Learn how to play Hot Potato via our Hot Potato game tutorial. Review the Hot Potato rules and find your next fun game at www.GameOnFamily.com. Game on!

How to Play Hot Potato – the hot game!

Why Hot Potato Is A Hot Game!

The hot potato game is actually a political derivation from the idiom “hot potato”, meaning to abandon someone or something quickly. The term itself originates from the mid-1800s, where political turmoil was reaching a historical peak throughout the world. In order to stay diplomatic, members of the state would often “hot potato” an issue, or abandon their convictions quickly in order to maintain a favorable crowd opinion. In other words, they strayed away from controversy in fear of garnering a negative reputation. While politics can often be a bore, we assure that the hot potato game is now perfectly suited for kids, teens, and even adults, as this timeless game will keep nerves high and laughters jolly!

Materials Needed

While you don’t need an actual potato (or parcel, as this game alternatively is known as ‘pass the parcel’) to play this game, you do need some passable object of some sort. This can be a stuffed animal, a ball, or even something as simple as a pen. All it needs to be is small and easy to transfer from one hand to the next. Of course, you’ll need high spirited individuals who want to play this game with you. Other than that, that’s it!

How to the Play Hot Potato Game

One of the best things about this game is that the hot potato game tutorial is very simple to understand.

  1. First, gather your players into a circle.
  2. Then, designate one individual to be the “chanter” who will stand in the middle of the circle.  Alternatively, instead of having a chanter, there are music tracks on Youtube that already implement pauses ideal for the hot potato game.
  3. Next, hand the object that you’ve chosen to pass along, the “potato”, to one of the members of the circle. When you’re all-ready, the chanter will repeatedly say “hot potato, hot potato, hot potato.” Many chanters like to clap along as well.
  4. While this is being said, players in the circle will pass around the object in a clockwise fashion. It is up to the chanters discretion when to stop chanting.
  5. Whenever they stop, whoever is holding the “potato” last is out. This process is then repeated until all but one player is left standing, who is then crowned as the victor of this fun game. 

Team Size

The minimum requirement for hot potato is three people, including the chanter. However, if the chanter is handled via an audio track, such as the Youtube songs, then it could be played with only two people. There is no maximum on players, making it ideal for large parties, especially classrooms. As we like to say, the more players the merrier!

Hot Potato Game Variations

There are many fun alternative ways to play Hot Potato but here are my favorites:

1) The Water Balloon Version: Play this game outside using a water balloon as the Hot Potato. No music is necessary as you pass the water balloon until it pops!

2) Take a Step Back: This version is so great because it works well for the smallest of groups (2 players!).  Have players start close together so they have to hand the ball (“potato”) back and forth to one another. After each time the potato makes it through all the players without being dropped, everyone takes a step backwards.  Now they need to toss the potato and eventually to throw it to each other!

Hot Potato Playing Time

The team size or number of players determines the time required for each round of pass the parcel/hot potato. For a typical group of around ten or a dozen of so individuals, the game should only last a mere fifteen minutes. Of course, there are many tricks to speeding up rounds, such as passing the object more quickly or pausing the music or chant faster.

Hot Potato Video Tutorial