Summer camp is one of the best ways to have the kids spend their free time during school breaks. It combines fun and educational activities that allow the campers to grow and develop their skills seamlessly and naturally. The same goes for learning English and working on breaking those language barriers.
When it comes to summer camps for teens, the activities need to be adjusted to their mindset and preferences in this sensitive age. They can’t be too childish or simple. Otherwise, the teen will be reluctant to participate. Below, we’ve created a list of the top 5 interesting summer camp activities for teens to learn English.
Let’s break them down!
Teens can work on their English skills and their general knowledge at the same time. Learning about different English-speaking countries is a great way to combine these two.
So, here’s how to organize a cultural night for teens in summer camp:
- choose an English-speaking country for that evening
- give each time to research and prepare for presenting one aspect of the culture, e.i. food, music, clothes, history, or art
Let’s say you’ve chosen Ireland. One group would prepare a playlist of Irish songs, some would learn to do the Irish dance, the other would prepare Irish stew, and another group would do a presentation on St. Patrick’s Day. Kids can use fast translation services to translate some of their famous stories or recipes for other Irish dishes. You can repeat a cultural night with another country after a couple of days.
You may feel like field day is strictly for young children who love running around and getting their hands dirty. But teens love field day activities as well and can get pretty competitive once the games start. The important thing is that you choose activities that are challenging and exciting so that the teams really need to fight for victory.
Some great activities include:
- tug-of-war competition
- obstacle course race
- water balloon toss
- frisbee, badminton, volleyball, or any other sports tournament
- capture the flag
These activities encourage teamwork and, thus, communication, making it inevitable for teens to use their English skills and work in sync with their teammates.
If you want to bring the talent and creativity out of your teens, have them perform a play in English in front of their peers. Assign this activity at the beginning of summer camp and allow them to have practice time each day until the performance.
You can have them working on the costumes, makeup, hair, and props as a part of the other summer camp crafts activities.
Finally, gather everyone around and have each group perform their play for the others. The entire process will be great for their English skills since all the preparation and practice would have to be done in English.
Another great way to have the teens conversing, writing, listening, and working as a team is to try the Business plan activity. This activity is supposed to inspire teamwork and strengthen language skills through a series of tasks that the teams have to carry out.
Here’s how it works:
- divide the teens into teams of 3 or 4 people
- assign each team with the same imaginary budget for a business
- have them develop a business idea and plan that fits the budget and is designed for other teens alike
Guide them through phases such as brainstorming ideas, choosing the best one, deciding on the necessary steps, budgeting, and the final presentation. They can use GrabMyEssay to find essay samples. This could help them improve their business idea presentation.
Finally, this last activity is for those with somewhat strong English skills who need the motivation to use it more freely and without speaking anxiety. With more than 31% of ESL students having anxiety about English classes, this would be a great way to break it. Debates are brilliant for having teens practice their speaking skills and using everything they’ve got to prove their point.
To organize a great debate, we suggest you do the following:
- divide the teens into two teams
- have each team come up with a set of 4 controversial topics that could be debated
- collect the topics and read them one by one, asking the teens to choose a PRO or CON side individually
- choose a topic that has approximately the same number of teens on both sides
For instance, if the topic suggestion was ‘’All zoos around the world should be closed and banned’’ and you have around the same number of teens on both sides, this is a topic worth discussing.
After choosing the topic, set the ground rules for the debate, assign each team a standpoint to defend, and let the debate begin.
Summer camp activities for teens to learn English need to be imaginative and adjusted to their specific tastes and learning style. Teens can be tricky when it comes to grabbing their attention and having them actively engaged. This is why it’s worth the effort to plan the activities carefully and come prepared.
Hopefully, the 5 fun and engaging activities that we’ve shared above will help you throw an amazing summer camp for teens and inspire them to work on their English skills even harder.
Diane Sherron is an English teacher and a blogger. Her methodology of teaching is based on finding fun, engaging, and age-appropriate activities that will motivate any student to take an active part in the lesson. She writes to inspire other teachers and educators to try unconventional teaching methods with their students.