Buy Nothing Day is an alternative to Black Friday and in the USA, Canada, and many parts of Europe, it’s held the day after American Thanksgiving. Instead of shopping till you drop, consider buying nothing instead! Check out some of the best games, activities, and lesson plan ideas for this new holiday that’s gaining traction around the world.
Buy Nothing Day Classroom Activities
Let’s get into the best games and activities related to rampant Black Friday consumerism.
#1: Man/Woman on the Stree Interview Activity
Sure, students can ask their partner what they think about things like Black Friday shopping, Buy Nothing Day or consumerism. However, why not make it a bit more fun and exciting?
Try out this interview activity that creates a bit of excitement! Check it out:
#2: Survey about Shopping and Consumerism
Just ask my students and they’ll tell you that I love to use surveys in my classes. They’re such a nice activity because they cover a range of skills, can be tailored to just about any topic, including Buy Nothing Day and they also get students out of their seats and moving around the classroom.
There are lots of interesting questions to talk about related to this topic! Find out how easy it is to make your own survey here:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 78 Pages - 03/22/2021 (Publication Date)
#3: Debate about Buy Nothing Day
There are lots of interesting and sometimes controversial topics that come up when talking about Buy Nothing Day. I’m sure in any class, there are some diehard Black Friday shoppers, as are there some people who are concerned about rampant consumerism. There are also likely a bunch of people who fall in between.
The solution? Have a friendly English debate!
#4: Dialogue Substitution
New words are often introduced through a dialogue. But, it’s often too simple. That’s why I like to use this activity to pump up the difficulty level. Find out all the details about it here:
Try out this challenging listening activity with your higher-level students. Find, or write a passage where someone is talking about their experiences with Buy Nothing Day. Or, their thoughts about it.
Put students into pairs and then read it out at a faster-than-normal pace. Students have to take notes and then compare with a partner what they heard. The goal is to recreate the passage you just read out. Repeat the process and in the end, students can compare what they have with the original version. Check it out:
#6: Me Too!
A quick speaking and listening activity to try out is Me Too! Each student has to make a statement related to shopping, Black Friday, etc. For example:
- I like to get up early to line up on Black Friday.
- I hate shopping and try to avoid it.
- I’m planning to participate in Buy Nothing Day this year.
If other students are planning on doing the same, they can say, “Me too!” and raise their hands.
#7: Word Association
Try out this quick warm-up activity to generate some interest in the topic. It’s basically making brainstorming words related to shopping, consumerism, etc. and putting them into a somewhat organized fashion. It’s a nice way to figure out how much students already know about a given topic before diving in. Have a look:
#8: Reading Lesson Plan about Buy Nothing Day
It’s quite easy to design an entire lesson plan around a reading passage related to this holiday. There are certain steps to follow to get the most out of it but here is a guide to help you out:
#9: Find Someone Who Bingo Game
I generally use this as an icebreaker activity, but it’s certainly possible to use for topics that have a lot of varying opinions, like consumerism. Fill up the board with related statements:
- I plan to participate in it this year.
- I love Black Friday shopping.
- My family members like shopping more than I do.
It’s actually even better if students make their own statements! Or, generate the statements together and students can select their own for their Bingo grid.
Then, students have to circulate around the class, asking questions to find someone who matches. Find out more:
#10: Buy Nothing Day Listening Lesson
A nice way to plan a TEFL lesson about any topic, including this one is with a listening lesson plan template. Find a conversation between two people talking about their experiences with Buy Nothing Day (or their upcoming plans). Or, one person giving their opinion about it (it could even be you). Then, plan a lesson around that. Find out how here:
#11: Used Item Exchange Game
Instead of buying things on Black Friday, why not consider having a swap meet at your school? Each student in the class can bring something used but still in working condition. Put them all on a table in the center of the classroom.
Then, give each student a number. The 1st person can take something. The second person can either take a new thing or steal the previous item. Each item can only be stolen three times and then it’s out of the game. Continue until everyone has a “new-to-them” used item.
#12: Host a Free Store
A fun thing to do for Buy Nothing Day is to set up a free store at your school. Before Buy Nothing Day, students can donate gently used items. Then, on the day, set up a store. Students can browse and take a few items that they’d like. Donate whatever doesn’t get taken by the students to a thrift store.
#13: Holiday Gift Making
Why not spend the day helping students make some creative gifts for their family members or friends for the upcoming holiday season? They can make homemade cards out of scrap paper and other objects, or you can even help students make candles or chapstick. The ideas are endless! Get creative and you might even have a crafty student or two who can help organize this lesson.
#14: Buy Nothing Day Conversation Lesson
It’s easy to plan a speaking or conversation-focused lesson about any topic, including this one! Check out this video for the simple steps you can follow to plan your own Buy Nothing Day lesson.
