156

“Mashed Potatoes” – A Silly Listening Game

Did you know that listening comprehension is directly related to reading comprehension? It’s true! But helping your child build listening comprehension skills doesn’t have to be boring.

Here is a fun—and sort of silly—way to work on listening skills with your children.

download Mashed Potatoes - a silly listening game

Instructions for “Mashed Potatoes”

  1. Download and print the mashed potatoes, question cards, and serving spoon.
  2. Cut out the activity pieces and laminate for extra durability.
  3. Gather around the table and get ready to giggle!

Playing “Mashed Potatoes”

Place the question cards in a pile on the table.

mashed potatoes listening game playing pieces

Explain to your child that you’re going to ask some questions, but that the answer to every question must be mashed potatoes!

dad asking questions in mashed potatoes listening game

Read a question to your child.

What do you use to wash your hair?

And wait for the silly answer.

Mashed potatoes!

Boy laughing at answer in mashed potatoes listening game

As you play, encourage your child to visualize each silly scenario as he answers the questions. For some added fun, your child can pretend to eat a big spoonful of mashed potatoes as she answers each question.

girl eating mashed potatoes in game

More Ways to Play

Don’t be afraid to get silly with this activity. Here are a few additional ideas:

  • Have your child help you think of more questions to ask.
  • Instead of answering mashed potatoes, come up with some other silly answers such as broccoli soup, chocolate pudding, or applesauce.
  • Play this game at the lunch table and take a bite of real mashed potatoes after each question is answered!

Is there a silly listening game that you enjoy playing with your child? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Comment

Mia

says:

This game would be great for my ELL population. It would create a fun and hilarious environment for them to practice speaking English.

Beth

says:

Thank you for this silly game that we are having so much playing!

Merry

says: Customer Service

LOL, you’re welcome, Beth! So glad you’re having fun with it!

Kristen A.

says:

This is going to be great! Thank you for the idea!

Rosie

says:

So cute!!! I’m chuckling just thinking about how much fun it is! And would be even better with some real mashed potatoes – yum!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Ooooh, now you’re making me hungry! I’ll bet your kids would love that, Rosie!

Maren Bryan

says:

I think my boys would get a hoot out of this one. Thanks!

Lisa

says:

This would be so fun with little guys. We will have to try it.

LeAnn Bowers

says:

This sounds like so much fun! Printing and laminating now!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Have fun with this game, LeAnn! I hope you get a lot of use out of it. 😊

Beth

says:

THis has been great fun! Thank you!

Fathuma

says:

Simon says

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, Simon Says is a great came for practicing listening closely! Thanks for mentioning it, Fathuma.

Jackie

says:

Adorable! I can visualize a lot of giggling!

Allie

says:

This looks like a great game!

Allie

says:

This looks like a great game

Kelly

says:

Fun idea! Great listening activity.

Elizabeth

says:

Very fun! We will be trying this out tomorrow!

Cheryl Lehman

says:

This sounds really fun!

Thia

says:

I love this fun listening game, thanks!

Hannah

says:

My daughter loves to be silly and this is why I love this curriculum so much! To her learning is fun, and I want to keep it that way as long as I can.

Steven

says:

Sending the link to this article to my wife! Definitely something the family and I can enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Steven! I hope your family gets lots of great laughs from this game!

Jen

says:

This would be a good game for my daughter!

Jill

says:

Silly will definitely hold their attention. :)

Kristina

says:

I love this! I will definitely be trying this withthe 3 children I already have and the one on the way! It will be fun for everyone and encourage good listening habits!

Kathleen Villar

says:

My younger kids think this is so much fun!

Jillian H

says:

This would be So much fun with my kids. I can’t wait to try it.

