If you’re looking for some of the best ideas for teaching the seven continents and five oceans, then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for the best continents and oceans games and activities, along with lesson plans, worksheets and other resources.
Teaching Continents and Oceans Activities
Let’s get into the best activities and games for teaching about the continents and oceans.
#1: Hot Potato Game
If you want to have some with your students, then you’ll definitely need to try hot potato. The way it works is that students have to pass around a potato (object of some kind) until the music stops or the timer goes off. The person holding the object when this happens has to do a task of some kind. Here are some ideas:
- Spell a word (a certain continent or ocean)
- Name all 5 oceans
- Name all 7 continents
- Guess the name of a continent or ocean-based on hints that you give
- Use a superlative to describe an ocean or continent
- Point out one of these things on a blank map
There are lots of things you can do with the Hot Potato game! More details here:
#2: Vocabulary Auction with Oceans or Continents
This is a fun vocab game that does require some preparation time. That’s why I love to do it when I can use this activity for multiple classes but I might not put in the effort for a single class.
Make up a bunch of sentences using oceans/continents and comparatives/superlatives. Or, you could include special features of a certain continent that have been mentioned in class. For example:
- Asia is the largest continent.
- Australia is the smallest continent.
- The Arctic ocean is colder than the Pacific.
Then, cut up all the sentences into individual pieces and throw in a bunch of extra articles and words like: is, continent, the, ocean.
Students have to bid on the words and then can engage in a trading session to find words to make true sentences. It’s a nice way of dealing with both forms and meanings in a single activity. Find out more about it:
#3: 7 Continents Song
When teaching kids, songs and chants are where it’s at! I sometimes even catching my students singing along to them in the hallways between classes. Then I know that my job is done.
If you’re kind of like me and don’t have a musical bone in your body, not to worry. There are lots of great options on YouTube for just about any vocabulary set, grammatical point or topic.
#4: Task-Based Geography Activities
I like to use task-based teaching activities in my classes once in a while. They’re a nice change from the mostly communicative ESL activities that you can find in most textbooks.
In this case, I put students into seven groups and get them to do research about a certain continent. Then, they have to make a poster (or a few PowerPoint slides) and then do a short presentation. It’s a fun way for students to learn about the continents in an interesting way that doesn’t involve me talking about them! Have a look here at all my ideas:
#5: Current Events Presentations about things Happening Around the World
If you teach more advanced students, consider having them do presentations about current events. In this case, it could be limited to something related to the oceans (overfishing, ocean levels rising,) or something happening on a continent not their own. Learn how to to set it up here:
#6: Taboo for Oceans, Continents, Countries and Places
I’m sure you’ve played the taboo game before. The way it works is that someone has to describe a certain word but they can’t use another set of related words. I adapt it for my English learners by having them describe a word but they don’t have any restrictions on the other words they can use.
In this case, the mystery words could be the five oceans, seven continents, countries or other geographical features that you’ve talked about in class. Try out this fun game with your students:
#7: How to Teach English Learners New Words
#8: Chain Spelling Game
A nice way to review the spelling of oceans or continents, which can be a little bit tricky is to play this chain spelling game. Students have to stand up and then the teacher says a word (Europe). Students take turns to spell the word, letter by letter. If a student misses a letter, they have to sit down and are out of that round. Try it out:
#9: Running Dictation
A nice way to review any sort of vocabulary is to play this running dictation game. Find (or write) a conversation between two people using the target words. Then, students have to work together to dictate the conversation, line by line.
After doing that, they have to put the conversation into the correct order. Finally, they can compare what they have with the original. Have a look:
#10: Dialogue Substitution
Have you ever noticed that students just kind of blow through reading dialogues without really paying attention to what they’re reading? Of course, it’s not their fault! It’s mostly that I haven’t given them a reason to read.
