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Show & Tell Ideas for Preschool & Kindergarten

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Show and tell can be a great time for young children to practice important skills and get to know one another. This lesson gives you some ideas for how to make the most of show and tell with preschool and kindergarten students.

Why Show and Tell?

Show and tell is a time-tested way for building classroom community. In a nutshell, show and tell is a time for students to share things about their lives, either by bringing in objects or photographs to show their classmates or by telling stories. When early childhood educators incorporate show and tell, we are showing our students that we care about their lives outside of school. We are also teaching them skills for presenting things to a big group, listening to one another, and asking meaningful questions about their classmates. Show and tell presents a unique opportunity for combining academic skills, like the effective use of oral language, with community building. This lesson gives you some ideas to help make the most of show and tell with your kindergarten and preschool students.

Community Builders

One of the most important aspects of show and tell is that it can help bring your community together. The ideas in this section are designed to help you get to know your students and facilitate their understanding of each other.

Baby Pictures

Young students love to marvel at photographs of themselves when they were even younger. Ask your students to bring in favorite pictures of themselves as babies and toddlers, and dedicate a week's worth of show and tell times to letting them share these pictures.

Family Traditions

One great way to use show and tell is to invite family members in to talk about a family tradition that is important. This might be a way of celebrating a holiday or simply a way that the family likes to spend time together. You will want to make sure to provide ways of participating even for families who cannot easily come during the school day; perhaps they will send pictures or videos to share or might even be willing to be interviewed virtually.

Who's an Expert?

A great way to build community is to help your students understand what they and their classmates are good at. At show and tell, ask students to bring an object that represents something they are very good at. They can also use words to share stories about things they consider themselves an expert at.

Question Asking

Preschoolers and kindergartners are really just learning to ask each other good questions. You can dedicate a show and tell unit to practicing good question asking. When students have a turn, they should share a story from their weekend. Classmates should practice asking open questions that relate directly to whatever was shared.

Favorite Games

Students at this age really enjoy sharing favorite games. When a student brings a game, activity or beloved toy from home, he should be prepared to let classmates hold or play with it. The student should explain how the game works and why he likes it. If you have open play time or choice time, make the game available then for other students to try out.

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