What Do Kids Take to School for Show & Tell?

By Susan Revermann ; Updated September 26, 2017
Show and tell teaches the kids social skills and patience.
Show and tell teaches the kids social skills and patience.

Show and tell isn’t just about showing off your child’s favorite toy, it also helps foster his language development, self-confidence, public speaking skills and social skills such as taking turns and listening. Although he might be excited to load up as many toys as he can, you should set some boundaries on how many, how big, what type and how frequently he tries to smuggle his goodies into class. With these factors in mind, you can help him decide what to bring to class on his show and share day and how to make the best of this experience.


Size matters and should be a consideration when your child picks out what to bring. Items used during show and tell should fit in your child’s backpack. Larger items can be a distraction when show and tell is done and still in plain sight. The backpack is a place that the toy can go to “take a nap” for the rest of the school day after show and tell is done. When your child’s classmates are staring at his shiny toy instead of the teacher, this can be a problem.


Show-and-tell time is often part of a structured group activity, such as circle time, and should only take up part of this time. The limited attention span of young children also is a factor. You should restrict your child to one larger item or two smaller ones. A whole backpack full of toy cars is just too much and would take all day to show them all. One for each hand is plenty.


Your child’s chosen show-and-tell item can be something that he finds interesting and special. His favorite book, best teddy bear friend and latest birthday present are options to consider. His latest art creation is also a possible item. Stay away from toy guns, play weapons, expensive items, breakable objects, extremely loud noisemakers or any other item that is deemed unsuitable by the teacher.


Don’t be fooled by your child when he announces it is his show-and-tell day for the third time in one week. Show and tell doesn’t usually happen that often, even if your child wishes it did. If this class activity designates one child per session, your child will only get a turn once every month or so. If this is a group activity, it might happen more frequently. Ask your child’s teacher whether she has made up a calendar for show and tell so you can use it as a reference.