Show-and-tell Develops Confident Kids & Here’s Why

Show-and-tell – it’s an institution, right? At the end of the school week, the whole class sit down on the carpet and the kids can talk about something they’ve brought in from home.

I remember it being one of my favourite times when I was in Primary School and I was so pleased when I found out that Jenny’s school keep the tradition alive.

Except that this year, it doesn’t seem to be working out that way.

No time for show-and-tell

The new school year has been in session for five months. In that time, Jenny has tried five times to take something into school for show-and-tell.

Every time, she’s come out really upset“The teacher said there wasn’t time.”

School life is busy. I get it. I trained as a primary school teacher so I know the time constraints the teachers are under. But show-and-tell is really important.

Yes, on the surface it appears to be frivolous bit of fun for a Friday afternoon, but it’s so much more than that…

show-and-tell is important Building Blocks

8 reasons show-and-tell is important

By bringing something into school from home, it helps children explore who they are. They are showing their classmates a part of their non-school identity. It could be a piece of artwork from Sunday school, or a dress from their dance class. It could be a souvenir from holiday, or a photograph of them when they were a baby.

By allowing children to bring these items into school, it encourages them to be proud of who they are, and it shows them that academic success is not the be all and end all. There is so much more to these children than times tables and spelling test scores.

For children who are anxious, bringing something in from home can really help to ground them. Show-and-tell helps to bridge the gap between home life and school life. It reassures them that school is a safe place and that the people there are interested in who they are.

And it’s good for the children in the class to see that everyone is different – it celebrates diversity. In school, children are all dressed the same, taught the same, discussing the same topics. At show-and-tell, for a few brief moments, uniqueness is celebrated. They are talking about what they get up to outside of the school gates.

Which brings me onto another thing – talking. Taking part in show-and-tell lays the foundation for delivering presentations to groups of people. The child stands at the front and talks about the item they’ve brought. They might show how it works or explain why it’s important to them. These are vital skills. And because it is a familiar item to them, they are confident to talk about it.


So why the sudden promotion of show-and-tell? Well, because today I had a bit of a run-in with Jenny’s teacher…

Hoping it would be “sixth time lucky” (!), Jenny asked to take something into school for show-and-tell this morning. And this time, it was something big – her trombone.

Jenny started learning the trombone at the start of term and has been begging to take it in ever since. I wanted her to have a few lessons first before taking it into class so that she would be confident talking about it and showing the other children how to make a sound out of it.

So when she asked again this morning, I decided today was the day.

red trombone pbone - show-and-tell

Jenny lovingly carried her trombone to school, giggling with excitement at the thought of showing all her friends this treasure possession. I decided it would be best to ask the teacher to store it somewhere safe, so when the door opened, I went to hand it over.

As I explained what it was and that Jenny had brought it for show-and-tell, the teacher screwed her face up with a condescending, questioning look.

“Why???” the teacher asked (with the tone of voice you might expect if I’d just told her I had just washed Jenny’s hair in a tin of baked beans!)

“Is she going to play a tune?” the teacher continued. (It was a rhetorical question.)

“No” I muttered, “She’s only just started learning but she wanted to show everybody.”

The teacher screwed up her face again and looked with disdain at the trombone-shaped bag I was holding out to her.

She made no move to take it out of my hands.

Eventually I swallowed the lump in my throat and said in the jolliest voice I could muster, “I just think it’s important to encourage them”. Then I thrust the instrument at her, turned, and walked off.

By the time I rounded the corner, I was fuming! How dare she speak down to me like that?? This is not the first time I have come under her condescending stare, and I can tell you now – it is a very uncomfortable place to be!

I had not sent Jenny with a random, grubby teddy or one of those cheap, plastic McDonalds toys. I had sent her with an instrument. A genuine, musical instrument! She was learning a new skill; one that would undoubtedly have a positive impact on her life and her schooling. Surely the school should be supporting her in that.

I sure they will be only-too-happy to “support” her when they want to show the inspectors what talented, rounded individuals they have at their school. And when they want someone to perform in the school concert. They’ll be fully on board then!

Lucy At Home T-Shirt Powered By Glitter Pointing At Flowers show-and-tell

Save show-and-tell

Okay I will stop ranting now… (or maybe I’ll write a strongly worded email to school first, but then I’ll stop ranting!)… but please teachers – keep show-and-tell. It’s important to children in so many ways, both academically and emotionally.

