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Show & Tell Ideas from A to Z

When I reflect back on my own days as a preschooler, Kindergartener, and elementary school student, I remember “Show & Tell” as a fun, personalized activity—which occurred only a few times a year. I don’t recall any rules in regard to the items we selected to bring in (which is not to say that there were none), nor do I remember any prompts or guidelines. You had something cool to stand up in front of the class and talk about? Great!

Boom. Done. Simple.

Flash forward 20-something years to this past fall. My daughter kicked off her second year of preschool, and I was legitimately excited that her Show & Tell days were beginning. For her very first Show & Tell, there were no stipulations; and Harper brought her “field journal” of the butterfly garden project we did together over the summer. How fun this will be! I thought. I can’t wait to see what else she wants to share with her class!

Ready for her first day of Show & Tell with her butterfly garden field journal

Ready for her first day of Show & Tell with her butterfly garden field journal

Then, during the second week of school, a roadblock: Every Wednesday, I was told, the students would draw a letter of the alphabet out of a hat. Then, on the next class day, they were required to bring in something that begins with that letter.

This didn’t concern me much until the third week of school, when my daughter climbed into the car carrying a handout: “Dear Parent: Your child’s letter this week is ‘U.’ Please bring a Show & Tell item beginning with the letter ‘U’ on Friday. Thanks!”

OK, I consoled myself, we can do this. Umbrella starts with “U.” And I’m pretty sure she has a stuffed unicorn somewhere.

Harper then handed me a small fabric pouch. “Oh, Mommy? They gave these to us today.”

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s our Show & Tell pouch,” she explained. “Whatever we bring for Show & Tell has to go in there.”

Hmmm, an item that begins with “U”…that is also small enough to fit inside an 8” x 6” pouch? This is going to be trickier than I thought.

“Well, what do you want to bring? We have to think of something that starts with a ‘U.’”

Just scratching the surface of her knowledge of phonics and knowing only a handful of “U” words, Harper shrugged. “I don’t know. Ooooh! A unicorn, maybe? A real one!

“Uhhh, that’s a great idea, Harp, but I don’t know if we can find a real unicorn to come to school by Friday. And I don’t think it would fit in your pouch.”

Sooo, an item that begins with “U”…that can fit inside the equivalent of a quart-sized Ziplock…and that actually exists. Tough criteria.  

Call it pregnancy-brain-that-I-still-have-not-fully-recovered-from-even-though-my-child-is-almost-five or just one of those days, but I thought about potential ideas the entire drive home and was still empty-handed by the time we pulled into the driveway.

Naturally, I turned to social media for inspiration and implored my Facebook friends to help me brainstorm. When someone suggested “uncle,” I knew we had a winner. A picture of my little brother, whom my daughter adores, would be a perfect fit. Harper & I combed my computer for pictures of her beloved “Uncle Carson,” printed them out, and sealed them up in her Show & Tell pouch. She was pumped to show off my little brother’s pictures to her class, and the fact that he long ago attended the same school that she does now—with, amazingly, the same teacher—only gave her extra ammo for discussion.

Although our letter “U” situation turned out to be a successful scramble, I wanted to be a bit more prepared for future Show & Tell sessions. So, Harper & I compiled a “master list” of Show & Tell ideas, with various items for each letter of the alphabet. These days, when Show & Tell falls upon us, I read all of the options we have listed for Harper’s respective letter, and she chooses which idea she likes best.

Some of the items on our list are specific and not-so-creative; others will appeal to your child’s imagination. Some are wearable, which is always a big hit with little kids; others are edible; and many fall under broader categories such as colors, shapes, etc. These ideas are not there to trump your child’s, nor are they limited to their intended purpose. Alternatively, homeschooling parents or those simply looking to work on letter sounds with their child(ren) may find these useful to incorporate in “letter of the day” activities or even verbal exercises. The possibilities for how you may choose to use this list are endless, as are the number of word options you can add to it. Happy Show & Tell-ing!

100+ Show and Tell Ideas

“A” is for…
acorn
art
animal
apron
animal crackers
alphabet (blocks, puzzle pieces, foam letters, etc.)
airplane
astronaut
angel
aunt

“B” is for…
book
balloon
bubbles
badge
brush
ball
blocks
baby (baby doll, bottle, etc.)
Band-Aid
Barbie
brother
beach
butterfly

“C” is for…
Crayons
cat
cards
Christmas (a Christmas card, drawing of a Christmas tree, ornament, etc.)
cookies
cotton ball
crown
colors
caterpillar
collage (a fun one for you and your child to create together!)
chalk
cowboy/cowgirl
collar (borrowed from the family pet, perhaps?)
cousin

“D” is for…
dog
daisy
Disney (a souvenir or picture from Disney World, a Disney toy, etc.)
dime
dollar
dinosaur
DVD
doll
diaper
doctor (a toy doctor’s kit or doctor’s supplies)
Daddy

"E" is for wood-carved elephants that Daddy brought home from his last business trip to India

“E” is for wood-carved elephants that Daddy brought home from his last business trip to India

“E” is for…
(Easter) egg
Easter bunny
envelope
elf
Eggo waffle
eraser
Eeyore
earrings
Earth
elephant
emotions


“F” is for…

fall
fork
feather
flower
family
first place ribbon (maybe that your child won? alternatively, you can always create your own)
fan
the number five (e.g., five fingers, five toes, five of the same item)
fruit
fairy
frog
friend
farm
feelings

“G” is for…
ghost
grandfather/grandmother/grandparent(s)
gummy bears
grasshopper
God
glow stick
gravel
giant
gumballs
giraffe
“Greatest Teacher EVER!” certificate (if you’re looking for extra brownie points!)