#15: Consumerism Word Association Game
The topics of minimalism, consumerism, shopping and other things related to Buy Nothing Day have a lot of vocabulary words associated with them. If students are already familiar with a number of them, I like to do this brainstorming kind of activity to help them activate their prior knowledge. Find out more here:
#16: Sustainable Living Poster
Have students create posters that promote sustainable living and responsible consumerism. They can include slogans, images, and tips for reducing consumption and waste. Encourage them to present their posters to the class and explain their ideas in English.
#17: Consumerism in the Media
Show commercials or advertisements related to consumer products and discuss their persuasive techniques and impact on consumer behavior. Analyze the language used in advertisements and have students express their opinions on these ads.
#18: Consumerism and the Environment
Discuss the environmental consequences of excessive consumption. Provide statistics and information on the environmental impact of certain products. Have students discuss and debate the importance of making environmentally responsible choices.
#19: Upcycling or DIY Workshop
Teach students how to upcycle or create DIY projects using everyday items. This hands-on activity not only promotes sustainability but also allows students to practice English vocabulary related to materials and instructions.
Ask students to create short stories or narratives that reflect the themes of Buy Nothing Day and sustainable living. They can share their stories with the class, emphasizing storytelling techniques and vocabulary.
#21: Consumerism Quiz
Prepare a quiz or trivia game that tests students’ knowledge of consumerism, sustainable living, and Buy Nothing Day. Make it competitive and fun, with small prizes for correct answers.
Buy Nothing Day ESL Lesson Plans
I love to use what other teachers have created in my lessons! It’s a nice way to save a ton of time. Here are some of my favourite Buy Nothing Day lessons to consider using:
Buy Nothing Day Worksheets and Handouts
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save by using what other teachers have already created. Here are some of the top picks for worksheets and handouts for Buy Nothing Day.
Buy Nothing Day FAQs
There are a number of common questions about this day. Check out the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is the purpose of Buy Nothing Day?
The purpose of Buy Nothing Day is to combat consumerism, change buying habits and consume less. It’s held the day after American Thanksgiving, traditionally most people kick off their Christmas shopping on that day with Black Friday sales.
Who participates in Buy Nothing Day?
There are more than 65 countries that participate in Buy Nothing Day, including the US, UK, Israel, Canada, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, France, and Norway.
Which magazine promotes Buy Nothing Day as a reaction to Black Friday?
The Canadian magazine Adbusters has been promoting Buy Nothing Day as a reaction to Black Friday for more than two decades now.
Did you like these Games and Activities
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. It’s the book you need if you want to have better English classes. The key is a wide variety of interesting and interactive games and activities and this book will help you do that in style.
You can find the book in a variety of formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf to use as a handy reference guide when doing lesson planning. Or, take the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson plans on the go. Or, consider the audio version if you have a long commute.
Whatever the case, get ready for some awesome English classes! Find out more about the book right here:
What is Buy Nothing Day?
Buy Nothing Day is an annual observance that encourages people to refrain from making any purchases for a whole day, typically held on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. The concept of Buy Nothing Day originated in Canada in the early 1990s and has since gained popularity and spread to other countries around the world.
Goal of Buy Nothing Day
The primary purpose of Buy Nothing Day is to raise awareness about the environmental, social, and economic impact of consumerism. It aims to challenge the notion that our happiness and well-being are dependent on material possessions and to promote more sustainable and mindful consumption habits.
Buy Nothing Day advocates argue that excessive consumerism contributes to environmental degradation, overconsumption of finite resources, and social inequality. By refraining from shopping for a day, individuals are encouraged to reflect on their consumption patterns, consider the impact of their purchases, and explore alternative ways to find fulfillment beyond material possessions.
Things to Do Besides Shopping
On Buy Nothing Day, people are encouraged to participate in various activities that do not involve spending money. Some suggestions include:
Organizing community events: Communities can come together to organize free events, such as concerts, movie screenings, or art exhibitions, to promote social connections and shared experiences without the need for consumerism.
Volunteering: Spend the day giving back to the community by volunteering for a local charity or participating in activities that benefit others. This could include cleaning up public spaces, serving meals at a homeless shelter, or assisting in a community garden.
Enjoying nature: Take the opportunity to spend time in nature, whether it’s going for a hike, having a picnic in the park, or simply enjoying a walk outdoors. Nature offers a chance to connect with the environment and appreciate its beauty.
Learning and self-reflection: Use the day to expand your knowledge or engage in self-reflection. You can read a book, watch educational documentaries, meditate, or engage in activities that promote personal growth and well-being.
Why Talk about Buy Nothing Day With English Learners?
Participating in Buy Nothing Day can be a valuable learning experience for English learners as it exposes them to discussions about consumerism, sustainability, and alternative ways of finding happiness. It provides an opportunity to practice vocabulary related to consumption, environmental issues, and community engagement. Additionally, exploring the concept of Buy Nothing Day can stimulate conversations and debates on broader societal topics, fostering language skills and critical thinking.
Buy Nothing Day ESL Activities: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts about these games, activities and lesson plans? Do you have another thing that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think it. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API