This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2008)
Hot lava or the floor is lava is a game, usually played by children, in which the players imagine that the floor or ground is made of lava (or any other lethal substance, such as acid or quicksand), and thus avoid touching the ground lest they get burned or otherwise injured. The players stay off of the floor by standing on furniture or the room's architecture. The players generally may not remain still, and are required to move from one piece of furniture to the next. The game can be played with a group or alone for self amusement. There may even be a goal, to which the players must race. The game may also be played outdoors in playgrounds or similar areas. Players can also set up obstacles to make the game more challenging. This is a variation of an obstacle course.
Typically, any individual can start the game just by shouting "The floor is lava!". Any player remaining on the floor in the next few seconds is "out" and can not rejoin the game for some period of time. This game has become increasingly popular among children around five years old or older and teens in the past few years.
There often are tasks and/or items/places that can "regenerate" lost body parts/health. Depending on the players, these could be embarrassing tasks, or simple things like finding a particular person.
In one version called "Hot Lava Monster", Usually played on playgrounds, players must stay off the ground (Sand, rubber, woodchips, etc.) and on the play equipment. The person who is posing as 'monster' can be on the 'lava'. 'Monster' must try and tag or catch the other players. In some versions, 'monster' is not allowed to touch certain colors, such as the color of the platforms in the equipment (This means they must navigate across Playground slides, Monkey bars, Ropes courses, etc. instead of the main platform.)
The game was referenced in The Simpsons episode "Catch 'Em If You Can", where Lisa and Bart decide to play after finding their parents in a hotel room.
Another reference to "Hot Lava" was in Family Guy when the nudist family's son comes over to the Griffins' house and when he leaves Peter places coasters and says, "don't touch the hot lava, the carpet is hot lava."
The hot lava game was referenced on Comedy Central Presents Episode 23 in season 7 by comedian Daniel Tosh. Tosh stated that it didn't matter what form of the game you played, (lava, acid, quicksand, etc.), resorting to playing said game meant one thing; "You were poor."
A variation of the theme was used in Roald Dahl's short story "The Wish".
On the television show Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, Jake instigates a game of The Floor Is Lava that becomes reality due to Jake's powerful imagination.
The television show New Girl uses The Floor is Lava as a component of the drinking game True American in the episodes "Normal" and "Cooler."