A group passes an object around in a circle until the music stops. The "winner" might answer or ask questions, say something about themself, or discuss something treatment focused. Variation: Group taps to the music's tempo and, in regular beat, individuals take turns clapping their hands instead of passing an object around (Riley, 2012).


Body Percussion Hot Potato: First play a regular game of hot potato. Guide the group to keep the beat by patting their knees in tempo to the recorded music, then model a handclap to be passed around the group circle. Each person claps once instead of passing a "hot potato," and otherwise keeps the beat on their knee. Use a "closed hand clap" to point to each individual when it is their turn to help teach the pattern.

Question Ball: This variation puts questions onto a beach ball for the group to bounce around! This will exercise different physical coordination skills and offer different session strategies.


Open Ended Questions for Hot Potato Includes 75 questions that include easy icebreakers through to more personal discussion prompts that you use to lead to any depth of discussion or counseling session.

Editing Music to Make Hot Potato ClipsEdit

Things to keep in mind when making a Hot Potato track is using patient preferred music, putting enough space in between recorded music tracks to allow for conversation in between songs, and ending the songs tracks both at expected musical times and randomly. You want to make the music to seem out of the therapist's hands so that the patients don't think you are manipulating the game to make them talk. The goal is for it to be random and it is ok if the music stops on the same person a few times, because the game will be as fair as possible. There are multiple programs that you can use, for example Garage Band (for Macs only) or Audacity. Audacity is a free downloadable program that is used to record, manipulate, and save sound files. Audacity can be downloaded at


  • Instructions to come

Garage Band:

  • Open a new song document on Garage band
  • Name it and save it in a location you want it
  • Click Track on top bar
    • Click Show Movie Track
    • Slide will open up on right hand side of screen
    • Click Audio tab
    • Find where your music MP3's (iTunes will open up first)
  • Find the song you want to add and drag it over to the left (where the tracks are)
  • Make the track as long as you want before splitting
    • Listening to the song and figuring out where you want to cut it is best
  • When at the point in the track to end:
    • Go up to the Edit tab
    • Click Split
    • Then at the bottom click the little scissors icon to see the track expanded at the bottom of screen
    • Highlight with your mouse the section you want to delete
    • When section completely highlighted, hit delete button
  • Put some space inbetween the track to allow time for questions
  • Repeat the above steps until track is as long as you want


Riley, James E. (August 20, 2012). Hot Potato (just got hotter). [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Further ReadingEdit

Simple guide to editing in audacity. (2009, August 28). In Steeple. Retrieved from


Addison Lucas

James E. Riley, MM, MT-BC

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