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Hot Potato Game


How to play the fun game of Hot Potato.  Great for kids of all ages to play - ages 3 and up. Fast paced game where the "potato" is passed very fast around a circle of children.  Hot potato game instructions, ideas and variations such as pass the present and water balloon versions. 


hot potato for the hot potato game



Bean bag or ball for the hot potato, something to play music.   Anything can be used for a hot potato - a doll, toy car, piece of fabric, etc.


Object of the Game

Don’t get caught holding the hot potato when the music stops playing.



Set up the game

 Sit children in a circle facing towards the center with one of them holding the “hot potato”.




How To Play the Game of Hot Potato 

Have the children sit in a circle.

Start the music and have the children start to pass the hot potato around the circle. 


When the music stops the person holding the hot potato is out. 


Continue the game until there is only one person left in the circle.  They are the winner.



Hot Potato Game Variations


Water Balloon Hot Potato
For this fun outdoor variation of the Hot Potato game make the hot potato a water balloon! This version can be played like the original with music or simply pass the water balloon around the circle until it pops. Make sure to have plenty of water balloons ready for this fun game!


Pass the Present
Pass the Present is a version of the Hot Potato game. Before the game place enough treats or prizes for everyone that will be playing the game inside a box. Then wrap the box in layers of different colors / patterns of wrapping paper. The more layers the box has, the longer the game will last. Start the music and the players will pass the present around the circle. When the music stops the player holding the present will unwrap 1 layer of paper. Play until the last layer of paper has been unwrapped and the players can share the prize inside the box.


Hot Potato Expanded
This is a fun game for older players that make the original version more difficult and does not require music. Have the players start in a circle standing up facing towards each other. Have them pass the potato (or ball) around the circle one time. In the next round all the players must take 1 step backward and then pass the ball around the circle again without dropping it. If anyone drops the ball then they are out. In the next round all players take another step back and pass the ball around again. The game gets more and more difficult the wider the circle becomes.



Backwards Hot Potato Expanded
Play this version the same as the Hot Potato Expanded version above only all players must face towards the outside of the circle. This makes the game very difficult, and lots of fun!





Fun Ideas for the game of Hot Potato


For children's parties the "potato" can be any item - it make the game even better if an object  from the party theme is used.