9 Fun This and That Games

By Alex Case
Nine stimulating this and that classroom practice activities, including drawing games, active TPR games, flashcard games and a memory game

“This” and “that” are easy to explain but need practice for students to get used to, such as the fun ideas below. In all such activities, it is important to make “this” and “that” the same for the teacher and all students. The teacher therefore can’t stand facing the class as usual, as “this” for them would be “that” for the students. The teacher should therefore always face in the same direction as the students, e.g. standing between them as you all face the board.

This and that drawing games

This and that drawing guessing game

Draw a small circle in the top right corner of the board and draw a big circle in the bottom left corner of the board. Join those two circles with straight lines so the whole thing looks like a tube that stretches into the distance. The teacher and students draw things in extreme close up in the big circle to elicit “This is an ant” etc, and extremely small in the little circle to elicit “That is a helicopter” etc. Which circle is used can be alternated, chosen by the person who is drawing, or chosen by those who will need to guess.

This and that slow drawing game

With the same 3D tube shape on the board, someone draws alternately in both circles, one line at a time, until someone chooses which square to guess with “This is…” or “That is…” Other students can then try to guess what the other drawing represents.

This and that drawing competition

Students compete to make the best drawing to represent “This is a comb” (preferably only showing part such as only three tines, because the object is so close) and “That is a purse” (as small as possible, but still recognisable).

This and that flashcard games

This and that flashcard shuffle

The teacher elicits what two flashcards show, shuffles them, and holds them so one card is closer to everyone and one is further way. The teacher then asks what one is with “What’s this? or “What’s that?”, and students race to shout out the correct answer. It can then be done with the cards turned over, but make sure students can see both cards while they are shuffled to keep their interest and give them more chance to spot which one is which.

This and that shuffleboard

In this variation of the game above, the teacher or student pushes the cards along the desk or floor to add some randomness to which ends up closer and which ends up further away.

This and that shotput

The activity above can also work with the flashcards being thrown instead of pushed.

This and that memory card game

Put flashcards into a column on a desk or on the floor, with the bottom of the column closest to the students. Drill the vocabulary as you turn the cards face down. Students then take turns saying what the end cards are, e.g. that the furthest card is “That is a firefighter” and that the closest card is “This is a dentist” so that those cards can be taken away, then the same for the cards that are now at both ends.

This and that action games

This and that TPR game

Two students stand next to the teacher. The teacher chooses things of which there are two in class, one of which is closer, and says and/ or writes “This is a desk” or “That is a desk” to show which they should run and touch. This works well with the teacher speaking or writing slowly to add anticipation and make them think about the meaning of “this/ that” while they are waiting.

This and that targets

Students try to hit one of the two things depending on what they hear, e.g. trying to throw paper planes at the cup which is closest if they hear “This is a cup”.

Written by Alex Case for Teflnet November 2023
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
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