With the summer holidays approaching it might be nice to base some of your lessons around this seasonal theme. Here is a selection of activities that you can use a various levels.

Clare Lavery

Postcard prompts 

  • Prepare pairs of postcards from your home town, if you can or e cards from the Internet . Postcards can be marked A and B.
  • Give each student a postcard to read and explain that their friend has sent it to them. Ask comprehension questions about the card: 'Where is the sender?' 'What’s the weather like?' 'What is he/she doing?'
  • Review the language needed to ask about holiday places and impressions. 'How was the weather?' 'What did you think of the food?'
  • Put As and Bs together and ask them to telephone their partner and thank them for their postcard. They can also find out more about the holiday.
  • Pairs can perform their conversations for the class.
  • Variation: get students to write postcards from weird or wacky holiday places. Use the postcards to role play (as above)

Holiday quizzes

  • Prepare a general knowledge quiz on Europe/the USA/English speaking countries.
  • Create categories for your questions: capital cities/food and drink/nationality/language/monuments/rivers/mountains/borders/seas and oceans.
  • Write example questions for each category: Are there any mountains in Spain? What’s the highest mountain in Europe? What language do they speak in Holland? What is the capital of Australia? With good groups give them an example question for each category and ask them in small groups to add another question to each category.
  • Then hold a class quiz.

Holiday tour route

  • Take a map of your area of the UK, a section of Europe or a famous route/tour that people might do (the Californian coast and cities/ the South of England/ Scotland). Plan a route or tour that you will dictate to the class. You can take a ready made tour from a UK travel site or travel brochure.
  • Ask students to trace the route with a pencil on their maps as they listen to you. Ask them to compare maps, listen again and check the route. They can also make notes of activities planned for each place.
  • Give them a travel itinerary of this tour in the style of a holiday brochure. Miss out key information and ask them to use their maps and notes to complete it.
  • Put students in pairs or small groups. Ask them to pick a country they would like to visit. They should plan a 10 day holiday and agree together on places to visit and the sorts of things they would like to do. Review the language for suggestions/giving opinions/making plans before they start.

Summer destinations

  • Practise descriptions of places using photos from travel brochures. Give each group a selection of 5-6 places. Ask them to take turns in describing the place in their picture: the climate, the location, the activities you can do there. Make sure you have a good contrast in climates/urban and rural/developed or very deserted places. Then either:
    • Ask each group to select their favourite destination from the pictures you have given them. Go round the class and ask them to say why they would like to visit the place in the picture.
    • Or ask them to use their pictures to pick a holiday for a honeymoon couple, a group of teenagers and a retired couple. Each group presents their choice to the class explaining why they have chosen this holiday, why it is suitable.
  • Focus on plans for the summer (not just a holiday) and use them to preview the language needed to talk about plans. Ask students to note down key words while you are speaking: This July I’m planning to work in my Uncle’s shop and I’m going to do some reading for my university course next year. I would like to play a bit of tennis and spend some time with my friends. Ask students to do the same exercise in pairs. The note taking will help them listen carefully. Go round the class asking students to tell you about their partner’s plans.

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