Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it is time for some festive Christmas ESL activities in the classroom. If you are teaching in a country which doesn’t celebrate Christmas, this is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about your culture while helping them to expand their vocabulary. Here are 5 Christmas themed activities to add to your ESL lesson plans and get your students into the festive spirit!
1. Christmas Paper Chain Decorations
Paper chain decorations are a great Christmas activity to do with your kids to review their colour vocabulary.
In preparation for the lesson cut strips of different coloured cardboard paper. Show each coloured strip one at a time and elicit “What colour is this?”
Next, divide the students into groups with their own pile of coloured strips. If you want to test their vocab one more time, you can play a quick game of “fly swat” by shouting out different colours and having the students slam their hands down the correct colour.
Once you are satisfied that they know their colours, demonstrate how to make the paper chains. Give the students about 10-minutes and once they are complete help each group hang their paper chains around the classroom.
2. Make Christmas Cards
Making Christmas cards are a fun and easy activity to acquaint your students with Christmas symbolism and greetings.
At the beginning of the lesson, show the students flashcards with different Christmas symbolism. For example Christmas trees, snowmen, Santa, presents, etc. Use these flashcards to elicit and drill the new vocabulary.
Next, hand out paper to each student as well as decorative aids such as glitter, glue, cotton wool, paint and crayons and let them decorate their cards. For older students, you can also teach them Christmas greetings and have them write a festive message inside their card.
3. Pass The Parcel
Pass the parcel is a fun way to review Christmas vocabulary with your students. Before the lesson begins, prepare the package by wrapping each layer with a Christmas themed vocab card and a piece of candy.
When it is time for class, have your students sit in a big circle. Play Christmas music and have the kids pass the parcel until you stop the music. The student with the parcel will then unwrap the first later and have to say the vocab word correctly to keep the candy. Keep going until each student has had a turn.
4. Christmas-Themed Word Find
Word find activities are a great way to get your students thinking about and using their vocabulary in a different way.
For this activity, divide your students into two or three teams depending on how many kids are in your class. Next, write a Christmas themed word on the board. For example, Santa Claus or Merry Christmas and have each team write down as many words as they can using the letters within that word.
Give them a time limit with each word and the team who comes up with the most words wins!
5. Write a Letter to Santa
What would Christmas be without a letter to Santa? Penning a wishlist is a fun activity for your students to review their vocabulary while practising their writing skills.
At the beginning of the lesson explain to your students that they will be writing a letter to Santa telling him what presents they would like for Christmas. To check for understanding, ask a few students what they would like for Christmas and demonstrate the sentence structure on the board. For example: “Dear Santa, I would like a bicycle for Christmas.”
For younger students, instead of asking them to write a letter, you can get them to draw you pictures of what they want for Christmas and then elicit the English words for the different objects as you check their work.
Christmas is always a fun time of the year in the ESL classroom. The kids will love learning about different traditions and getting to unleash their artsy side with the crafts. Which of these Christmas themed activities will you be using to bring the festive cheer into your classroom this December?
Let me know in the comments below!
About the Author
Lauren Melnick is a South African travel blogger and ESL teacher currently living in Ubon, Thailand. When she isn’t making lesson plans and watching nursery rhymes on YouTube, you can find her eating up a storm, taking selfies with dinosaurs, and planning her next adventure.
With schools around the world, Shane English School always has exciting new opportunities to offer.