Did hearing the words, “do your homework,” when you were a child excite you?
For most of us, the word homework doesn’t conjure up exciting or fun memories.
Homework was likely one of the last things you wanted to do as a student!
However, what if you could make homework fun for students? What if homework was entertaining?
In this article, we share some entertaining homework ideas for English language learners to help them improve their English while having fun!
You might be familiar with lots of ESL games and activities for your students, but assigning the right homework can feel overwhelming.
This is particularly true if you don’t want to burden your students with a tremendous amount of information.
Have you ever thought about combining games with homework?
There are many alternative ways to create memorable lessons, such as incorporating karaoke songs to learn English.
Here are 10 fun and entertaining homework ideas for your ESL students:
- Cafe hopper
- Tiktok star
- Let’s go to the movies
- Hello Mr. Teacher
- Interview a stranger
- Shine like a Karaoke star
- Expert on the loose
- 24 hour challenge
- It’s a wrap!
- Masterchef in the making
1. Cafe hopper
Most people love checking out cafes and this is an easy homework task to assign to your students.
Have your students visit a variety of cafes as part of their homework.
Then, consider what they could do for homework in a cafe of their choice.
Here are some fun ideas for turning cafe-hopping into homework:
- Practice ordering in English off of the menu.
- Take a photo of the cafe’s and share the differences and similarities with you in class.
- Speak to a stranger in each cafe in English and ask them some interesting questions about their life.
- Interview the barista about their favorite kind of coffee or beverage.
This is a stress-free homework idea that your students will love, especially if they are coffee or tea lovers!
2. TikTok star
Tiktok is a fun social media application where you can watch videos and songs from creators. You can also watch creators lip-synching to catchy tunes.
Show some fun examples in your class of some famous TikTok songs being lip-synched to by others and practice doing one together.
- For homework, have them choose their favorite song on TikTok.
- They can lip-synch to the song and download the song to their camera album without having to actually post it to TikTok.
- Have them share their creation with you in the next class!
Depending on the age and location of your student, TikTok might not be an option for them. If you are teaching older students or adults, then it might be easier for them to use social media for this homework assignment rather than young children.
If they are too young to use the app, have them find an online video of their favorite song and ask a parent to record them singing!
3. Let’s go to the movies
Going to the movies doesn’t sound like homework, does it? Well, as you might already be discovering, homework doesn’t have to be conventional!
Find some interesting movies that are playing in your students’ area or ask them to watch a movie of their choice in English.
Tell them that their homework is going to be based on the movie they watch.
Here are some ideas for making going to the movies part of their homework:
- Have them write a summary of the movie or their favorite part.
- Tell them that they have to give you a movie review in your next class.
- Have them act out their favorite part of the movie with a sibling or family member and record it (in English of course!).
- Ask them to make a poster advertising the movie with captions, titles and text to accompany any drawings.
If you are struggling to find movies they can go and watch in the cinema, you can always use these ESL movies and TV shows as a resource.
Students can also watch movies from the comforts of their homes.
4. Hello Mr. Teacher!
Students love playing the role of the teacher!
This can work for in-person or online ESL classes.
Tell them that as part of the next classroom activity, the first 5 – 10 minutes will be their time to shine as the teacher!
For homework, ask them to:
- Think of one topic that they know a lot about
(This could be a sport, musical instrument, game, topic, etc…).
- Have them prepare 5 important things that someone needs to know about their topic.
- Tell them that in their next class they will be the teacher and share their knowledge! (They can even give you homework!).
Have fun with this homework idea and role-play the student where you ask them questions after they finish.
Your students will love this one!
5. Interview a stranger
This one might need some parent support and guidance if you are teaching children, but having them interview someone is an entertaining homework idea for English language learners.
- It encourages their own voice as they come up with ideas.
- It helps with writing skills as they write out their questions.
- Interviewing encourages conversation and role playing which is a fun way to learn English.
You could have your younger students interview a family member and ask questions related to that family member’s childhood.
