learning.

It’s common knowledge that kids learn better through play. And the Whisper Challenge offers parents a great opportunity to enrich their children’s vocabulary while spending quality family time.  

To sum up…

The Whisper Challenge game offers children and adults alike the possibility to spend time together in an enjoyable and interesting manner.

Ideal for parties and family reunions, this game will have everybody rolling with laughter! All you need are headphones, music, and a bunch of fun to lip-read phrases or words.

As we have already seen, when used imaginatively, the Whisper Challenge game could also turn into an efficient classroom teaching tool.