7 This/That/These/Those Games
Moving beyond “This is a pen” in fun ways. For young learners.
1. This that these those run and touch
The teacher calls out or writes descriptions of things that there are more than one of in the classroom, e.g. “These are tables” to mean the ones closest to the teacher and “That is a curtain” to mean the one furthest away. Students compete to be first to run and touch those things then sit back down in their places. If that would be too chaotic, students can be limited to walking quickly and/or one representative from each team can do the running. The game can also be played with flashcards on a group of desks or around the room. To make it more fun, students could also be asked to stretch to touch both objects for “these” and “those” sentences at the same time (probably only possible with strategically placed flashcards).
2. This that these those stations
This is another running game, but one in which students try to touch cards representing “this”, “these” etc instead of objects or cards representing things. For example, if four cards saying “this”, “that”, “these” and “those” are put on the four walls of the room, students could run and touch the “that” wall if the teacher says “bin” and there is only one in the classroom and it is at the far side of the room. To add speaking, students could also be told to shout out the relevant sentence when they touch the appropriate wall. The prompts could also be flashcards showing distant and close objects, pointing at particular objects in the classroom, etc. It is also possible to play this game without running around by students holding up cards that they are given which say “those” etc.
3. More this that these those touching games
As well as running and touching, if you put a mix of singular and plural flashcards in two rows on the floor, students can try and hit the closer flashcards for “this” and “these” and the further away flashcards for “that” and “those” with a sticky ball, fly swat, plastic hammer, etc. They could also push toy cars etc along the floor to try to make them stop on the card that the teacher said.
4. This that these those Pictionary
Students try to identify pictures of “This is a cat”, “Those are flies” etc, with the “this” and “these” ones being drawn huge (perhaps so large that only a detail of them fits on the board or paper) and the “that” and “those” ones being drawn tiny. To make this even clearer, you could draw a cone shape diagonally across the board, with the “this” and “these” ones being draw in the huge circle at one end of the cone and the “that” and “those” ones being drawn at the sharp end.
5. Spot this that these those
The teacher sticks a selection of singular and plural flashcards of several categories on both the whiteboard and the far wall. The teacher gives one category, e.g. “Stationery”, and students must put up their hands and shout out correct whole sentences about flashcards in the classroom representing those things like “Those are scissors” (for a flashcard on the far wall) and “This is a pen” (for a flashcard on the whiteboard). Something similar is also possible with two detailed pictures (like Where’s Wally) on a single A3 page or projected onto the whiteboard, with the one representing that/those being small and in the top right corner and the one for this/these being bigger and in the bottom left corner.
6. This that these those memory game
Set out a column of mixed singular and plural flashcards face down on tables or on the floor so that it stretches away from the students. Students must try to remember and identify the whole column, but starting at both ends and working their way towards the middle saying “That is a banana”, “These are trousers”, “That is a curtain”, “This is a bed”, etc.
7. This that these those Pelmanism
Pelmanism is a well-known card game in which students use guesswork and memory to try and find two of a set of face-down cards that are the same. This kind of language is already fairly natural if students say “This is a dog” for the first card that they pick up, “That is a dog” for the second card and “These are dogs” to show that they have found a match. You can add the “here” and “there” meanings of these words by asking students to always take a card near to them first and then a card further away for their second pick. “These” and “those” can be added by also having flashcards with plurals on, e.g. things that are always plural like “glasses” and “jeans”.
Great article! I had a lot of trouble with this teaching my kindergarten kids in China, it’s tricky as they don’t have a direct translation for ‘these’ and ‘those’ in Chinese. I found this great little video on YouTube that helped, it was a cartoon of some singing skeletons and the whole thing had a little dance routine to it too which was perfect for TPR! The kids were singing it on the way out of the classroom too, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43WBw6ChGMs. I sent it to them for homework and now they all get it 100%.