A great activity for everyone

Hot Potato

A Hilarious and Embarrassing Game of Timed Selfies with Friends

Hot Potato
By Jon Zajac

What is Hot Potato?

The Hot Potato Camera icebreaker is a fun and engaging game that involves taking spontaneous and potentially embarrassing selfies with a smartphone or camera. The purpose of this activity is to provide an opportunity for friends, family, or colleagues to interact in-person, creating memorable moments and hilarious photographs. By passing the camera around quickly, players are challenged to capture funny and unflattering expressions, building tension and anticipation as they wait for the camera to go off. This game serves as a refreshing alternative to screen-based interactions, offering a lighthearted and entertaining experience for everyone involved. The resulting album of terrible photos will not only bring laughter but also create lasting bonds among participants.

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Rules for Hot Potato

  1. The player who starts with the camera sets the timer to a delay of their choice.
  2. The player points the camera at themselves, smiles, then immediately passes the camera to the player on their left.
  3. The player now with the camera repeats the previous step.
  4. Eventually, and without warning, the camera will go off, taking a photo that will likely capture awkward or unflattering expressions.

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Materials needed for Hot Potato

  • Smartphone or camera: This is the main tool needed to play Hot Potato Camera. You’ll use it to take photos throughout the game.
  • Group of people: Gather a group of friends, family, or colleagues to play Hot Potato Camera with. The game works best with at least two players, but you can include as many people as you like. Just make sure everyone is sitting close enough together to pass the camera quickly.

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Setting up for Hot Potato

To set up for the Hot Potato Camera icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Gather a smartphone or a dedicated camera.
  2. Have all players sit in a circle or around a table, close enough to pass the camera quickly to their neighbor.
  3. The player who starts with the camera will set the timer to a delay of their choice, ranging from a single second to half a minute.
  4. This player will point the camera at themselves, smile, and then immediately pass the camera to the player on their left.
  5. The process is repeated by the next player, who receives the camera, points it at themselves, smiles, and passes it along.
  6. Eventually, the camera will go off without warning, capturing players in awkward or unflattering expressions.

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How to play Hot Potato

  1. Set the timer on the camera: I like to set the timer for a few seconds to build tension, but don’t make it so long that players lose interest.
  2. Take a quick selfie and pass the camera: Point the camera at yourself, smile, and then quickly pass it to the person on your left before they have a chance to prepare.
  3. Repeat the process with the received camera: As soon as you receive a camera, take a quick selfie and pass it along to the person next to you.
  4. Let the camera go off without warning: Eventually, the camera will take a photo at a random moment. The resulting picture is sure to be hilariously awkward!

The Hot Potato icebreaker game encourages in-person interaction by using a smartphone as a tool for social engagement rather than through a phone network. It’s an enjoyable activity for parties and family gatherings, providing plenty of laughs and a collection of terrible photos that everyone will beg you not to post online!

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Benefits of Hot Potato

  • Encourages Face-to-Face Interaction: In today’s digital age, it’s easy to get caught up in our phones and forget to engage with the people around us. Hot Potato Camera encourages in-person interaction by making use of a smartphone as a tool for socializing rather than isolating.
  • Promotes Lighthearted Fun: The game brings laughter and joy, lightening the mood and creating memorable moments. It’s a great way to break the ice at parties or family gatherings, fostering a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Enhances Reflexes and Speed: Quickly passing the camera to the next player within the set time builds reflexes and speed. This can be a fun way to improve hand-eye coordination and reaction times.
  • Creates Shared Memories: The outcome of the game - hilarious, awkward, or otherwise unflattering photos - provides a collection of shared memories that participants can look back on and laugh about together.
  • Boosts Self-Confidence: By participating in a game where goofy expressions and silly moments are the norm, players may feel more comfortable being themselves and expressing their individuality, leading to increased self-confidence.
  • Encourages Teamwork: Although Hot Potato Camera is not strictly a team game, the shared experience of playing together can foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among participants.

