Hot Potato: Fun Reinvented – Exciting Twists and Adaptations
The origin of the “Hot Potato” game remains a mystery. There are rumors from back in the 18th century that children from Ireland played a similar game using scalding hot potatoes.
Many versions of Hot Potato have been played throughout the years. By the 1950’s this game was already on store shelves.
One version of the Hot Potato Game, produced by Parker Brothers in the 1980s, is played with a group of kids standing in a circle. Music was played, and a manufactured potato got passed around as quickly as possible. When the music stopped, whoever ended up with the potato received an “H.” The second time he/ she ended up with the potato, they received an “O” and so forth. Once a player received the letters “H,” “O,” and “T,” they were out of the game.
In the 1960s, a bright red potato was manufactured named “Spudsie,” a cute little fellow who had to be wound up before every game. When the Spudsie wound down, a big sound went off, indicating that whoever was holding “Spudsie” would be eliminated from the game. The game continued
until one player (similar to musical chairs) left.
Hot Potato remains a must-play at preschool parties, teaching kids hand-eye coordination, catching skills, and the valuable lesson that hot things should never be touched or tampered with. When the game came into existence, variations of the game were made. I want to share a few with you today.
- Potato or Medium Size Ball
- Post-its (Multiple Colors)
- This game is played like hot potato with a little twist.
- The students stand around a large circle but close enough to pass a ball to one another. and behind a post-it note. Make sure to place two of the same color notes near each other. Play the song “Hot Potato” and ask the players to pass the ball around in a circle.
- When the music stops, the player with the ball gives the ball to the adult.
- On the adult’s signal, that player and the one next to him/her standing behind the same colored Post-It note both run in the opposite direction around the circle.
- The player who returns to their colored note first wins. No one is eliminated.
- Repeat until all the players have had a turn to run.
1. Outside Game
If you decide to play the game outside, substitute a water balloon for the hot potato. Form a large circle and toss the water balloon to the person next to you, moving it in a clockwise direction. Whoever drops the balloon is eliminated.
2. For soccer lovers
Pass a soccer ball within the circle using feet only. Make the circle bigger, and pass the ball to any player across the circle. If the ball goes outside the circle, the player who passes the ball gets a point. After several minutes of play, whoever has the most points wins.
3. Pretend Hot Potato:
Pick one player to stand in the middle of the circle. He or She must close their eyes while the players around the circle pass a small object (rock, paper clip, etc.) around the circle. Music should be playing at this time. When the music stops, the outside players stop passing the object and place their closed fists in front of them, facing the center of the circle. The player in the middle opens their eyes and tries to pick the person who is holding the object. If he/she chooses the correct player, they receive a small prize (ex. candy). Pick a new player to stand in the center of the circle.
For those who use a mobility device
- Place chairs, one for each player, in a large circle so that everyone starts the game sitting in a chair.
- One player is chosen to pass the ball “Hot Potato” around the circle, going clockwise or counterclockwise while the music plays.
- When the music stops, the player with the ball must perform a chair exercise for all participants to complete.
- Some examples are twists, arm circles, side stretches, opposite knee touches, etc.