Learn How to Play the 'Hot Potato' Game and All its Variations

'Hot potato' game
Some traditional games still continue to be popular even today, and the simple 'Hot Potato' is one of them. Find out how to play this game, along with some of its variations.
Hot Potato Music
If little kids are playing the game, the song 'Hot Potato' by 'The Wiggles' is a nice catchy song to play as a track. For theme-based parties, you can put on music that co-ordinates with the theme.
Are you looking for a game that kids will enjoy at a birthday party? If yes, then search no further. The Hot Potato, a simple and fun game, is sure to be a hit among kids. What's more, this game requires no preparation or props, and yet, ensures loads of excitement.
You May Need
  • A big group of enthusiastic and willing participants (minimum 3 people are required)
  • A music player, a person to operate the music player
  • A potato or any object that is easy to catch and pass and does not break. You may use a stuffed toy, a ball, a pillow, etc.
  • You may also require a small gift for the winner if desired.
How to Play
► The players may to sit or stand equidistant in a circle. The distance between two players can vary, just ensure that the hot potato or object is easy to pass or catch.

► Once the music starts, the player holding the object or hot potato has to immediately pass it to the player on his or her left or right. And the player who receives it, has to immediately pass the hot potato to the player next to him. Ensure that the person who operates the music player is not able to view the game.

► When the music stops, which can be at any random moment, the person holding the potato has to leave the game. In some variations, he may be asked to carry out a task or activity as a penalty for holding onto the hot potato. This task or activity, decided by the remaining or surviving players, can range from singing a song to dancing to whatever the other players want that individual to do.

► After the activity is completed, the music begins and the passing continues till another player has to leave. Finally, this passing can continue till eventually only one player remains who is declared the winner. If kids are playing this game, make sure that every player receives a gift.

Note : You can do away with the music player, and ask a person say 'Start' and 'Stop', at a random moments. Or he can sing a song, and the moment he says 'Hot', the person holding the potato will be eliminated from the game. Of course, that person singing or calling should not watch the game. Yet, having music adds to the fun element, energy level of the game, and also provide a tempo to the game.
Game Variations
Electronic Hot Potato
The classical 'Hot Potato' game also has an electronic version available in the market, where you have to pass the spud, and save yourselves when the music stops.

This musical potato game by Parker Brothers can be played by 2 to 4 players, each player gets three cards or lifelines that have the letters 'H', 'O' and 'T', respectively printed on them. The players are not supposed to reveal the cards. The first player squeezes the potato, to start the music, and tosses it to the next player or so on. The music automatically stops, and the player holding the potato when the music stops, has to show his card that 'H'. Once a card is shown, he loses one life and is one step closer to elimination. In this way, whenever a player displays all three cards 'H', 'O' and 'T', he loses all lives, and is eliminated. The game then continues among other players. The last player to stay alive is the winner. There are several other electronic hot potato games on similar lines available for different brands.
Hot Potato With Water
You can also add a twist to the game, and play it with water balloons instead of a potato. Or you can pick one from the waterproof hot potato games available in the market. It can serve as a fun water activity in the pool.
Hot Potato With Electric Shock
For adults, if you want to play hot potato with a shocking twist, play the traditional 'hot potato' game with electric shock balls. These shock balls give random shocks of very low intensity (harmless) to any person, and the person who drops the ball is eliminated from the game.

Note: Make sure that you read the age suitability for this game, and the other medical disclaimers.
You can choose a different object for passing depending on the age group or the theme of the party. Whatever the case may be, it is good game to be enjoyed at birthday parties, picnics, or a family gathering. Cheers to this game that has entertained us over generations.
Advertisement