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Skills built with Hot Potato

  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Playing Hot Potato Camera requires quick reflexes and the ability to pass the camera to the player on your left while it’s still set to take a photo. This helps improve hand-eye coordination, as players need to be mindful of both the camera’s position and their neighbors in the circle.
  • Focus and Concentration: With the pressure of the timer ticking down and the fear of getting caught with an awkward expression, players must stay focused on passing the camera quickly and smoothly. This enhances focus and concentration skills, which can be beneficial in various real-life situations.
  • Teamwork and Communication: Although Hot Potato Camera is a competitive game, it still fosters teamwork by encouraging participants to pass the camera rapidly without hesitation. Effective communication among players helps ensure that everyone remains engaged and no one is left out of the fun.
  • Self-Confidence: Putting oneself in front of a camera and potentially capturing unflattering photos may feel embarrassing at first, but over time it can help build self-confidence. By embracing their imperfections and laughing about them together, players can learn to be more comfortable with themselves and appreciate the humor in unexpected situations.
  • Photography Skills: While Hot Potato Camera is primarily a fun icebreaker game, it also provides an opportunity for players to experiment with photography settings like timers and self-portraits. By learning how to use these features effectively, players may find themselves taking better photos in other contexts as well.
  • Stress Relief: Laughter is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and Hot Potato Camera encourages plenty of it. By focusing on the fun and excitement of the game instead of daily worries, players can enjoy a much-needed break from stress and tension.

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Why I like Hot Potato

I enjoy the Hot Potato Camera icebreaker because it encourages in-person interaction and creates a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike many phone games that involve scrolling through social media or texting, this game brings people together and gets them talking and laughing with each other. The tension of passing the camera quickly and not knowing when it will go off adds an element of excitement and unpredictability. Plus, the end result is a collection of silly, candid photos that capture genuine moments of emotion and expression. It’s a great way to bond with friends or family while also creating memories to look back on. Overall, Hot Potato Camera is a simple yet effective icebreaker that promotes face-to-face communication and provides endless entertainment.

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Tips for making Hot Potato more inclusive

  • Use a prop or accessory: Consider providing a fun prop or accessory that players can use in their photos. This can help to create a more inclusive atmosphere by giving everyone something to interact with and helping to break the ice.
  • Choose a silly filter or effect: Using a silly filter or effect on the camera app can help to make the game more lighthearted and fun for everyone. This can also help to create a sense of silliness and playfulness that can be inclusive for people who may feel self-conscious about having their picture taken.
  • Encourage players to strike a pose: Encouraging players to strike a silly or goofy pose for the camera can help to make the game more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. This can also help to create a sense of playfulness and silliness that can be enjoyable for people of all ages.
  • Make it a collaborative effort: Consider making the game a collaborative effort, where players work together to come up with funny or creative ideas for their photos. This can help to create a more inclusive atmosphere by giving everyone an opportunity to contribute and have fun.
  • Use a larger group setting: Using a larger group setting, such as a party or family gathering, can help to make the game more inclusive by allowing more people to participate. This can also help to create a sense of community and connection among players.

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Reflection questions for Hot Potato

  1. What was your experience playing Hot Potato Camera? This question can help participants reflect on the emotions and thoughts they had while playing the game, allowing them to express their enjoyment or any discomfort experienced during the activity.
  2. How did you feel when the camera went off and captured an “awkward” photo of you? By asking this question, facilitators can encourage participants to discuss the self-consciousness or embarrassment that might have arisen from taking unflattering photos, fostering empathy and understanding within the group.
  3. How do you think Hot Potato Camera helped build connections among the players? This question encourages reflection on the interpersonal dynamics of the game, highlighting how shared experiences can strengthen relationships between participants.
  4. What did you learn about yourself or others while playing this game? By asking this question, facilitators can help participants identify insights gained from the activity, whether it’s related to their own reactions or observations about others in the group.
  5. In what ways do you think Hot Potato Camera challenges us to be more comfortable with our imperfections and vulnerability? This question promotes reflection on how taking unflattering photos can help participants become more accepting of their flaws and less concerned about external appearances, fostering resilience and self-confidence.
  6. How might you apply the lessons learned from Hot Potato Camera to other social situations or relationships in your life? By encouraging participants to think about how they might apply the insights gained from the game to their daily lives, facilitators can help reinforce the value of building stronger connections and fostering empathy towards others.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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