“H” is for…
highlighter
hat
handprint
hero
heart
hamburger
Halloween (a Halloween mask, costume, or picture from previous Halloween)
holidays
Honey Nut Cheerios
horse
house (a picture or drawing of your family’s residence)

“I” is for…
ice cream cone
ice pack
icicle
ice skate
ink pen
insect
ID card
iguana
infant
imagination

“J” is for…
jewelry
juice box
jar
jeans
jewel
joke (an age-appropriate joke written on a strip of your paper that your child could tell in class)
jelly beans
jingle bell
Jesus
jigsaw puzzle piece
jacks

“K” is for…
kite
keys
keychain
kangaroo
kisses (e.g., a piece of paper with lipstick kisses all over it)
ketchup
kitten
king
knight
karate
killer whale (e.g., Shamu)
keepsake

“L” is for…
lemon
leaf
lollipop
lotion
laughter
lip gloss
Lucky Charms
letters (Scrabble tiles, foam letters, etc.)
Legos
library card/book
love

“M” is for…
marble
marshmallow
magnet
Mickey/Minnie Mouse (mouse ears, perhaps?)
money
make-up
Milkbone
Mommy
matching items (socks, gloves, etc.)
mustache
medal
music

“N” is for…
necklace
numbers
noodle
napkin
nutcracker
nightlight
nickel
name (an item with your child’s name on it)
night
nature

“O” is for…
oval
oak leaf
octagon
ornament
Olympics
origami
ocean
octopus
opposites (black & white items, etc.)
owl

“P” is for…
picture
penny
prince/princess
pebbles
party
people
puppy
police
peanut
pirate
planet
painting
pajamas

“Q” is for…
queen
quilt
quarter
question
quartz
quote

“R” is for…
ring
rainbow
ribbon
raisin
rose
roadrunner (UTSA fan gear, perhaps?)
rectangle
rodeo
robot
rock
race car
round

“S” is for…
sibling/sister
star
snowflake
Santa
sandwich
socks
snake
seashell
stamp
silly string
sunglasses
spring
summer
seasons
soccer
sports

“T” is for…
toothbrush
tutu
tee-ball
train
teddy bear
tooth (your child’s tooth fairy pillow, maybe?)
tickets (to past events that your child attended)
toy
tiara
teapot
time

“U” is for…
umbrella
unicorn
uncle
USA
utensils
ultrasound (your child’s sonogram photo)
uniform
underwear
university

“V” is for…
Valentine’s
volcano
vacation
vegetables
voice
vanilla
velvet
villain
ViewMaster
“The Velveteen Rabbit”

“W” is for…
whale
water
wallet
watch
whistle
weather
wig
wedding (picture of you & your husband on your wedding day)
wish (an item that your child wished for and got or a drawing of something they wish for)
winter
wings
world

“X” is for…
x-ray (doctor’s offices and radiology clinics discard old x-rays all the time—just call and ask for one!)
xylophone
“X marks the spot” (you can get super creative with this one!)
Xerox (a Xerox copy of your child’s hand, etc.)
a letter signed “XOXOXO”
Cabbage Patch doll (all of them are signed on their dimpled bottoms by Xavier Roberts!)

Xavier Roberts' signature on a Cabbage Patch toosh!

Xavier Roberts’ signature on a Cabbage Patch toosh!


“Y” is for…

yo-yo
yarn
year (a calendar or items having to do with the current year)
yesterday (use a calendar to demonstrate the concept)
yellow
yard
yummy (actual “yummy” items or pictures of different foods/things your child loves)
YUCK! (same as above–actual “yucky” items or pictures of different foods/things your child hates)

“Z” is for…
zebra
zoo
zipper
Ziplock
zigzag
zero
ziti
zucchini
zodiac

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3 Responses to Show & Tell Ideas from A to Z

  1. Christi September 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    this saved my behind this in my daughters first year of school Pre-k actually , so I get a bag for show and tell for the letter A and go completely blank …..and of course its 11 at night so everyone else is sleeping while mom is tending to the last of the last so she can get to bed and get some sleep for work so thanks for saving me the panic I found an apron she got at HEB she can bring

  2. mayuma gadodiya February 11, 2014 at 12:40 am #

    thanks alot,its a real great help for me n my daughter….

  3. Katy
    Katy January 16, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    BOOM! with the Xavier Roberts. Love it!