So, it seems like almost every single ESL textbook has a unit about the weather and of course, you need some ESL weather activities, right? 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. It’s teaching weather made easy!
Top 20 ESL Weather Activities, Vocabulary, Worksheets and Lesson Plans
#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 ESL Weather Games: Concentration Memory Activity
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.). Finally, you could focus on weather-related compound nouns.
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 that fits well into a weather ESL lesson right here:
This game also works for a number of other word categories.
#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 on making videos fun:
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. It’s a favourite weather ESL activity of mine.
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:
#5 ESL Weather Activities: Task-Based Learning Projects
I like to incorporate some form of task-based-learning in 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 a 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. Teaching weather just got a whole lot better with these top ideas!
#6: English Singing for a Weather ESL 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:
#8 ESL Weather Activities: Yes/No Question and Answers
If you teach beginners, chances are that you’ll cover the grammar for the “be” verb in the present, as well as the topic of weather. Why not combine the two for some ESL teaching awesome? It lends itself to lots of questions, including some of the following:
Is it raining outside today?
Did it snow yesterday?
Is it going to be sunny tomorrow?
If you want to try out some of these games and activities for yourself, then you’ll need to check out the following:
Or, you might also be looking for this style of question? WH questions.
#9: ESL Weather Games Using Present Perfect
The perfect perfect and weather vocabulary are a natural fit together. You could come up with a ton of questions, but here are just a few good examples:
Have you ever made a snowman?
Have you ever been in a blizzard?
And so on. Here are some of the best activities to get your students using these common grammatical constructions:
#10 ESL Weather: A to Z Warmer
Do you know that your students have probably studied the weather before? Then chances are that they already are quite familiar with a number of common ESL weather vocabulary such as rain, snow, sun, wind, etc.
You may want to consider trying out this quick warm-up game that helps students activate any prior knowledge that they may have. The way it works is that you students into groups of 2-3. They write down the alphabet on a piece of paper and then try to think of words that start with each letter. One per letter is good. For example:
And so on. The winner is the team with the most weather vocabulary words when time is up. Find out everything you need to know about this activity right here:
#11: Opinion Games and Activities for ESL
If there’s one topic that people have some strong opinions about, it’s the weather! Some people love the hot temperatures and spending time at the beach in the sun. However, others are all about the cool, crisp temperatures in fall or the new beginnings in spring.
Whatever the case, there are certainly some excellent ESL opinion activities that you could consider trying out that relate well to the weather. Here are some of the top picks:
#12: ESL Reading Activities
Another top pick for a weather ESL lesson is to choose a reading that’s related to this. Something like Breaking News English is an excellent source. There are plenty of articles about extreme weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Or, you may also consider coming at it from the angle of climate change. Whatever the case, there are certainly plenty of readings to choose from in a variety of levels.
Then, you’ll want to consider doing some of these interesting, engaging activities to go along with it. Here are the top picks:
If you’re looking for a quick but fun writing activity for your students, then you’ll seriously want to consider postcards. It’s a nice way to get students doing some writing while thinking about vacation activities and weather as well. Isn’t it a fact that most people mention the weather when writing a postcard?
Do you want to see some more details about this ESL writing activity? You can check it out right here:
Another ESL weather activity to consider is dictogloss. It’s heavy on the listening and writing skills and it’s also quite challenging.
The way it works is that you have to pick out a reading passage that’s related to weather. Perhaps a newspaper article about some extreme weather event like a tornado or flood.
Then, put students into pairs or groups of 3 and read it out at a faster than normal pace for the level of the students. They can take notes and then have to work together to try to recreate what they heard. Read it again and they do the same thing. Finally, students can compare what they have with the original version.
Sounds like an ideal activity for teaching weather? Find out all the details here:
#15: Word Association Warmer
Unless your students are total beginners, it’s likely that they already know a fair bit of vocabulary related to the weather. In this case, consider using the word association warm-up which can help them to activate their prior knowledge about a topic.
Learn how to do it here:
#16: ESL Weather Games for Children
#17: Eliciting ESL Weather Vocabulary
Unless your students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they know a good amount of weather vocabulary before you “teach” them it. Even very young learners learn words like snow, wind, rain, etc. in English.
That’s why I like to start my class off by using some eliciting techniques. There are two main reasons I like to do this. First, it helps me know what to target my lesson as I can see gaps in students’ knowledge. Secondly, it helps my students activate their prior knowledge they may have about a certain topic that can make new things they’re learning easier to grasp onto.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to do this in your classes:
#18: Chain Spelling, a Fun Weather Game
If you’re teaching beginners, then you may want to consider using this fun ESL weather game with your students. Everyone can stand up. Then, say one of the target vocabulary words. Students have to take turns spelling out the word, letter by letter. If they miss, they sit down and are out of that round. Continue until only a certain number of people are left standing.
#19: Odd One Out ESL Weather Game
A quick warmer or review activity for the unit on weather is Odd One Out. Write down 4 words, 3 are which are similar but 1 is not. For example,
- hot, warm, rainy, cold
There are many possible answers in some cases, but the obvious answer for this one is “rainy” because it’s not a kind of temperature. The key is that students tell you why they chose the one they did. Check it out for yourself:
#20: How’s the Weather ESL Card Game
ESL Weather Vocabulary
If you’re looking for some of the most common English vocabulary related to weather, stay tuned! Here are some of the most common words that you can use in these games and activities, or teach your students if they don’t already know them:
- Weather forecast
Weather Forecast ESL
Where can I find some weather forecasts for ESL students you may be wondering to yourself? They’re ideal for working on listening comprehension and can be a great way to reinforce new ESL weather vocabulary. Or, use it a memory game of sorts to spice things up a little bit in your classes.
The best source that we’ve found is YouTube. Here’s just one of many examples of weather reports for English learners.
ESL Weather Lessons
Are you looking for some ready-made ESL weather lesson plans? Then these games and activities probably weren’t what you were looking for. Not to worry though. We have some of our top picks for a weather ESL lesson right here:
ESL Weather Worksheets
Are you looking for some ESL weather worksheets for adults or children? Then these games and activities probably won’t work for you. Not to worry though, here are some of our favourite sources for weather worksheets that you’ll want to consider using with your students:
Did you Like these Weather ESL Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
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, English 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? Or, did you try out one of the fun weather games or activities from this list? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API