So, it seems like almost every single ESL textbook has a unit about the weather. I’m from Canada, so am all about this because it kind of feels like home. In case you don’t know, Canadians LOVE chatting about the weather.
However, it can get a little bit boring for your students sometimes. That’s why I recommend checking out some of these ESL weather activities and games to keep things interesting in your TEFL classes.
Ready? Let’s get to my favourite weather activities for ESL/EFL students.
#1: Password ESL Speaking Activity
A fun ESL weather game is Password which is basically an information gap activity. It’s ideal for children or teenagers, but I’ve used it successfully with adults as well. You can use it with many different vocabulary sets, including the weather.
The way it works is that there’s a secret word that students have to describe to their captain, who has to guess it. For example, maybe the world is “snow.” The team could give hints like: cold, freezing, white, icy rain, etc.
Learn more about how to use these ESL activity in your classes today:
#2: Concentration Memory Game
If you want to challenge your students’ memories, along with helping them remember new vocabulary, then concentration might be the right activity for you. It does require a bit of preparation, but you can often recycle the cards from year to year and class to class.
Make matching cards. How you do this will depend on the level. For beginners, it may be quite simple, just a picture and the word (snow or rain for example). For higher-level students, it could be the word and then a definition. Or, you may wish to do opposites (hot/cold, rainy/sunny, calm/windy, etc.)
Then place the cards in random fashion face-down. The first students picks two. It a match, they keep them and get a point. If not, put them back down and then the next person goes. You can find out more about this memory game here:
#3: Weather Related Videos
Okay, so weather videos may actually be a little bit boring. However, a quick one can be a nice introduction or warmer activity. Just be sure to do some activities related to it to get the most value out of it.
For example, here’s how I would use a video in my classes with adults.
- Get students to talk with a partner about their favourite kind of weather. Or, for beginners, list words they know about this topic.
- Assign some very simple True/False questions.
- Get the students to watch the video and answer the questions.
- Assign some more detailed comprehension questions.
- Watch the video a second time and get students to answer the questions.
- Do some follow-up activities from the textbook, or something from this list.
More information here: How to Use Videos (for ESL).
Here’s one example of a weather report that might work for beginners:
#4: Draw the Idiom for Weather ESL
There are LOTS of english idioms related to the weather. It can be a fun exercise to have students draw the literal meaning of them. For example, it’s raining cats and dogs, or snowed under.
Then, discuss the actual meaning of the weather idiom and have students write them in their notebook, or put them on a chart in your classroom.
Find out more here: Idiom Activity for ESL Students.
#5: Task Based Learning Projects
I like to incorporate some form of task-based-learning into most of my units. For example, if you’re talking about the weather, you could do any of the following tasks:
- Listing. Various kinds of weather conditions.
- Ordering and sorting. Typical weather in spring/summer/fall/winter in a certain location.
- Comparing. Weather in country A vs. weather in country B.
- Matching. Weather condition pictures to the names.
- Problem solving. Pick a vacation destination. When will you go and why? What special things do you need to bring?
- Creative project. Research an historical natural disaster, make a poster about it and then do a presentation.
Learn more here about this style of language teaching: Task Based Learning.
#6: English Singing for an ESL Weather Activity
If you teach kindergarten kids, you’ll probably know that singing is one of their favourite activities. But, if you’re a terrible singer (like me), it can be a bit intimidating. Don’t worry though! Just look on YouTube for some weather-related songs and you really don’t have to be able to sing at all.
Here’s one example of a song that will work for young children:
#7: Small Talk Activities
Small talk is one of those speaking skills that’s often overlooked by teachers and textbooks. I think it’s because it’s not that easy to set up activities or drills to get students to practice this in a natural kind of way.
But, the weather unit lends itself very well to this kind of practice because this is the #1 small-talk topic in many cultures. Here are some ideas of things you can do:
Did you Like these Weather ESL Activities?
Yes? Then you’re going to love this book: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. You probably already know that the key to good classes with kids is a variety of engaging, interesting activities and games. Mix things up and keep them on their toes, right?
Except it can be a real time-suck to scroll around on the Internet looking for things you can actually use in your classes. What if there was a book of top-quality, well-explained and designed games and activities that you could keep on your bookshelf, or take with you on your phone or tablet to your favourite coffee shop?
The better news is that the book is well-organized into various categories: 4-skills, warmers, speaking, writing, review, etc. so that you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in just a minute or two. Plus, many of the activities are low prep or even no-prep so you can spend more time doing what you like to do instead of lesson planning!
101 ESL Activities for Kids is available on Amazon. Check it out now, but only if you want to get yourself some ESL awesome:
Have your Say about these ESL Weather Activities
Do you have any go-to ESL weather games or activities that you like to use in your classes? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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Last update on 2019-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API