Show and Tell day in preschool

How you can build essential skills through Show-and-Tell

I had the opportunity to observe a group of children as they participated in Show-and-Tell Day! The children started out by getting the toy or item they brought and joining everyone in the circle…

Promoting Turn Taking

The children then placed the toys behind their back while they waited for their turn to share with the group…

Enhancing Communication Skills

The teacher called each child to the front of the room and let them show their toy to the rest of the class…

Building Listening Skills

The teacher asked each child questions to invite them to talk about their toy. The other children were invited to ask a few questions too…

The children were encouraged to turn and face the other children so that everyone can see the toy but I noticed that the children preferred to show the toy to the teacher above all else…

Increasing Self-Confidence

After a short question and answer period about the toy, the children would then show the class what the toy could do or how to play with the toy…

Then the children would go back to the circle and sit down. They were reminded to put the toy back behind their back until everyone had their turn to share…

I got a kick out of watching the children as they sat in the circle. They each started off with their hands in their lap but after taking their turn and sitting back down, their little hands kept reaching back to make sure that the toy was still there…

Encouraging Teamwork

Once all the children had a turn to share, the teacher then let the children take some time to play together with all the toys…

What are the benefits of Show-and-Tell?

  • The children are given the opportunity to speak in front of others.
  • Each child gets to be the center of attention.
  • Children share things from home with their friends and the teacher.
  • Children choose items that are meaningful to them to talk about.
  • Children learn to respect each other’s turn to talk.
  • Children practice the skill of listening to and answering simple questions.
  • Children practice the skill of asking simple questions.

Show-and-Tell Tips

  • Keep each child’s turn short.
  • Choose the same three questions to ask each child so that the questions are predictable.
  • Coach children on how to ask questions.
  • Allow children to choose toys to bring that are meaningful to them.
  • Set rules on the types of toys you don’t want to have in the classroom ahead of time and inform parents at the beginning of the year.
  • Children who might forget to bring a toy can choose a favorite book, toy, art activity, or other item from your classroom to share so no one gets left out.

In some classes, the children all place their toy in a bag and as the teacher pulls out a toy – the children come up to talk about the toy. This approach is done instead of having children keep the toys behind their backs. The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the length of show-and-tell and the approach you use age appropriate and fun.

By |2018-12-12T11:39:02+00:00November 22nd, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Matt November 22, 2010 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Love this Deborah! Thanks for sharing. I start my year much the same way… as we move into October, I limit the toys for sharing to Mon/Fri, and then once we hit November, NO toys are allowed for sharing – children must use their words to share an event, or a toy, but they have to describe it instead.

    • Deborah J. Stewart November 22, 2010 at 6:58 am - Reply

      Hi Matt – that is a great idea for Kindergarten age children. They are definitely ready to begin using their words to describe events or special items. I had never thought of progressing that way!

  2. Amber November 22, 2010 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I love the tips and benefits section. Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart November 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you Amber!

  3. Teacher Tom November 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    This could be my class! Turning around and talking to the audience is a hard skill to learn, isn’t it?

    I like to give my kids a theme (e.g., “bring something tiny,” “bring something stinky,” “bring something you made yourself”) which is how I avoid having them bring the same toy week after week. We also take 10-15 minutes after everyone talks to “play” with one another’s “sharing items.” That’s why we call them “sharing items,” instead of show and tell!

    • Deborah J. Stewart November 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      I love that idea Tom – I know you wrote a post on sharing day and wanted to link to it but I was too lazy to hunt it down:) I should go back and find it anyway for future reference!

    • Miss Jojo November 28, 2010 at 5:34 am - Reply

      I really like this idea Tom!
      I find toys for news tend to be a hindrance rather than a help. We are in our final stretch for this year but will implement this idea next year!

  4. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog November 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Awww.. I love how they kept reaching back to see if their toys were still there! What a fun show and tell session. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart November 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      They were so cute – I took pictures of each child reaching back to touch their toy but didn’t think I should post them all! But I was tempted!

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