A bored toddler and a rainy day can make for a cranky mom. Quiet your little one for a few moments with a game that will both entertain her and settle her down. "The telephone game," also known as "broken telephone," encourages your toddler and any visiting friends to take the time to listen to each other without speaking. It also gives them a chance to practice controlling their bodies and voices by standing still and whispering. It sounds like this game could be Mom's saving grace.

## Keep it Simple

The telephone game works well with a small group of toddlers. Or, if your child is alone, enlist the help of older children and adults. Instruct the participants to form a line or sit in a circle. Think of a simple sentence or a few words. Whisper the words into the ear of the first person in line. That person then shares the words quietly with the next, and so on until the last child, who says the sentence out loud.

## Go for Giggles

Toddlers are natural gigglers, so go for the laughs. By the time the sentence gets to the end of the line, everyone will be hoping it's become something entirely different. Start with a sentence that's funny and a bit difficult to repeat, such as "the worm wore a spotted hat." Hearing how the words get twisted will make the game entertaining for toddlers. As the message gets passed along, participants can ask to have it repeated by saying "operator."

## Telephone Battle

If you have a lot of toddlers over for a big play date or a birthday party, have a telephone game battle. Divide the kids into two rows. Share the same message with the beginning player in each group. Once both starting players hear the message, they can begin to pass it along. The team who repeats the phrase correctly first gets a point. Rotate the group so a new toddler starts the line and begin another round with a new phrase.

## Exploring the Alphabet

To explore the letters of the alphabet while playing the telephone game, dedicate each round to a different letter. Begin with the letter "a." Your first phrase could be something like "All I ate that afternoon was apples." The next round might be "Bob bounced a ball badly." Continue on with the consecutive letters of the alphabet for as long as the toddlers are still interested in playing the game.