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Activities to do with your exchange student

 

We find ourselves living in a ‘new environment’ right now and we are all adjusting and finding great new ways to have fun and socialize with one another, even when going places outside of the home is not as easy. Here are some ideas of interesting things to do with your exchange student! These are activities that help students increase their English skills as well as bond with the family and enjoy their exchange in America during this unprecedented time in history!

  • Create a family website, Facebook page, Instagram account, or blog where you share photos, recipes, and life events. This will be a great way for your student’s natural family to see what fun you are all having and will be a terrific remembrance of your time together. Make a free blog or vlog at a site like https://www.wix.com/account/sites or wordpress.com.
  • Dress up like fashion models together and do a photoshoot. Or you can try dressing up in old Halloween costumes for the photos!
Host Family
  • Always thought you should learn how to use Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or TikTok? This is a great opportunity because your student likely knows and would love to teach you! It’s a great chance to bond and for your student to practice their English as they take the role of teacher.
  • Start a mini-Book Club- another great opportunity for your student to practice their English through reading and discussion.
  • Encourage each family member to write questions and put them on a slip of paper in a jar. Draw a slip each night and take turns answering. It is a great chance to get to know each other better and practice English. Lots of fun icebreaker questions can be found online as well at a site like https://museumhack.com/list-icebreakers-questions/#great.
  • Sing Family Karaoke- you can even make a music video together and post it in your Family Blog or on YouTube.
  • Cook dinner together, and even create a cooking video together.
ETC Host family
  • Try recipes from your student’s home country and also try recipes together from other cultures! This is a terrific opportunity to expand everyone’s world. Choose a country each week and have each family member contribute facts and pictures, as well as recipes, to a family blog entry about the country.
  • Take a virtual Family Field Trip! Here are many options: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a32403098/virtual-field-trips-for-kids/
  • Explore your hometown area with a family hike or bike ride.
  • Host a ‘Family Olympics’ games in your house or backyard. You can have serious events like running or make up your own events like spoon races and three-leg races. More fun ideas can be found here: https://www.playpartyplan.com/go-for-the-gold-party-games/
  • Search online for directions for a new card game and learn to play it together. Some fun games can be found here: https://playingcarddecks.com/blogs/all-in/40-great-card-games-for-all-occasions
  • Make up stories together, where each person tells 1-2 sentences and the next person picks up where they left off. Write them down and include them on your family blog or website.
  • Make your own Mad Libs for each other (another great English-building activity!). Learn how here: https://hobbylark.com/party-games/How-to-Make-Your-Own-Mad-Libs
  • Create your own word searches or crossword puzzle with a theme like ‘Favorite Things in America.’ You can generate a word search for free here: https://bit.ly/31f8J8q or a crossword puzzle here: https://bit.ly/3jfiD00.
  • Create greeting cards together and mail them to friends and family around the country or world. Teens often don’t realize how great it can be to receive actual ‘Snail Mail.’
  • Host a Facebook live party and invite friends and family to participate.
  • Play music together. If your family is musical you can put on a concert. Even if you are not, you can be creative and make a water glass choir, pots-and-pan drums, or a rubber band guitar.
  • Read a classic aloud together.
  • Watch a YouTube tutorial on origami and practice making it together. Lots of ideas can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA7kuhQGNIO4X2dizncyiPQ.
  • Can your student help you at work? Volunteer to file or organize things?
  • Volunteer by writing letters or making cards for residents of local nursing facilities. Residents are isolated during this time and they will have their spirits lifted to receive a letter or handmade card from an international student!
ETC Students
  • Sort through old family photos- how fun to show your student and share old memories as well as accomplish a task that always gets put on the backburner.
  • Have a Pajama Day and watch movies all together- each person picks their favorite movie to share with the family.
  • Play a video game together! Join the student’s world and interests. Strike a deal by saying, “You teach me how to play your favorite video game and then I will teach you how to do something that I enjoy doing too!”
  • Use this time to teach your kids about mindfulness exercises. Teach them about the importance of deep breaths to relieve stress. Show them that problem solving is easier with a clear mind, which comes from practicing mindfulness. Try exercises found here:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teaching-mindfulness-to-teenagers_b_5696247 and learn this practice together.
  • Many museums around the world are offering free virtual tours. Take a family tour! https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours
  • Watch some TED Talks together. Each family member can find one they find interesting. Then each family member can create their own based on their favorite topic! Here are 10 TED Talks for Teens: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAzHnsaRaIWfkIk1EbUjVj1JtR4MXmT50
  • Make a group/family painting together on a large piece of paper or canvas. Try different techniques like sponge painting like sponge painting or finger painting. Once it is dry you can frame it and hang it in the house!

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