Show and Tell has numerous benefits for young children. Early language experiences help to build effective communication and listening
skills that are essential for a young child’s learning. It also encourages emotional development in a child as he or she shares their special interests, home lives, and joys and struggles with peers. This socially rewarding experience helps to solidify important home-school connections, particularly when Show and Tell is aligned with the curriculum.
Although in the past we have had show and tell with toys, we, the staff at IMHoC, feel it is time to redirect the scope of this activity. Show and tell with toys not only creates the attitude of play instead of work, it could also lead to possessiveness and commercialism of a child’s toy which could be a distraction from the activity.
So, what can they bring to share?
Anything that your child finds interesting (other than toys!!!). Something they saw at the post office (stamps), or a trip to a new city (road map), or a foreign land (post cards, souvenirs etc.- you get the hint).
Cultural artifacts given from grandparents. Nature collected during your last camping trip. Special stones or gems, feathers, leaves etc. Anything that helps them broaden their minds about this world, their world, our world! Something that you worked on building with your child over the weekend. Tools, special instruments from mom or dad’s work. Anything that helps them increase their vocabulary! Encourage children to use descriptive words and complete sentences when they describe their sharing. Questions like, “Why is this object special to you?” “How does this work?” or “Where did you get this object?” help the children to strengthen their language and communication skills.
There are several things that you as a parent can do to augment this learning experience for your child:
- Help your child select an item and have them explain to you how it fits with the school curriculum.
- Help your child practice describing the object and explaining why they want to share it with the class.
- Reinforce effective speaking habits, such as looking at the audience and speaking clearly.
- Ask questions about the item so that your child can be ready to answer when friends and teachers have questions.
These early language experiences play an important role in your child’s social and emotional development. Show and Tell is a fun way to help your child build important communication skills that will serve as a solid foundation for future learning.