Are you looking for a fresh way to teach your ESL students common weather words? Are you looking for a new way to review weather expressions and vocabulary?
Why not try one of the following games to add some energy to your class and fun to the everyday topic of weather?
How to Teach Weather: 5 Fun Games and Activities
Pin the Tail on the Globe
After introducing or reviewing a list of weather terms, post a world map on your classroom wall. Take a few moments to introduce your students to the terms equator and pole and discuss what types of weather the residents at each place (human or otherwise) experience year round. Then, depending on the time of year, discuss with your students what the weather may be like in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Finally, review weather in specific areas like rain forests and deserts. Now it is time for fun. Give each student in turn a marker with either a pushpin or piece of tape or other adhesive. This is especially entertaining if you can take a picture of the student or have her draw a small self-portrait. Blindfold one student, give her three turns while she wears the blindfold, and then point her in the direction of the world map. The student should then place the marker somewhere on the world map. You can encourage her to aim for the type of weather she thinks she would enjoy. Then remove the blindfold and have your student describe the weather where she is on the map. Give each student a turn to place himself on the map while blindfolded and then tell the class about the weather at his location.
I’m Going on Vacation
Do you have a dream vacation? Most people can imagine where they would like to go whether it is skiing on a dramatic slope or sunning on a peaceful beach. Give your students some practice with weather words by getting them thinking about their dream vacation. Have your class sit in a circle and ask a volunteer to start. The person who takes the first turn will also take the last turn in the game. With each turn taker, the person should first describe in about two sentences the type of weather he would like on his vacation, and then tell the rest of the class where he will go on that vacation. For example, “I like sunny skies and warm ocean water. I’m going on vacation to Hawaii.” The second person, whoever is sitting to the left of the person that just went, will describe her dream vacation weather, and then tell the class where she is going on vacation. Then she must also repeat where the first student is going on vacation. The third student then tells the class about his dream vacation weather and then where he will go. He also says where student number two will go and then where student number one will go. Continue in this manner until you make it all the way around the circle to the first student who must say, in the correct order, where each of his classmates will take his dream vacation. Feel free to prompt students throughout the game if they are stumped, but do not be surprised if the students do it on their own. If you have the map on the wall from the previous game, you could also let your students put their markers on the globe where they said they would like to vacation after the game is finished.
Here is a game that reviews not only weather words but also question asking. Have one student choose a location he would like to visit. You can supply a list of possibilities or just let him choose at random. The rest of the class takes turns asking questions about the destination trying to determine where the person chose. Encourage your students to use questions about the weather at the beginning to narrow down the possibilities. If the class cannot guess after twenty questions, the student answering the questions wins. If they are able to guess before using all twenty questions, the class wins. Give each student a chance to be the question answerer. If you have a particularly large class, you may want to break your students into small groups to play the game.
This game requires more preparation than the others and a small financial investment, but you can use the props anytime you teach about weather. Start by getting a collection of clothes that are appropriate for all weather conditions, bathing suits, hats, scarves, shorts, raincoats, sunglasses, etc. You can ask for donations from parents, friends or purchase some second hand items at a thrift store. Put them all into a large bin and place them at the front of the class. Then divide your class into two teams and have each team chose a volunteer to stand up front with the collection of clothing. The rest of the class should line up at the back of the room in teams. For each round, you will announce a weather condition and one person from each team should run up to the front of the room. They must then run up to the person on their team who is standing by the clothing and chose an item that is appropriate for that type of weather. The runner must then place the item on the other student without the other student’s assistance. The first person to choose an appropriate item of clothing for his teammate and put in on the teammate appropriately scores a point for the team. Continue until everyone has had a turn or until you have used all your weather words. The team with the most points wins.
This is another game you can play with the collection of all weather clothing. Again, divide your class into two teams. You should also divide the clothing into two equal piles. Again, have one person volunteer to wear the clothing, but this time the opposite team will dress him or her in all the clothing from their pile. That person then returns to his own team and stands at the front of the room. The others are in line at the back of the room. Begin a relay race in which one person at a time runs up to the dressed member of their team, removes a piece of clothing, and announces to you or another judge what type of weather in which that item can be worn. After getting an okay from the judge, he runs back to the rest of the team with the item. Then the next person takes a turn. Continue until the person up front has been stripped of all his weather clothing. The first team to finish wins the game.
When it comes to teaching weather, do not be a drip. Put some fun and excitement into your class and do a weather lesson based on games.
It will energize your students and challenge them to think on their feet, and weather will become an instinctive part of their vocabulary. See our collection of free weather worksheets here.