10+ Activities for Teaching English Summer Camp
Holding a summer camp can be an intimidating challenge for new and experienced teachers alike. For these kinds of English camps, teachers typically create up to 10 lesson plans for the duration of the camp. Summer camps can last anywhere between one week and a month or even longer. The main goal of an English camp is to have a fun and memorable time with the students while practicing their English.
While this might sound easy, English camp is so much more than just playing a couple of fun games. If you want to hold a successful camp session, you’ll have to do a lot of research and preparation. The following games are great activities for teaching English summer camp abroad.
It’s all about fun… and props!
Props will make your summer camp a lot more fun and exciting for the kids. In contrast to their regular English classes, summer camp should involve a lot more interesting games. You can use all kinds of different props for your summer camp, ranging from fly-swatters, balloons (filled with air, water, paper, etc.), boiled eggs, a couple of dice, art supplies, a big container, boxes, and even costumes.
Once you’ve got an arsenal of props, you can start building your lessons and activities around them. It’s also recommended to take a game and blend it with other games to create a new one. Also, think like this: If you were the student, would you enjoy this game? BINGO is fun, but you can only play it so many times. Try something different!
Water Balloon Toss
You only need to throw the term “water balloons” into the classroom and your students' eyes will twinkle in excitement. While it’s already incredibly fun to simply throw water balloons around the room, the activity has to involve English.
To do this, set up two small blackboards (6”x 6” works well) and prepare several markers. Next, fill the water balloons and split your class into two teams. To play the game, the teacher yells out a word and two students from each team run to the blackboards and write the word on it. The first student to be done yells “Finished!” and if the word was spelled correctly, they can throw a water balloon at the other student. You can also add more rules, for example, the target isn’t allowed to move but if they do, the thrower gets a second chance to throw or something to that effect.
At the end, you can also do a K.O. match between the best players of each team. The winning team then gets to throw all the remaining balloons at the losing team.
The Flyswatter Game
Another great activity for teaching English summer camp is the Flyswatter Game. It’s very easy to set up and always gets the kids going and laughing. To play the game, simply write a couple of English words onto the board and give a flyswatter to each team. Again, split the class into two teams and have one student from each team come up to the board. Once the students are ready to play, you yell out a word from the board. The first student to hit the correct word with the flyswatter wins a point for the team.
This game is ideal for practicing reading speed. To make it a little more difficult, you can write the words in all sorts of directions to make it harder for the students to read them.
Have Handouts Ready
As you can’t always predict how long an activity might last, it’s always good to have some backup handouts ready to use when there’s extra time. This can be anything from crosswords, word searches, or double puzzles. You can also create your own grammar worksheets, fill-in-the-blanks, or surveys. These are great for calming the students down after an exciting game.
A quick Google search reveals a multitude of powerpoint games online. You can download them and then run them on the computer in your classroom. Some games also allow you to customize the content to suit your students level, for example. Games like Jeopardy or Family Feud are great for review lessons and you can find many available Powerpoint versions online.
Also read: Top 5 Icebreakers for New TEFL Teachers
Kids love board games - that’s not a secret. A lot of schools have a collection of board games already that you can use and if not, they might be willing to purchase some for summer camp. Games like UNO, JENGA, Twister or Scrabble are very popular for English lessons. If your school can’t provide board games, you can also find some resources to make your own online.
When Your School Doesn’t Have a Budget or Supplies
If your school can’t provide any supplies and doesn’t have a budget to purchase materials, there are some other fun games you can play that only require things every classroom has: a board, markers, paper, and pens.
Riddles, for example, are a fantastic way to test your students’ listening skills. You can find a lot of fun English riddles online, but one example could be:
Riddle: What has to be broken before it is used? Answer: Eggs
Another fun activity for teaching English summer camp that doesn’t require any supplies is called story grids. With this game, you draw a table of words and fill it with intriguing words like “shocked”, “witch”, “poison”, and so on. Next, the students use these words to create their own story and then, they present it to the class.
For this next activity, you bring in a photo or a picture of something but you don’t show your students. Instead, you describe what is shown in the photo and have the students draw what you describe. When you’re done describing, you show the original image to your students and compare the results. This always results in a lot of laughter.
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