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10 Fun Icebreakers for College Students to Better Connect

By: Lucie-Kay Desthuis-Francis on Sep 15, 2023 8:42:52 AM
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Icebreakers help people connect with each other and stimulate a sense of belonging. To start certain events and activities on a different note, we have compiled a list of 10 fun icebreakers.

  1. They offer participants a moment to pause and relax in a busy day.

  2. They get people to connect and team up in a safe environment.

  3. They also are an excellent way to simply have fun!

Icebreakers provide the framework to take a break and help disperse anxiety. As a social activity, they help people get to know each other and bond on a personal level. Further, icebreakers stimulate a sense of belonging among participants.

For students, this feeling of belonging is a key predictor of engagement, retention, and overall success. Building relationships with fellow students, professors, tutors, and mentors is a key part of the college experience.

Being in a new environment and getting to know new people can, however, feel overwhelming and intimidating. This may especially be true for first-year students or those attending a student organization or club meeting for the first time.

It is critical for student leaders to make participants feel welcome and at ease. Hosting a variety of fun and engaging icebreakers is a great way to do this. It also gets members to connect on a personal level and build rapport.

crossword puzzle of word teamwor

The When?

Icebreakers are the perfect way to start a range of college events. These include orientation, student organization or club meetings, and networking sessions. They can also help shift gears between activities or stimulate collaboration.

To be used in virtual or in-person settings, icebreakers are simple bonding exercises. They help team members connect in a different setting, enabling them to see each other in a different light.

The great thing about icebreakers is that they generally don’t require a lot of preparation. They also don’t take up a lot of time. Typically, icebreakers last between 5 and 20 minutes.

Their effect is, however, immediate, and long-lasting. Once your team gets into the rhythm of regularly using icebreakers they will expect and look forward to them.

Happy students at computers

The What!

Asking "How is everyone?" at the beginning of a meeting or diving straight into a round robin doesn’t stimulate connection or bonding. It also doesn’t encourage everyone to have a voice.

The more introverted personalities may not feel comfortable stepping out of the woodwork. This often leads to meetings being dominated by the same people, contributing to group think.

To start certain events or activities off on a different note, we have compiled a list of 10 fun icebreakers. Please note that, depending on the number of participants, the group can be split into smaller groups.

  1. Two truths and a Lie.

    An icebreaker classic, Two Truths and a Lie is a fun way to help students get to know each other.

    Each participant tells the group three “facts” about themselves. However, one of these “facts” will not be true. Fellow participants will then have to guess which of these “facts” is a lie.  

  2. My Most Embarrassing Moment.

    What better way to get people to loosen up than to have them share their Most Embarrassing Moment?

    Each student will take turns sharing this moment with the group. Give students no more than two minutes to share their memory and get ready to laugh.

  3. Birth Map.

    A Birth Map enables participants to visualize the diversity in the room. It also gives people the opportunity to share a little bit about their background and build rapport.

    Place a map and pins at the front of the room (please note that this can also be done in a virtual environment) and ask people to place a pin where they were born. Have people share with the group where they were born and one fun fact about their birthplace.  

  4. People Bingo.

    People Bingo is a good game to play for individuals meeting each other for the first time. It is an excellent way to get students to interact and get to know each other.

    Provide each student with a piece of paper containing a grid in which each square contains a statement. The statement should be broad and non-intrusive (for e.g., ‘has an older brother’ or ‘is a freshman’). Students are given a set amount of time to find a classmate for which the statement holds true. Whoever gets to Bingo first is the winner.

  5. Scavenger Hunt.

    Also, an icebreaker classic, scavenger hunts are an excellent activity for orientation. Not only do they encourage collaboration, but they also help first-year students familiarize themselves with campus.

    Split the team into groups and provide them with a list of items or landmarks to find within a limited amount of time. The team that is first to check off every item on their list wins. Please note that scavenger hunts can also be organized in small spaces or virtually.

  6. Share a Meaningful Photo.

    I personally love this icebreaker because it is a great way to get some insights into the personality of teammates and what they value. This is also a great activity for remote teams.

    Have each team member send in a photo that has meaning for them prior to the meeting. The the team lead will pull up each photo one by one on a projector or shared screen. Each person will be given the floor to explain to the group why their photo is important to them. Please note that the photo can be of a person, a place, a cherished pet, quote, or anything that holds meaning for the individual.

  7. Guess Who?

    Guess Who, is a great activity to get teammates who already know each other to bond.

    Have everyone write a fun or surprising fact about themselves on a piece of paper. Put the pieces of paper into a hat and read the facts out loud one at a time. The team will then try and guess who each fact belongs to. Let the person who wrote the fact identify themselves and provide additional context if necessary.

  8. My Favorite.

    This is a perfect icebreaker to spark discussion and encourage people to get to know each other better. ‘My Favorite’ is a quick and simple activity that can be repeated on a weekly basis as a fun ritual.

    The only preparation needed for this icebreaker is to ask the team what their favorite “fill in the blank” is. Each participant will then say, “My favorite song, fruit, city, show, etc. is “fill in the blank”.

  9. Name Game.

    This age-old party game is also a great icebreaker. It enables participants to informally interact with their teammates.

    Write down the names of famous people on sticky notes; one name per team member. Students will then place the sticky note on their forehead, asking the group questions to guess which personality they are embodying.

  10. Three of a Kind.

    This team-building activity is a great way to help students get to know each other better and find commonalities.

    Give students a limited timeframe to find three other students with whom they share something in common. The caveat, however, is that the similarity should not be anything visible or obvious, such as t-shirt or hair color.

CampusGroups team members at Paris team building event

Save this list of fun icebreakers to help you get the most out of your events and contribute to building lasting relationships on your campus.