Shelly

says:

This is a great idea for the younger set! My just-graduated daughter (!!!) learned a similar game from a friend’s family called “What’s in your milk?” The first question is always “What’s in your milk?” After the person who is “it” answers this the first time, the rest of the group take turns asking various questions that they come up with which “it” must answer with the original/first answer WITHOUT laughing. My younger kids love it, too. It’s a great car game for our family or get-together game when the teens or tweens come over. Often the questions lead to boys when the girls are together :-)

I never thought of this as a listening/visualizing game, but maybe I’ll encourage it more now that I know it is! I just tested my three younger kids’ auditory processing skills yesterday and confirmed what I already knew: They need to improve their processing. Silliness does not come naturally to me, but I’m going to try! The Mashed Potato game will be a good place to start. Thanks so much for providing it!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shelly,
What a great game your daughter just learned! It sounds hilarious, but it definitely has a component of listening and visualizing to it in order for it to be hilarious. Thank you for sharing this.

Christa

says:

This is a really neat idea!

Buoy momma

says:

So cute. My kids would love this!

melinda

says:

This is a cute idea and looks like lots of fun. We’ll have to try this one.

Nancy

says:

Sounds like fun. I love using games and laughter to make a lesson stick.

Kylie

says:

In our household it’s “rotten bananas”. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kylie,
Ewwww! I think rotten bananas is worse than mashed potatoes. 😊

Nicole Skeene

says:

I could see how this could help students to see that when making predictions, the predictions must be meaningful to the story.

Kathleen pickett

says:

In order to appreciate the humor, the child must process the meaning of the words being read. I have a daughter-in-law named Nicole Skeen! (No e at he end)

Robyn G

says:

I think this is a fun way to teach kids how to visualize as they listen. Can’t wait to try this.

Tiffany Bradley

says:

That sounds so fun!

Karianne

says:

Super fun and super helpful! Thank you!

AAR and AAS are great homeschool products for young children especially.

Christine

says:

So, essentially, they are learning to visualize what they are listening to–seeing it in their “mind’s eye”. Seeing is comprehending? What about later on when information becomes abstract? How does the brain process that in lieu of an image? Am I reading too much into this?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christine,
Great question!

When people recommend visualizing something to understand it, they don’t always mean seeing it like a photograph or movie. It’s more about fully processing it. Many, maybe even most, people are helped by making pictures in their minds, but others struggle to do that with even the most simple scenarios. But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand. It’s just that we really don’t have a good word to explain the thought process that we need to do to think through information in that way. “Visualize” usually works, however, even when the concept is abstract.

For example, I am one of those people that struggle to make pictures in my mind. So when someone gives me driving directions, I cannot “see” what they are saying. Rather, I have to think through how each turn feels. For me, it’s kinesthetic-izing it (to coin a new word).

The important part is practicing the thinking fully through information. With this sort of game, it isn’t hard for most people but, as with most all skills, the more it is done the easier it is. And when this sort of thinking is easy, then thinking through more and more abstract things becomes easier too.

Does this help? Metacognition (thinking about thinking) is a fascinating but complex subject!

Christine

says:

Yes–the idea of fully processing and thinking through something is very helpful. I think that has been a missing piece in my homeschool, actually, because I have focused on attaining a certain volume of work, rather than allowing the thinking to be the work. Does that make sense? Interestingly enough, I have often felt that I struggle with abstract concepts, when perhaps the real struggle is that I have never been taught, or have not taken the time, to really think through the information I am presented with. Thank you for your reply!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christine,
I’m glad my reply was helpful! It’s hard to think of thinking as “work”, isn’t it? But if you have ever tried to focus on your mind on a complex task for 20 minutes straight, you know it is work!

A lot of the work of thinking can be done orally, talking through your thoughts about things. In homeschooling, a lot of deeper learning happens in the oral discussion of what has been learned, making connections with other things, discussing what the most important ideas or concepts of the lesson were, and so on.

With older students, such as high school and above, this sort of thinking can be made somewhat easier by writing out your thoughts. Having to find words to express what you have learned requires you to more fully process the information. This is why popular notetaking methods, such as the Cornell Note-Taking System, has a section of each page dedicated for writing a short summary of the main points sometime after the notes are taken but before too much time has passed.

Thank you for the very interesting discussion!

