Adults playing ‘the floor is lava’ is the latest over-the-top internet challenge

Remember the childhood game “the floor is lava,” where the object was to avoid the floor by any means necessary, jumping and climbing over the furniture? Turns out it’s just as fun when you’re an adult.

Nostalgia for this old favorite has been heating up lately. First, it inspired a video game, and now it’s become the latest in a long line of viral video challenges.

From lipdubs to the Harlem Shake and the Mannequin Challenge, YouTube culture has thrived on the replication of trends. What everyone’s doing now is “the floor is lava,” as played by Instagram/Snapchat personalities Kevin Freshwater and Jahannah James,

Their antics blew up over Memorial Day weekend, when they both posted a video of Jahannah trying to win the game by jumping onto—and then falling into—a trashcan. They’ve both always played to win, though, dropping everything in the middle of the supermarket to run and dive onto the nearest safe space. Their videos are impressive in their lack of regard for property and the participants’ own safety. It’s fun as hell.

But they’re not the only ones doing it. As you can see in the compilation above, teens and adults playing this children’s game—and playing it hard—is a ridiculous new YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat trend.

“The floor is lava” combines nostalgia with physical comedy, which seems to be a winning formula. It’s more wholesome than prank videos and less time-consuming and elaborate than mannequin challenges. In 2017, that’s a sweet spot for a viral video.

As with past challenge trends, teens are nominating friends to participate. Check the hashtag #lavachallenge on Twitter and Instagram for the latest videos.

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on,, and the Morning News.