Icebreakers (contributed by our peer leaders)  


LOW RISK icebreakers

1.      Going to College

Materials: None

Type: Name association, low risk, inactive

Instructions:  Sit in a circle.  The first person says, “My name is Hillary, I'm going to college and I'm bringing my hula hoop.”  (Inserting their name and something that begins with the first letter of their first name). The second person says “My name is Ben, I'm going to college and I'm bringing my favorite blanket and Hillary's hula hoop.”  The group continues around the circle until the last person says their name and what the entire group is bringing. 

2.      Celebrity Guessing Game

 Materials: Post-it notes (pre-labeled)

Type: Communication, low risk, slightly active, but can be inactive

Instructions:  The leader puts a post-it note on each person's back. Each note has the name of a different celebrity/cartoon character/movie/etc. on it. The students should find a partner, introduce themselves to the other person and then they must find out what is on their back by asking each other questions. The questions can only be answered by "yes" or "no"

 3.      Snowball

 Materials: Paper and Pens

Type: Low Risk, slightly active

Instructions:  Have each member of your group write a question on a large piece of paper (or have them already made up).  Have everyone crinkle up the piece of paper into a ball and on the count of three, throw their ball at someone else in the room.  Each person will answer the “snowball” that hit them.  As a variation, use questions from an upcoming exam in the class that they all have together.


MEDIUM RISK icebreakers

1.      Thumb Ball

Materials: Beach ball with questions on it.

Type: Making connections, slightly active, medium risk

Instructions:  Have students stand in a circle.  Begin by introducing yourself and answering one of the questions on the question ball.  Toss the ball to a student.  When they catch the ball, they should introduce themselves and whichever question their right thumb lands on they should answer.  They toss the ball to another student.  This continues until everyone has received the ball once or twice.

2.      Speed Dating

Materials: List of questions

Type: Making connections, medium – high risk depending on questions, inactive

Instructions: Split the class into two equal groups.  Have one group form a circle facing outwards and another group form a circle around the other group facing inwards.  As the facilitator, you will ask questions and students will have a discussion answering the questions with the people they are standing across from.  After two minutes the outer circle of students will move to their left and start a new conversation with the person in front of them.


·         Talk about your first kiss (high risk)

·         Talk about a time when you felt successful (med. risk)

·         Talk about a toy you liked to play with as a child. (med. risk)

·         What's your favorite cereal? (med. risk)

3.      Train Wreck!

Materials: None

Type: Energizer/making connections, medium risk, active

Instructions:  Ask the students to form a circle with their chairs.  You begin in the center of the circle (standing, without a seat) and say, “My name is Sarah and I…” adding a random fact about yourself. Everyone that agrees with your statement moves from their chair to an open chair.  There will be one person left without a place to sit so they go to the middle and make the next statement.  The person in the middle can yell “train wreck” causing everyone to change seats.


My name is ____ and…

…I live on campus.
…I'm a member of a club.

…I'm a Red Sox Fan.

…I'm not wearing shoes.

…I'm excited to be at CCSU.     


 4.      Human Bingo

Materials: Bingo Card with attributes or facts in each square. Examples below.

Type: Making connections, medium risk, inactive

Instructions:  Distribute Human Bingo. Instruct students to move around and find people for each item being sure to write the person's name next to the item that they match.  To prepare for this game you can ask the students to email you 2 things that are unique about them.

Example Items:

    • Owns a car more than ten years old
    • Works part-time
    • Prefer the Red Sox to Yankees
    • Has a tattoo
    • Lives off campus
    • Is the first person in his/her family to attend college
    • Works out everyday
    • Has more than three siblings
    • Is the "baby" of the family
    • Is proficient in another language
    • Prefers Twitter over Facebook
    • Is majoring in a science field
    • Plays an instrument
    • Has ever bungee jumped

5.      Interview

Materials: None

            Type: Making connections, medium risk, inactive

Instructions:  Divide group into pairs of students who do not know each other well.  Instruct students to interview each other for the next five minutes. After interviews are complete ask each student to introduce their partner to the class.      


HIGH RISK icebreakers

1.      Shoulder Tap

Materials: None

Type: Making connections, high risk, slightly active

Instructions:  Have your group form a circle.  They will close their eyes, but five students at a time will enter the circle.  As the facilitator, introduce that you will be reading statements aloud beginning with “Tap the shoulder of…”  Give instructions that those on the inside of the circle will walk around the group and tap the shoulders of as many people for which they think that statement applies. 

Example statements:

Tap the shoulder of...

·         Someone who made you smile today.

·         Someone who made you look at things differently.

·         Someone you respect and admire.

·         Someone who you relate to.

·         Someone you would like to know better.

·         Someone you find interesting.


2.      Human Knot

Materials: You need to have enough space to be in a full circle.

Type: Energizer/Problem solving/Communication, high risk, active

Instructions:  Begin by having the group stand in a close circle.  Everyone must raise their right hands and grab someone's hand across from them.  Next they do the same with their left hands.  The group must untangle.  Variations of this exercise include having a race between two groups and untangling without speaking.

3.      Cross the Line

Materials: Classroom space large enough to conduct this icebreaker.

Type: Making connections, slightly active, medium risk – high risk depending on the experiences

Instructions:  Have students form a line.  Ask the students about their experiences and have them cross an imaginary line if they agree or share that experience.  After the students have looked to see who crossed the line, have the students return to their original line.

Some simple examples:

Cross the line if…

·         You are excited to be at CCSU. (med. risk)

·         You're taking over 15 credits. (med. risk)

·         You believe in God. (high risk)

·         You know someone in the hospital. (high risk)

·         You have been discriminated against. (high risk)

                Some Icebreakers from:


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