A better way to do this kind of thing is to remove some of the key words. Then, it changes the activity for a simple one that’s focused on only reading into one that deals with meaning as well. Try it out today:
#11: Continents and Oceans Listening Lesson Plans
I love to introduce new vocabulary, including these ones through a listening passage. It’s also possible to design an entire lesson plan around them. Seems daunting? It doesn’t have to be if you follow these simple steps in this ESL listening lesson plan template. Find out how to plan an awesome 7 continents and 5 oceans listening lesson for your students:
#12: Telephone ESL Speaking Game
A fun way to review vocabulary, including the continents or oceans is to play the telephone game. Students have to pass down a message from person to person and then compare what they have at the end with the original statement. Of course, include lots of the target vocabulary words so that students get lots of practice listening to them, as well as saying them. Learn more about it:
#13: Jigsaw Games and Activities
#14: Teaching Continents ESL Speaking Lesson
It’s easy to design your own speaking lessons for continents or oceans by using a template. Seriously. It takes just a few minutes to make an awesome ESL speaking lesson. Learn how here:
#15: Picture Prompt
#16: What Am I?
You’ve maybe played this fun party game before where you have a secret person or thing and you have to ask other people yes/no questions to try to find out what it is.
It’s also possible to play this game with English learners. Write down a bunch of the target vocabulary, including oceans, continents, famous rivers, oceans, countries and more on pieces of paper. Then, students have to circulate around the class to try to figure out their secret word. Find out more about it here:
#17: Dictogloss Continents and Oceans Activity
Try out this challenging listening activity with your more advanced students. Find, or write a passage containing lots of the target vocabulary. Then, put students into pairs and read it out quite a fast pace. Students have to take notes and then work together to try to recreate what they heard. Repeat the process again and then students compare what they have with the original one. Check it out:
#18: Guessing Game
Try out this quick activity to get students talking about oceans and continents. Write down a bunch of these words in a random fashion on a PowerPoint slide. Then, students have to take turns describing to a partner one of these words and their partner has to guess what it is.
It’s simple, challenging and a nice way to review new vocabulary. Find out more:
#19: The Memory Circle
This is one of my favourite vocabulary games for kids who are learning new words for the first time. It’s a challenging, interactive memory game. Try it out with your students:
#20: 20 Questions for Teaching Continents and Oceans
You might already know the 20 questions game. It’s a nice activity for teaching vocabulary as well. Choose a secret ocean, continent or other geographical feature. Then, students have to ask questions or make guesses to figure out what it is.
After that, students can play together in smaller groups. Find out how I adapt this activity for English learners:
#21: Look at a Map
A simple way to go about teaching continents and oceans is to have students look at a map. Point out the 7 continents and the 5 oceans and say them out loud. Have students repeat after you. After this, students can get a blank map and fill in the various words.
#22: Touch the Ocean or Continent
Paste the names of the various oceans and continents around your classroom. Then, have students stand up. Give hints about an ocean or continent. For example:
- It’s the continent that is only one country.
- It’s the biggest ocean.
- It’s between North America and Europe.
Students have to move around the classroom and touch the correct word.
#23: Listening Lesson Plan
A nice way to teach just about any topic is with a listening lesson. Find a conversation between two people talking about the continents or oceans. Or somebody (you?) doing a similar thing. Then, plan an entire lesson around that. Check it out:
Continents Lesson Plans
If you’re a busy teacher, then you’re going to know how much time it can save to just print off a lesson plan that another teacher has done the hard work for. Right? Of course! Here are some of the top picks for 7 continents lesson plans:
Oceans Lesson Plans
If you’re looking f0r some of the best lessons for teaching about the oceans, have a look at some of our best recommendations here:
Oceans and Continents Worksheets
Another way to save a ton of time when teaching is to use worksheets that other teachers have made. Here are some of the best options for the 7 continents and oceans worksheets to consider using with your students:
Teaching Oceans and Continents FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching this concept. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How do you teach students about continents?
There are a number of ways to teach students about continents. Begin by showing students a map with the various continents. Then, have students say the names and do a worksheet to fill in the blanks. Next, students can learn some of the characteristics of each one, including some of the biggest countries and the oceans that surround them.
What are the 7 continents?
The 7 continents, from biggest to smallest are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
What are the 5 oceans?
The 5 oceans are: Arctic, Southern, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific.
What’s the smallest ocean?
The smallest ocean is the Arctic Ocean, with an area of 6.1 million square miles.
What is the difference between an ocean and a continent?
The difference between an ocean and a continent is that an ocean is a body of water while a continent is a mass of land.
Did you like these Ideas for Teaching Kids about the Continents?
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 76 Pages - 11/28/2015 (Publication Date)
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Have you Say about Activities for Identifying the Continents and Oceans
What’s your top pick for an activity or game for teaching kids (or adults!) how to identify the continents or oceans? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have your eye on another one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API