Hot Potato Game Rules: Learn How to Play Hot Potato

If you’re looking for a large group game that is easy to set up, look no further than our guide to the Hot Potato rules for a kid-pleasing catching game.

The object of the game Hot Potato is straightforward, catch the ball and throw it to another player as quickly as possible.

Those with good reflexes and expert hand-eye coordination should excel with this playful game, but the fact that it’s easy means anyone can play without the need for complicated setup and rules.

So if Hot Potato sounds appealing to you, be sure to continue reading the Hot Potato rules below.

What Is Hot Potato?

Like games such as the Stuck in The Mud game and the Fruit Salad game, the more kids you get playing, the funner the game becomes.

This makes it a great indoor group game to play as an icebreaker at school or summer camp.

Number of Players Required: 2+ players.

Who Can Play It: 4+ 

Difficulty: Easy to learn and play.

Length of Play: 5 – 10 minutes.

Similar to: Pass the Potato; Extreme Egg Toss; Pass the Poop

Main Objective: Be the last player in the game by not getting eliminated and avoiding holding the potato when the music stops playing.

Why We Love It: The actual game of Hot Potato not only allows a large group to play at once, but it’s also fast and frantic to play too. Any skill level can start playing immediately while improving upon dexterity skills as the game progresses.

Playing Hot Potato – What You’ll Need.

For the best Hot Potato experience, consider getting an Electronic Hot Potato game pack, which includes:

  • Electronic Plush Potato
  • 13 Potato Chip Cards
  • 2 AA Batteries
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If you find yourselves needing an alternative, use any other softball or equivalent, as the rules will still apply with whatever your choice of ball is.

How To Set Up Hot Potato.

You won’t need to do too much setup with Hot Potato as long as you already have a ball to play with.

If using an electronic Hot Potato set, ensure that there are batteries in the electronic device and turn it on.

Gather all participants into a circle and have everyone either stand or sit down. Gameplay isn’t affected by the decision you make here.

Hot Potato Game Rules.

After setting up the game and getting all players in position, the only thing left to do is learn the Hot Potato rules.

Starting the Game.

Use whichever way you would like to decide who starts – an excellent way to do this is to start the game by yourself throwing the ball to a random player first.

Squeeze the potato to start the music and throw it to anyone in the circle to begin.

How to Play Hot Potato.

The rules to Hot Potato are simple. All that players need to do is throw the potato around the circle while the potato’s song plays.

As soon as the song stops playing, whoever’s holding the potato is out of the game. If the potato is in the air when the song stops, then whoever threw the potato is out.

After the rest of the players get eliminated, the last player left in the game wins the game.

Scoring In Hot Potato.

If you’re playing in a smaller group, or are looking to extend how long the kids are playing for, consider implementing a scoring system into the game.

The electronic version of Hot Potato includes simple game chips. Give these to players when they drop the ball to stay in the game if they are the ones who the music stops on.

Alternatively, use a pen and paper or whiteboard to tally up each player’s total number of ‘outs’ and award the win to the player with the least number achieved. 

Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the Hot Potato rules if you’re not using the electronic version?

If you don’t have access to the electronic version of the game, then no need to worry. You can easily adjust some of the Hot Potato rules.

Simply change it so that players are out if they let the ball hit the ground or throw the ball unfairly.

Is the Hot Potato electronic device waterproof for use in a pool?

Unfortunately, it isn’t waterproof – be sure it stays away from pools! Use an alternative ball if playing Hot Potato in water.

Alternative Games to Hot Potato.

With the weather starting to improve, it may be time to consider some outdoor games to play alongside Hot Potato with your kids to keep them entertained in the sun.

Have a look at the Water Balloon Toss Game, or check out the Kan-Jam rules for family games that are easy to learn and just as fun to play.

Alternatively, if you and the kids have had enough of the sun, there are plenty of indoor games to play too.

Have a look at how two retro popular games got combined by reading our guide on the Monopoly Jenga rules, or learn how to play Zingo for a fun game that’s a bit different from the norm. 

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