If you’re looking for some of the best ideas for an ESL holiday lesson, then you’re in the right place. Make holiday ESL lessons fun, engaging and interesting with these games and activities, worksheets, and more.
ESL Holiday Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best ideas for an ESL holiday lesson.
#1: Picture Prompt ESL Holidays Warm-Up
It’s often the case that students are familiar with holiday vocabulary before you explicitly teach them. They may have studied some of the vocabulary in previous classes or heard people talking about it on TV shows or movies.
If this is the case with your students, consider using picture prompt to help students activate their prior knowledge. This can help make anything new they learn more memorable. Find out more about it here:
#2: 63 ESL Holiday Games and Activities
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 111 Pages - 03/22/2021 (Publication Date)
If you’re looking for the ultimate ESL holidays activities and games book, then consider picking up this one: 63 ESL Holiday Games & Activities. You’ll find dozens of ideas for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and more.
You can get the book in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to pull out before a holiday ESL lesson. Or, take the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
Whatever the case, get ready for some ESL teaching awesome in your life. Find out more about it here:
#3: Candy Jar Guessing Game
Here’s a fun activity for any ESL holiday lesson. Fill up a jar with candies, counting as you go. I choose holiday-specific ones like Halloween candy corn, Christmas jelly beans, or Easter chocolate eggs.
Then, let each of your students have one guess as to how many there are. The winner gets to take the jar home with them! If you’re looking for some fun on ESL holidays, this is your activity!
#4: TEFL Holiday Trivia
I love to do some trivia in my TEFL holiday lessons if I think the students may know a bit about the specific holiday already. You can find lots of great trivia on YouTube for any holiday.
#5: Running Dictation for ESL Holidays
This is the ultimate ESL game for any kind of lesson, including just about any holiday. Find, or write a conversation between two people talking about their hopes, or experiences for the specific holiday.
Then, students have to work together to dictate the conversation. Once done, they have to put the conversation in the correct order. It’s a fun way to finish up a TEFL holiday lesson. Check it out:
#6: Valentine’s Day
I love to talk about the history behind this popular holiday as most students don’t know. Then, I have students take a turn at writing some simple love poems. It always makes a fun class! Learn more about it here:
#7: New Year’s
New Year’s lessons are really fun because it’s a nice time of year to reflect on the previous year and also look forward to the next one. There are lots of things to talk about for sure! Here are some of my top ideas:
#8: Spring ESL Holiday Activities
Have a listen to the Let’s Talk TEFL podcast as Jackie and Jennifer discuss some of their favourite ways to celebrate spring holidays like Easter, New Years, Saint Patrick’s Day and more.
#9: Black Friday ESL Activities and Lesson Plan Ideas
I like to talk about some of the more unusual holidays in my classes, such as Black Friday. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual holiday lessons on Easter or Christmas.
Here are some of the best ideas and activity ideas for Black Friday:
#10: Word Association Vocabulary Activity
It’s often the case that students know a good bit of holiday vocabulary before you teach them it! They may have celebrated the holiday before, done a unit on it in previous years, or it may be the case that some words are crossovers from their first language.
Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to help students activate this prior knowledge before adding new words into the mix. Check out one of my favourite ways to do this:
#11: Memorial Day ESL Holiday Lesson
Memorial Day is a great holiday to talk about if you’re teaching students in the USA. It’s an important American holiday but not much is known about it by people from other countries. Here are some of my favourite ideas:
#12: Cinco De Mayo ESL Activities
Cinco de Mayo is another one of those, off-the-beaten-track holidays that students may not know a lot about. That’s why I like to be the one to introduce it to them! I almost guarantee that students won’t know a lot about this one. Find out some of the best ideas:
#13: ESL Valentine’s Day Activities
#14: Saint Patrick’s Day
I love to talk about St. Patrick’s Day with my students, and if they’re adults, have a green beer or two. There’s a lot of history and tradition behind this holiday that most people don’t know about, which can make it an interesting lesson. Check out some of the best ideas here:
#15: ESL Christmas Ideas
Of course, Christmas is a popular ESL holiday lesson! It’s fun and there are just so many things you can do, from watching Christmas movies to making Christmas cards and talking about holiday meals. Check out some of things I do with my own students here:
#16: I’m an Alien
It’s often the case that students know a good bit about the various holidays before explicitly teaching them. If that’s the case, use this simple warm-up activity to elicit a bunch of information:
#17: Easter Classroom Games
I love to celebrate Easter with my students! Who doesn’t like to decorate eggs and have an Easter egg hunt? Instead of focusing on the religious aspects of it, I think of it as kind of a spring celebration of new beginnings. Check out some of my ideas here:
#18: ESL Holiday Charades
Try out this fun activity if students know a good bit of holiday vocabulary, or you’ve recently taught them some. You know how charades works I’m sure. Students have to act out what’s on a piece of paper and their team has to guess what it is. Find out more about using this game in TEFL classes:
#19: Dictogloss ESL Holiday Activity
This is a challenging listening activity that can be adapted for just about any topic, including any holiday. Try it out with higher-level students! Find out more about it:
#20: Conversation Starters
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? If you tell students to talk about Halloween with a partner, there’s silence! A better way is to give some conversation starters to get the conversation going. Check out the details about that here:
#21: TEFL Christmas Activities
#22: Halloween ESL Lessons
If you teach children, Halloween activities and games are kind of like teaching gold! Dressing up, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, etc. can make for an enjoyable day. Check out some of my favourite ideas:
#23: Halloween Phrases and Words
If you want to learn some of the spookiest and creepiest Halloween vocab, then you’ll want to check this out:
#24: ESL Holiday Taboo
You’ve maybe played this popular party game before. You have to describe a word but can’t use a set of related words. I’ve adapted it a little bit to make it easier for English learners. It’s ideal for teaching holidays. Find out more:
#25: Juneteenth Classroom Activity Ideas
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th and celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the USA. Here are some of the best ideas to talk about this holiday with students:
Juneteenth Classroom Activities.
#26: Thanksgiving ESL Activities
American Thanksgiving is a very popular holiday and I like to celebrate it with my students as well. Here are some of the best ideas, from flag football and turkey bowling to a potluck and learning about the history of Thanksgiving. Check them out:
#27: Door Decorating
A nice option for many holidays including St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas is to have students decorate a door in the school. Better yet, make it into a friendly competition and have some fun with it!
#28: Ramadan Vocabulary Quiz
ESL Holiday Worksheets
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use what other teachers have created. Here are some of my favourite resources for Holiday ESL worksheets:
ESL Holiday Vocabulary
Here are some of the most important ESL holiday vocabulary words to teach students:
- April fool’s day
- Black Friday
- Buy nothing day
- Easter egg
- Father’s day
- Labour day
- mashed potatoes
- Mother’s day
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s day
- Valentine’s day
Did you like these Ideas for Teaching Holidays?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Then you’re going to love this book you can find on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better TEFL classes is a wide variety of interesting, engaging and student-centred ESL activities and this book will help you get there in style.
You can find the book in digital, print, and audio formats. Pick up a copy and get ready to level up your English classes! Check it out for yourself:
ESL Holiday Lessons FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about ESL holiday lesson planning. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
Which holidays are the most popular in the USA?
The most popular holidays in the USA are Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
What are some fun activities for an ESL holiday lesson?
Some fun activities for ESL holiday lessons are learning about the history of the holiday, having a potluck with some of the popular food associated with it, or making a craft project.
How can I celebrate Thanksgiving with my students?
To celebrate Thanksgiving with students, there are lots of fun options, including turkey bowling, door decorating, learning about the history of Thanksgiving, a turkey craft project, or a lesson on what people are thankful for.
What are some classroom activities for the holidays?
Some fun classroom activities for the holidays include craft projects, a class party, door or cookie decorating or doing presentations about one aspect of the holiday.
ESL Holiday Lessons: Join the Conversation
Do you have any go-to ESL holiday ideas? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other creative English teachers, like yourself, find this useful resource.
Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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