We all like to have fun, and for many the most fun of all is going to an amusement park.
There are awesome rides, indulgent foods, and laughs all around. Many ESL students love going to amusement parks as part of their overseas experience. (And who can blame them?) The following activities center around the theme of amusement parks. They are a great precursor or follow-up to a class road trip or a way to talk about vacation activities. Whenever you decide to use them, your students are sure to get pumped for their next trip to the theme park of their dreams.
8 Awesome ESL Activities about Your Favorite Parks
This is a great way to get your amusement park activities started and get your students in the mood to talk about their favorite places. As your students enter the classroom, have them get in groups of four or five to brainstorm as many words associated with amusement parks as they can. You can give them different prompts by asking for rides, foods, and activities as well as other items. If you like, give your students some time on amusement park websites to add to their lists or to learn about parks in general. If you do, you’ll have a reading comprehension activity as well.
Design a Ride
Give your students free reign to create their own park attraction. The best ones for this activity are larger, more complex rides such as roller coasters or those based on movies. Have each person design their ride and create a picture of the ride. Also have each person write a short paragraph describing their ride. Once students have completed the design and paragraph, have them give a short presentation to the class on the ride they designed.
Design a Park
Once your students are familiar with the words they need to describe what is in a park, give them a chance to design their own. In groups of three or four, have students create a map which lays out their unique amusement parks. If possible, have several real park maps posted in your room for inspiration and as examples. (You can collect these if you visit parks, ask friends and students to bring you copies when they go, or print them from park websites.) Students should work with their groups to include rides (using traditional rides as well as the ones your class designed in “Design a Ride” is great) and also snack areas, bathrooms, and parking areas. Have students draw their park map on a large poster board and then display them around the classroom.
Write Your Own Rules
Most amusement parks have rules for their visitors, and this simple writing activity is based on those rules. Some park rules are general such as no outside food or drink. Others are more specific such as height requirements for certain rides. Have your groups work together to write some rules for their amusement parks. They can use the rules from other parks for inspiration (you can find these on park websites).
Plan a Visit
Once your class has designed their own parks, let your students look at the maps and pictures that display the parks. Then ask each person to choose the park they would most like to visit. If you like, have a short class discussion in which each person announces the park they would like to visit and why. Then have each person write a composition entitled “My Trip to the Amusement Park” based on an imaginary trip to the park of their choosing. If you are teaching younger students, have them illustrate their stories, and then compile them all in a binder. Set that binder out at a learning station or on a class bookshelf so students can read about these trips at leisure.
You might also want to have your students write and perform a skit based on an amusement park visit. Have students work in groups of three to five to write and perform a skit set in an amusement park. Students should decide what roles each will play in the skit (ride operator, visitor, ticket collector, etc.) and then write a dialogue using those roles.
Make a Plan
One of the most frustrating parts of visiting an amusement park is the long lines for rides. Have your students work with a partner to come up with a plan to decrease the lines at their favorite parks. They should then pretend that they are amusement park consultants and they are writing a letter to the park director. In the letter, they should present their idea for decreasing lines and try to convince the director why their solution is the one that should be implemented. After students have written their letters, have them present their ideas to the class. Then have the class vote on which idea they think is the most likely to decrease lines at their favorite parks.
Amusement Park Survey
Surveys are a great way to get students talking to native speakers in a lower stress way. Have your class brainstorm a list of several questions they might ask the average person about amusement parks. Then have groups of three students select five questions to put into a survey. Groups should type up their questions and then print several copies and put them on a clipboard. Then give students time (or have them do it for homework) to approach native speakers in the area to take a quick survey. (You may want to teach them how to approach a stranger and ask for a few minutes of their time to answer some short questions.) Then have students take turns asking strangers if they will take the survey and then asking their questions and writing down the answers the people give. When students return to class, have them tally their information and compile it into simple graphics.
There are so many fun activities you can do on an amusement park theme. Maybe you have tried some of your own and they’ve worked great.