Today I received a question a teacher on how to teach “THIS” and “THAT” with possessives.


I have started teaching mixed age and ability preschool group. I want to do the Cars play – from your plays – with them. I can`t think of an interesting way of teaching them this, that etc..

Do you have any suggestions? I would appreciate it very much.
Warm wishes,
Sanja Jeremic



For this and that use a pointing game with pens or pencils since everyone has those. All the children have a pencil in their hand and you stick a pencil up on the board or wall – a real one with tape ! Now point to your pencil and say “this is my pencil”.  Use gestures to be clear, pointing at the pencil and at your body.

Go to a child and get them to say “this is my pencil” clearly holding his/her own pencil to his/her body. Go back to your pencil, stand right next to it and say “this is my pencil” and you indicate the pencil and your body to show it’s yours.

Now point at the child you were with earlier, point at his/her pencil and say “THAT is YOUR pencil”. Repeat this three times, alternating between your own pencil and the child’s, using clear gestures each time.


Have the whole class repeat “this is my pencil”.  Eveyone holds up a pencil in his/her hand while saying “this is my pencil” three times over.

Now have them point at the child you went to earlier and say with you “that is your pencil’ three times over.

When you say: “This is my pencil” everyone should hold up his or her pencil and gesture it is theirs. When you say: “That is your pencil” everyone should point at the child’s pencil you were with earlier, using gestures.
Switch between the two slowly at first and gradually getting faster.


Everyone has objects on their desks.  The teacher says: “This is my book” and all the kids take one of their books and hold it up indicating that it is theirs. Say: “That is your book” and indicate someone else’s book. Repeat “this is my book” with everyone responding by holding up and showing his/her book. Repeat: “That is your book” with everyone pointing at someone else’s book.  Check no one is still showing his or her own book.

Say: “This is my shoe” and every one shows a shoe by lifting up a leg and pointing. Continue using different nouns such as: That is your shoe. This is my nose. That is your nose. This is my chair…and so on.

If students are all doing great you can complicate the game by saying “This is my RED book”. Only children with a red book can show it, and so on. That would work well with coloured pencils or with clothing.

It’s important that all the nouns you use are things the children already know. This and that, my and your are the new words so we don’t want new nouns as well or it’s too much to take on board. This is an opportunity to revise body parts,clothing and classroom objects while you are at it.

CIRCLE GAME If you have smallish groups put piles of possessions in the middle of the group – keep the groups small to avoid chaos. Kids take out their possessions saying “this is my pen, this is my book, this is my hat”. That way you are starting to work on the play script “CARS” already.

Use a circle game where students pass round an object to music and when you stop the music the person with the object picks something out of the circle saying either “this is my” or “that is your”. Make sure if they say “that” that they are pointing to it not holding it. This is near, that is far.

Play Hot Potato where children pass round an object that belongs to one of them such as an individual pencil case. When you clap the person holding the pencil case says to the pencil case owner “THIS is yours”. If ever the owner has the pencil case when the music stops he or she says “THIS is MINE”.  As the children become good at this add in more objects so there are several going around the circle at once.

All the best

PS Get all these ideas and more in 176 English Language Games for Children or on Amazon as a paperback.