Activities on the theme of summer

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

Clare Lavery

Postcard prompts 

  • Find postcards from your home town, if different to that of the learners, or from interesting places in their country or around the world. They can be printed from the internet if easier. Complete the postcards on the back in advance. You will need a minimum of two different postcards, one for student A and one for student B.
  • Give each student a postcard to read and explain that their friend has sent it to them. Give them some comprehension questions to answer about the card, e.g. '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, e.g. 'How was the weather?' 'What did you think of the food?'
  • Put As and Bs together and ask them to 'telephone' their partner, thank them for their postcard and find out more about the holiday.
  • Pairs can perform their conversations for the class.
  • As a follow-up, get students to write postcards from weird or wacky holiday places. Then use the postcards to do a similar telephone role play.

Holiday quizzes

  • Prepare a general knowledge quiz on different countries.
  • Create categories for your questions: capital cities, food and drink, nationality, language, monuments, rivers, mountains, borders, seas and oceans, etc.
  • Write example questions for each category: Are there any mountains in Spain? What's the highest mountain in Africa? What language do they speak in Brazil? What's 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

  • Plan a tour of any region, country or continent, or use a well-known one - you can find ready-planned tours on plenty of travel sites. It should mention what things to see and do at each stop on the route.
  • Give students a copy of a map showing the area that the tour takes place in. Read out the tour description to the class. Ask students to trace the tour 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 the activities planned for each place.
  • Give them a copy of the tour description with key information blanked out. Ask them to use their maps and notes to complete it.
  • Put students in pairs or small groups. Ask them to pick a region, country or continent they would like to visit. They should plan a ten-day holiday and agree together on places to visit and the sorts of things they would like to do. Review the language for making suggestions, giving opinions and making plans before they start.

Summer destinations

  • Practise descriptions of places using photos from travel brochures. Give each group a selection of five or six 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 areas and developed and 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.
    • 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 and 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 working 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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