Here are some sample questions you could help your students form:
- What kind of things did you like to do when you were my age?
- What was your favorite thing about school?
- What types of sports did you play when you were young?
- Tell me about what life was like when you were a child.
Have them choose and write out 5-10 questions and come back to class to report on their findings!
6. Shine like a Karaoke star
Who doesn’t like a bit of karaoke? Imagine….singing your heart out to “I love rock n roll” in the privacy of your own home!
You don’t need to go to a karaoke place to actually sing karaoke songs. There are lots of great karaoke songs available online to learn English with your students.
YouTube is a great place to start, just by searching for your favorite song + “karaoke lyrics” in the search bar.
In class, help your student(s) choose a song and task them with finding the online karaoke lyrics to sing along.
Have them sing this for homework! You could even ask a parent to help them record it if they are comfortable with that.
Here are some fun and popular karaoke songs online to learn English:
- “I Will Survive” with Gloria Gaynor
- “Livin’ on a Prayer” with Bon Jovi
- “Summer Nights” with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
- “Don’t Stop Believin’” with Journey
7. Expert on the loose
There is an expert in all of us, including your students!
In this fun and entertaining homework idea, have your student share their expertise on something!
To add a different dimension to the homework idea, “Hello Mr. Teacher,” task your students to dress up as the expert and make a short speech on their topic of choice.
Here are some examples:
- Harry Potter
- Michael Jordan (to talk about basketball)
- Favorite sports athlete
- Insect scientist
- Astronaut (if your student knows a lot about space)
- Presidential candidate
- Pilot (for students who know a lot about countries)
Even if they are not an expert on the topic, part of the homework assignment could be to do some research and learn more about their chosen field.
You could even ask them to dress up and come to class in the role, ready to share their knowledge with you!
8. 24 hour English challenge
This one is self-explanatory and incredibly fun!
Set a challenge for your student to only speak in English for 24 hours.
This means that you might need to get parents involved with the homework assignment, so that they can help out.
The idea is that they have to speak only in English (as much as is possible given their situation) when interacting with family, friends and at school.
Your students might already be immersed in English environments, but, oftentimes, they are speaking their native language at home with family and friends.
Having your students force themselves to only speak in English is challenging and a great way to encourage English outside the classroom.
9. It’s a wrap!
Lots of students love to rap! Rap music is poetic and encourages a lot of ESL language skills that we want to build in our students.
This is an activity that you can model with your students in class and assign it for homework for them to create their own rap.
Again, they can come back to class and rap their new song to you! It might, however, work better with older students who have a good base level of English, to begin with.
Here are some fun homework assignments incorporating rap:
- Create their own rap if they are the creative type
- Find a well known rap online and practice it to present in class
- Assign your students to find a rap online that they sing and record with their friends
10. Masterchef extraordinaire
For the food lovers, creating a homework assignment that includes cooking can be really fun.
Most kids love the idea of cooking, especially if it centers around cooking their favorite food!
When considering this as a homework idea, consider these possible assignments:
- Create and write out a recipe for a unique culinary dish.
- Make a video about the cooking experience.
- Record a tutorial of how to cook something.
- Turn it into a competition if you have multiple students.
Plus, this works with physical and online classrooms.
Of course, if you have a physical classroom with multiple students, this could be a really fun in-class experience with some homework assignments to accompany it.
Who doesn’t love a food-related assignment?
If you choose Masterchef extraordinaire, allow your students to share the food they make with the class and encourage lots of conversations in English.
Homework doesn’t have to be boring!
As you can see, homework doesn’t have to be boring!
Most of your ESL students have a lot to do even outside class, and that’s why assigning homework that doesn’t feel like homework is ideal!
This is an opportunity to get creative, creating excitement for your students to learn English.
If you use some of the homework ideas mentioned here, make sure you document the experience and continue to discover new activities that bring laughter and joy to the classroom.
And when you are applying to online teaching jobs, be sure to share how you plan to creatively incorporate class assignments and homework for your students!
Enjoy the process and make learning an enjoyable experience for everyone.