Patricia McGinnis

says:

Thank you for asking this question. Very helpful information below. I was trying to figure out how playing a game helps with listening – the mechanics of it. Now I think I get it. Thank you, Christine and Robin.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful to you as well, Patricia! I personally love thinking about thinking. 😀

Amy Uptain

says:

Sounds like fun!

Alina

says:

Love this!!!😂🙌🏽🥔spuds and learning!

Jana

says:

What a fun game! A great idea for practicing listening comprehension.

`Kristina T

says:

I know my kids will love this game. Thank you for making it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kristina. Have lots of fun playing it!

Angie

says:

Really want to try it out with my 4-year-old boy in this summer holiday. Thanks a lot for sharing this fun material.

JELindsay

says:

Up and coming preschooler. Love the ideas!

Dawn

says:

Can’t wait to try this with my 4yr old I know she will enjoy it. Thanks for all the great information and fun ways to learn.

Shauna Schulz

says:

Love the variety of activities and games! Thanks!

Sara

says:

Seriously love all of the resources from this organization. Great hints for us homeschool families!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Sara! 😊

Sheila

says:

Sounds like a fun game. Can’t want to try it. Thanks

Sarah G.

says:

My kids would get a kick out of this!

Tammy Lane

says:

This sounds fun. We will definitely be trying this. Thank you!

Erin

says:

Sounds like fun!

Lisa Ingle

says:

My 6 year old would love this!

Dani

says:

This sounds fun. I will try this today! Thanks for the freebies.

Clara

says:

Wow,for sure they will like this!

Michelle

says:

Anytime I can use a game for learning I do, because it makes learning so fun! Thanks for this idea!

Felicia B

says:

This looks fun!

Stacey

says:

Great ideas. Thank you.

Jackie G

says:

Listening & reading comprehension are skills my son needs to work on. Never thought about making it fun with a game like this.

Faith C

says:

I cannot wait to try this with my granddaughter! I can see her face now…….

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Faith,
Have lots and lots of fun! 😊

Renae Burks

says:

Thank you for this game. We always enjoy new printable games from AAR.

Angela

says:

I’m sorry but I am a litle confused here. I don’t really understand how thus game helps listening skills. Aren’t the children replying with the same answer no matter what the question? It seems that this would just encourage some silly fun but not really listening. What am I missing?

Kelli

says:

I think the point of the game is visualizing what you are hearing – That’s what makes it funny. Visualization is an important skill in listening comprehension that some kids (including my own) really struggle with.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
You ask a great question!

If your children think the game is silly fun, then they are comprehending. Answering every question with the same answer without comprehension would result in no humor. Kelli’s answer is spot on (thank you, Kelli). Good comprehension, listening or reading, requires the individual to be able to visualize or otherwise internalize the information. This game encourages that because the result is extreme silliness and fun.

I suspect that your children have no trouble with visualization, Angela, and that’s great! When something is very easy, it can be hard to imagine it not being easy for someone else.

Risa J Myers

says:

So silly! My son will love this game!

Learning is supposed to be fun!! Love this idea.

Audra Talley

says:

What a fun game!

Stacey Roberson

says:

This game look fun! Love playing new games with my kids to get their minds working.

Whitney Shilo

says:

What a creative game! This sounds incredibly fun!!

SHANNON ALEXANDER

says:

My kids would definitely go for the silliness of it! I just hope they would not actually put mashed potatoes in their hair after playing it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shannon,
That would be awful. 😮 Maybe a discussion about silly games and real life is in order before playing.

Lori

says:

I think my daughter would LOVE this silly game!

Judith Martinez

says:

This sounds like a lot of fun. My kindergartner is starting to notice when words ryhme and her eyes light up.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Judith,
It’s so wonderful when you can just see the learning going on and little one’s excitement about it! 😊

jen

says:

I love the fun games you come up with!

Carol

says:

Great game for kids, much fun. I like it.

Alexandra Baxter

says:

Going to try this

Kristin

says:

I love this idea and how it helps a child visualize the activities. Great!

Denise Uda

says:

I am going to try this game with my boys.

Nicole W.

says:

Cute game!

Jessica Latham

says:

Thanks

Cassandra D

says:

This game looks quite interesting.

