Hot potato is a party game that involves players gathering in a circle and tossing a small object such as a beanbag or even a real potato to each other while music plays. The player who is holding the object when the music stops is eliminated.
The origins of the hot potato game are not clear. However, it may go back as far as 1888 when Sidney Oldall Addy's Glossary of Sheffield Words describes a game in which a number of people sit in a row, or in chairs round a parlor. In this game, a lit candle is handed to the first person, who says:
Jack's alive, and likely to live
If he dies in your hand, you've a forfeit to give.
The one in whose hand the light expires has to pay the forfeit.
- Wise, Derba (2003-11-10). Great Big Book of Children's Games. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 266. ISBN 9780071422468.
- Maguire, Jack (1990). Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato & Ha Ha Ha: A Rulebook of Children's Games. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671763326.
- "Addy, Sidney Oldall (1888). "The Geographical or Ethnological Position of Sheffield", A Glossary of Words Used in the Neighbourhood of Sheffield." London: Trubner & Co. for the English Dialect Society.