To finish off our Around the World theme, I invited my preschoolers to bring in an item for show and tell. Not just any item would do, however. We discussed show and tell preschool ideas that would celebrate people and their treasures from around the world.
One of the best parts of traveling is purchasing those little souvenirs that remind us of our adventures for years to come. As part of our “Around the World” theme, it was only fitting to have a day where the children could share a special family trinket.
This cultural show and tell can be very meaningful to individual students and their families. It also serves to immerse kids in other cultures outside of their own. It is important for preschoolers to learn about and understand that they are part of a big, diverse world.
Specifically, I invited the children to bring in an item from their own house that was from another country. Given the families in my preschool this year, I knew many of the parents had taken vacations abroad. Some children had other family members who had been missionaries in other countries around the world.
I knew that not all of my students had been to another country. Thus, I sent a note home that said the show and tell item did not have to belong to the child. The parents could purchase an international item at a local store, if need be.
For example, one child brought in a worry doll from Guatemala. He had never been to Guatemala and neither had anyone in his family.
The worry doll, however, was an object from another country that had special meaning to him. He told the class how he keeps it in his pillow case at night so he isn’t scared of the dark. His parents had purchased it at Cost Plus World Market.
FAQ About the Importance of Oral Language
Oral language, which can sometimes be referred to as spoken language, includes both listening and speaking skills. These are the ways in which human communicate.
Oral language provides the foundation for word reading and plays a vital role in developing comprehension skills. Reading is a language-based skill. The relationship between oral language and reading is reciprocal with each influencing the other to varying degrees as children progress through school. [source]
Simple language activities can be powerful for preschoolers and toddlers who are developing oral language skills. Our Daily Lessons in Oral Language Preschool Lesson Plans include a range of developmental skills for toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten.
From listening to instructions and taking turns in a discussion to offering descriptions and responding to poems, songs, and written text, oral language lessons will give your toddler or preschooler the right pre-reading skills to set them up for success.
The single most important thing teachers and parents can do to improve language skills in children is to allow ample opportunities to talk! A classroom shouldn’t be quiet, but it should always be humming with the busy words of children as they are learning.
Other strategies to improve oral language skills in preschoolers include reading, asking open ended questions, making observations, and modeling language. Our Daily Lessons in Oral Language Preschool Lesson Plans include practice in all the most critical language skills needed for both reading and social success.
Develop Oral Language Skills Through Show and Tell Ideas
One of the very best ways to help preschoolers build language skills is by talking!
They need to talk to you and you need to talk back with them. Preschoolers need deep and meaningful conversations just like adults do. Show and tell is an easy way to accomplish that because preschoolers love talking about themselves and the things they own!
- show and tell items
The Set Up
Invite your preschoolers place their show and tell item on a nearby table, and then ask them to sit with you on the circle time carpet. It’s best if students can sit in a circle so everyone can easily see one another.
How to Do Show and Tell with Preschoolers
We know preschoolers can get fidgety or distracted, which is why in the set up we asked the preschoolers to place their special items on a table nearby. It’s also a good idea to bring in a few extra items in case someone forgot. When this happens, I invite the preschooler to choose out an item of mine that they like and would like to talk about with the class.
Select a student to go first and ask them about their item.
- What did you bring for show and tell?
- When did you get it?
- How is it special to you?
- Where do you keep it at home?
- Tell me a story about how to got it.
Be sure to encourage preschoolers to use as much detail as possible and use complete sentences too. And don’t forget to let their classmates ask questions, too! Asking questions is an important piece of developing language skills.
How Our Around the World Show and Tell Went
Our preschoolers were so excited to share their special items with the class.
TEACHING TIP! – Set aside more time than you think you will need. That way you can be sure that everyone gets a turn to share.
This preschooler shares with the class a musical jewelry box her uncle brought back from Germany. She told the class how her uncle goes to Germany every couple of years for his job. She said, “He has to be gone for a long, long time,” [several months at a time]. She also shared how she keeps her treasures in it, like special rocks she finds, foreign coins, and pretty ribbons.
Each child was invited to share their item. I asked the parents to write a note explaining the story behind their child’s trinket. That way, I could help complete each story.
Around the World Themed Books
At the end, we found where each item was from on our world map. It was fun to see the variety of show and tell ideas the students had!
The students did an excellent job talking about their items. Show and Tell helps with language development and early literacy skills. It is a form of public speaking that helps develop confidence in front of a group. It also helps the kids develop vocabulary and articulation skills.
When you let the child pick what they will share, they have a natural excitement about what they are presenting. Encourage easy sharing on a regular basis in your classroom. Kids love to talk about what is important to them. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing a favorite book, favorite movie, or favorite sport with peers!
Tips for a Successful Cultural Show and Tell
I absolutely love having Cultural Show and Tell after we have had the opportunity to do several Around the World Activities. It is the perfect culmination after a world studies unit. It helps preschoolers connect what we have been learning with their own families and unique home culture.
These items might not be as easy to share as a favorite stuffed animal. Because of this, I wanted to share some tried and true tips with you!
- Send a note home to parents clearly explaining the expectations of the assignment
- Encourage parents to talk to their children beforehand about the item. They can help explain what it is and why it is important to their family/culture.
- Ask the parents to send in written information about the item. This will make it is easier for you to guide the children and the discussion.
- With permission from the parents, display the cultural show and tell items around the classroom.
- Write down important new words that come up as each child shares their special items. These can be posted in the classroom and even with the show and tell items.
- Find the country of origin on a map and/or globe for each special item shared
Even More Ideas for a Successful Show and Tell
- If it works with your class, you can have your students group up and explore the show and tell items together. They can also explore where they might find them on a map.
- Set clear expectations with all students for show and tell and model and practice these expectations
- Model and practice asking questions (rather than telling stories) and practice what it means to be a good listener
- Set a schedule and limit the number of kids that share each day (5 kids/day typically works well)
- Schedule show and tell first thing in the morning or after outdoor/active play for better attention spans
- As an extension activity, you could invite parents/relatives/friends etc. to come in and help share about the item. They could also bring other related items, wear culturally representative clothing, or share food unique to their family/culture
MORE Around the World Preschool Activities!
Learning about our amazing, diverse world around is very important for young kiddos. Not to mention the fact that it is so much FUN!
Because learning about other cultures is so important, I wanted to share some of my favorite activities with you. Get ready to bring the WORLD into your classroom!
- My Around the World thematic lesson plans make it easy to find many activities in one place! Some free printables are included!
- An Around the World Dramatic Play Market will allow your preschoolers to practice math skills while also learning about other cultures
- An Around the World Suitcase is an engaging way to introduce your Around the World theme to your preschoolers. It will evoke many questions and get them excited for this special theme!
- You can teach your preschoolers about the Great Wall of China. Then, they can build their own wall using blocks in this funtastic STEM activity
- Teaching about Egypt and the pyramids is even more fun when your preschoolers get to build their own Paper Cup Pyramids
- For sensory play with a fun cultural twist, set up a Foreign Money Sensory Bin. Your preschoolers will love digging for money and using a magnifying glass to study the money more closely
It is my hope that your preschoolers have fun as they explore the world and learn about their classmates’ family traditions! Around the World Show and Tell serves to make each child feel special and unique. This cultural activity for kids makes our world feel a little smaller. I can’t wait to see what new things your preschoolers discover about the world around them!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.