The fun of learning English!

Resource Info

Basic Information

Here are a few activities that were conducted for a large group of children during their summer camp. They enjoyed the activity based learning and were happy that they could speak, read & write so much English. Teachers can use these activities in the classroom too!

(All day)

The Azim Premji Foundation members were involved with the Auro Society month long summer camp for four days. Initially, we were mere observers so as to get an idea of how the camp was being conducted , the number of students participating, the facilities being offered, and resources that were needed. This information helped us plan our work well and it was easy for us to start right away.  Keeping  the number of students in mind,  we divided them into 4 batches with 40 students each. Teachers can use build on these activities for their students, in the classroom.


Through activities, the objective was to involve all the children in learning how to use the English language. Group activities and the games help build confidence, encourage team work and provide exposure to actual situations where the language could be used. 

Activity Steps: 
Day 1: (Classes 4-6)

Breaking the ice: The children were made to stand in a circle and were taught the action song “Hello everybody how are you?” We repeated it a couple of times and before beginning with the activity.

Picture Description

Skills to be developed: Using descriptive words,  employing sentence patterns, developing fluency, arranging sequences.

  1. The children were divided into groups of 5.  
  2. Instructions were given in English and Tamil.
  3. Chart papers, sketch pens and pencils were distributed.
  4. Each group was given a word card. (The words were chosen keeping in mind the level of students & their limited exposure). Egs:  Beach, Family, Holiday, Diwali, etc.
  5. Another paper with a list of naming words and action words were given. 
  6. With the word card and the list of naming and action words, the participants were asked to write down 5 sentences each in the chart paper provided.

The spelling errors were not corrected and help given was minimum. We moved around the groups encouraging them at every step.

Two action songs("An Elephant walks like this and that”, and “Finger to finger, elbow to elbow") were  taught. The children enthusiastically participated in the activity. Initially, they were apprehensive about writing in English but after understanding the activity they worked well as a group. They gained confidence and could express themselves better.


  • They came up with more sentences than we’d asked.
  • They learnt new words, and also how to arrange them in a sequence.
  • They  came up with new ideas that they  wanted to express in English. Here we gave hints & asked leading questions.
  • They found it challenging.
  • They said they gained confidence in writing in English. 

Day 2: (Classes 4-6)

Breaking the ice: As soon as the students formed a circle they were taught a song in English called “Tooty Tata” with actions. The song goes like this “Thumbs up, elbows back, feet apart, knees together, eyes shut, tongue out”. The children enjoyed the song and actions.

Picture Description

Skills to be developed: Narrating, using descriptive words, learning new words, writing in sequence.


  1. The participants were divided into groups of 5.  
  2. Chart papers, sketch, pencils & erasers were distributed.
  3. The action pictures were distributed.
  4. The pictures were of stories familiar to them.(The Thirsty crow, The Hare and the Tortoise, The cap seller and the monkeys, The Fox and the Crow)
  5. They had to arrange the pictures in a sequence and write 5 to 6 lines based on the story and give a title.


  • They understood the theme of the story and could suggest a suitable title.
  • They could bring out the story in sequence and write accordingly.
  • They learnt new words, phrases, spellings.
  • They had a neat hand- writing.    
  • They could work in groups and keep to the time schedule.   

Day 3: (Classes 9-11)

Breaking the ice: The children were made to form a circle. A box, containing questions,  was passed round with music in the background. When the music stopped the person who got the box had to introduce themselves (name and place they were from), pick a paper and answer simple questions in English like:

What are your hobbies?
What gift would you choose for your mother?
What would you do if you suddenly developed wings?

Picture Description

The participants were divided into groups of 5.
Chart papers, sketch pens and pencils were distributed.
Each group was asked to choose one of the following topics (written on pieces of paper and were picked by a person from each group)                                                                                  

  1. Explain step by step how to make a cup of tea.
  2. How will you spend your free time?
  3. How will you spend your time with your friends? 
  4. What measures will you take to avoid using Plastic bags?
  5. Given a chance which social service will you do?
  6. What pet animals would you like to have at home? Why? 


  • They learnt to express themselves and were surprised that they could do so much in English.
  • It was an exposure to actual situations that helped promote their skills in speaking and writing.
  • This exercise was given so that they can think, be innovative & be original.
  • Field practical provided them actual experience of the activities done in class room.
  • A lot of persuasion was needed to make the participant aware of the effectiveness of experiential  learning involved in these activities and why they should participate.

Other activities:

A. Story time
The children were made to sit in a circle. We told them a story in English, and asked them to translate it into Tamil, line by line. We repeated this process with a Tamil story which the children had to translate into English. The students enjoyed it and with the help of the teacher's actions they could easily find the words and form sentences.


B. Basic Conversation skills & relationships:  We displayed a “Family” chart. There were pictures of a Joint family, Small family, Large family and Single parent Family. This helped them identify and learn the various relationships.They learnt to introduce themselves( their name, grade/class, place they were coming from) and to say a few lines about their immediate family.

C. Riddles & Puzzles:  
Listed below  are one in  each category. The objective of these is to kindle their interest in the language and to show them that learning English can be fun. The riddles and puzzles will also help relieve the monotony and encourage them to ask questions.

Substitute with highlighted word/s:

A place where you can read books ..... begins with L

His father and mother came to pick him up....begins with  P

Riddles about some fruits & vegetables:

I am brown, I grow under the ground, I stay fresh for a long time, You  love me as chips....begins with P

Fill in the blanks with words that show actions:

  • The old man walked   ____________
  • The nurse spoke       ______________
  • The children played   __________

The children enjoyed the activity enormously and developed questioning skills. Once this activity started they crowded around us without hesitation. The teacher-student divide vanished and we all sat on the floor enjoying the interaction.  


rajanipandey's picture

wow! I really like being a part of these kinds of camps and share many ideas with children and enhaance their skills.Hope some day I would also be involved in these camps.

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