RePurposed Activities: Using existing props from one game or activity to play another.
Recently my nieces showed me Spot It (click to find/buy Spot It on Amazon - look for the video link for game idea). An ingenious little card game. There are 55 cards in the metal tin, each one is decorated with eight symbols. Any two cards pulled from the deck will have one "and only one" matching symbol.
Icebreaker Activity: For a group of 10 to 55 people, give each person a Spot It card (I'm thinking this will be good for those times when participants do not all arrive to a program or workshop at the same time - after the game begins and new players arrive, give them a card and ask them to go into the crowd and find someone to help them understand how the game is played). Back to it!
Players pair up after raising their hands and finding someone else doing the same thing. Once face-to-face, players exchange names (introductions) and then reveal the symbols on their cards. You can introduce a little bit of excitement by saying, "see who can find the matching symbol first." There is no particular reward for finding it first - just some motivational energy. After finding the matching symbol one or both of the players tries to find a "story" from his or her life that is prompted by the symbol. After one or both share, players exchange cards, raise a hand in the air and look for someone else to face up with, find the match and share a story (or two).
Be sure to jump in and play as well so you can get to know some of your participants and they can get to know you a little. Keep an eye on the energy of the group and conclude the activity before it runs out of fun.
Other ideas for the Spot It cards? Comment below.