Hot Potato Name Game (ICEBREAKER)


10-15 minutes

This fun icebreaker can be an energizing way to help participants learn each other’s names.  It gets its name from the popular children’s game.



o  Something to represent the “hot potato” (You can use an actual potato, a ball, or anything else that can be passed easily.  You’ll need one per group.)

o  A bell or noisemaker that makes a significantly loud sound


o  None



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We are going to play a game to help you get to know each other.”
  • “It’s called the Hot Potato Name Game, and it works like this.”  (Hold up one of the “hot potatoes.”)
  • “This is a ‘hot potato.’”
  • “Because it’s hot, you don’t want to hold onto it too long, or it will burn your fingers.”
  • “So, if the ‘hot potato’ is passed to you, you should pass it to someone else in your group.”
  • “But the tricky part is, you can’t pass it until you say the name of the person you are passing it to.”
  • “If you can’t remember anyone’s name, you have to keep holding the ‘hot potato’ until you do.”
  • “And if you have the ‘hot potato’ when I ring this bell (or make a noise with the noisemaker), you just got burned, and you are out of the game.”
  • “I will ring the bell at different times each round, so you better be fast at getting rid of your ‘hot potato.’”
  • “To get us started, I am going to put you into groups in small circles and have you go around your circle and introduce yourself.”  (Tell them what you want them to say when they introduce themselves.  Do you want them to just say their names, or would you like them to tell one or two things about themselves?  You might want them to each say their names several times so that everyone has a chance to memorize them.)
  • (Ask the group if they have any questions.  Then, put them in their small groups (about 8-10 people each), and let them do their introductions.)
  • (After about five minutes, give them their ‘hot potatoes’ and let them start passing.)
  • (After a few minutes, ring the bell, and have the person with the ‘potato’ step out of the circle.)
  • (Then, passing begins again.  This continues until you have only 2-3 people left in each group.)


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Filed under Game, Icebreaker, Names

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