Christina

says:

Super cute! I never thought about a listening game.

Emanuela

says:

This looks like lots of fun! Thank you for sharing on your blog

carol sinenko

says:

I teach in a Head Start preschool room. I think that this Mashed Potato game will help many students with turn taking, listening, following directions, and having a good silly time.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carol,
I hadn’t thought about how this game would help with turn taking and following directions! Plus, this would be extra giggle-worthy in a large group of little ones. 😊

Frances Meintjes

says:

Love this idea!

Crystal

says:

A creative way to learn!!!

This looks like a super cute activity! Keep up the good work!

Jessica

says:

So cute! My almost-7yo would love this as mashed potatoes are his favorite!!

Chen

says:

A very interesting way to teach comprehension skills

Stephanie

says:

My son loves these still games.

Jody

says:

This sounds fun!

Jayme

says:

Can’t wait to do this activity! Thank you

Kristen

says:

Cute

Chantel

says:

How fun!

Michelle

says:

Sounds like fun!

Carly

says:

I love all of the games that AAR has. My kids have so much fun doing our reading lessons!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Fun with reading is a great way to learn, Carly! 😊

Laura

says:

This looks fun!

Mary

says:

My kiddos love the silly games with AAR :)

Mary

says:

My kids love the silly games!

Lauren Roush

says:

Playing games is a great way to help children learn in a fun way! Thank you for the free download 😊

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Yes! Play increases learning for children. I hope you and your family enjoy this game.

Jen Doggart

says:

So cute!

Heather

says:

My daughter will love this activity

Kathe Himebaugh

says:

Cute idea!

Bertha

says:

It look like my daughter going to love it. She like playing games. Thank you

Renatta W.

says:

We love these games! Thanks for sharing!

Tami Palmer

says:

I can’t wait to print this and play it.

Jennifer

says:

This looks like fun!

Andrea

says:

Listening comprehension, yes! This looks so fun for a pre dinner family activity. Thanks!

Brittany Alessio

says:

My boys laugh at all things funny and we have played this game and it was the best.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brittany,
Thank you for letting us know that your boys enjoyed this game! 😊

Heather Pope

says:

I think my boys would have lots of silliness from this game., but they will not eat real mashed potatoes, lol. What fun and imaginative games you guys design. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
Maybe the game will be all the more fun since they won’t eat mashed potatoes!

Wendy

says:

My boys will love this, thanks!

Carol

says:

I really like this game! Looks like the kids are really enjoying it!

Jolin

says:

What a fun family activity to do

Sara

says:

Love this idea :)

Jamie

says:

looks interesting

Terry Price

says:

I love All About Reading! I need to purchase Level 4 at Convention!!!

This sounds like a lot of fun, and that it would hold the child’s interest. When you have his or her interest and attention learning takes root.

Lissa

says:

what a great addition for learning rotations

Jess

says:

This comes at a perfect time for us. Thank you!

Gaye

says:

Love this!

Beth Hague

says:

I answer their questions with wacky replies such as “Fried worms and broccoli” —just to see if they are really listening

Sherri O.

says:

My granddaughter would love this!

Cassie Going

says:

Looks like fun!

Meggan

says:

I’ve used AAR and AAS for a while now but never tried the games – starting this summer! Thanks!

Tara Pina

says:

What a fun game!

Jennifer Vasquez

says:

My girls love these games!!!

Carol

says:

What a cute game to play for kids and you know they are listening! Great. Thank you.

Amber J

says:

This looks like so much fun. Maybe I can even get my 7 yrs old to laugh.

Angella

says:

What a fun idea!

Sara

says:

My 5 year old daughter will love this!

Rae Steele

says:

Cute!

Jesica

says:

I LOVE this idea! What a great way to have full family interaction!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jesica,
I imagine this game would lead to lots of family giggles too!

Amanda

says:

This sounds really cute. Good idea.

Desire

says:

I have all boys so any game with foods is a hit!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Desire,
Boys do like their food! 😊

rebecca

says:

sounds fun!

Leave a Comment