They need to know that you appreciate them as a whole person. And as parents, we want to know that you think like that too.

There’s a reason show-and-tell has been around for so long, so squeeze it in somewhere, please. xx


Do you remember doing show-and-tell at school? Do your children have a chance to do it at their school? Do they enjoy it or are they not very bothered? I’d love to hear your thought s- let me know in the comments section below.

Pin it:

8 Things Kids Learn from SHOW-AND-TELL - self esteem tips, love school, primary school activities, childhood mental health

Linked to:



Lucy At Home





Add yours
  1. 1

    My eldest two loved being able to show and tell in Reception, but both often found there wasn’t time for theirs. Thankfully the teacher was super encouraging and everyone got their turn in the end. I think it is a lovely tool for kids that age. Long may it continue xx #blogcrush

  2. 5

    good grief, i’m fuming for you!!! I sincerely hope she got to show and tell her trombone. Please let me know. I remember fuming at a teacher at my sons school on a completely different issue. I’d sent him a small tub of grapes to have after swimmimg as they were told to take a snack, this particular teacher told him he couldn’t have grapes as they would give him acid stomach and he should bring crisps like everyone else!!!! I couldn’t let it drop, i printed off all source of dietart and nitritional advice and took it with a letter to the Head!

    • 6
      Lucy At Home

      She did get to show it, thankfully, but I don’t think the teacher would have dare refused after the look I gave her! Haha. And how ridiculous that your sons teacher was telling him to take crisps! Surely you’d just cancel the health benefits of having done swimming?! Crazy!

  3. 8
    Liberty Henwick

    Goodness, I’d be fuming too! (And probably embarrassing myself by crying, I always cry when I’m angry) I’m glad from reading the comments above that she had the opportunity in the end but the teacher sounds as though she doesn’t love her job anymore! I think another very important part of show and tell is the way that it develops the relationships in the class between the kids as well as with the teacher – the insight into each personality is charming so for that reason it’s doubly clear this teacher isn’t getting the most out of her teaching experience! #BlogCrush

  4. 9

    Interesting post. I can fully understand your points about show and tell, but I don’t remember it at school, at my older children’s school or at my younger children’s schools now. None of us has ever done a show and tell! I feel quite sad about that now. #blogcrush

  5. 10

    Loved reading this! I can’t remember having Show and Tell when I was at school, but I wish we had. The reasons you have given for it are spot on – I think they should have it in all schools! I hope they did do Show and Tell for your daughter that day, and if not I would have wanted to write a letter too! #BlogCrush

  6. 11
    Sara @ Magical Mama Blog

    Oh, I am not one to be confrontational, but if a teacher spoke to me like that, I would have been fuming too! Show and Tell is great for kids. They get to talk about something they love! A lot of times in school, kids aren’t interested in what they’re learning. But when they are excited, they can’t get enough of it and they want to talk about it. Why this teacher was discouraging about something like a musical instrument (which is a very hard talent to form and such a wonderful addition to a child’s education) is mind blowing and I hope she comes around!

  7. 12
    Tracy Albiero

    I taught first grade for 12 years. I had students do this on Friday. It does not just happen. Teachers need to model proper questions as well as proper “tell” I would always start with an item I had at home and simple share for a brief time to give the scared kids someone to model. #bloggercrush

  8. 13

    I have mixed feelings on this one and certainly don’t remember it even happening when I was a child at school. Having said that the children did enjoy it sometimes when they were in school but sometimes not so as felt it to yet another pressure as did I sometimes along with all the others education systems seem to involve these days. We home educate now though so perhaps I should not say too much as each to their own on educational choices

  9. 15
    Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin

    Aaargh I’m fuming just from reading this, at the way your daughter’s teacher seems to lack respect for the children. She doesn’t care that a child might have been excited and/or nervous for days about standing in front of the class, telling everyone about something that is IMPORTANT to them as an individual. Grrrr… Well written post, with good arguments for why show and tell matters. #BlogCrush

  10. 17

    I fondly remember show and tell! I loved it! It really helped to build my confidence. It’s really sad that they are now turning children into robots, the education system back when I was at school was not as rigid and robotic as it’s now and I turned out fine! I have a while till Little A goes to school but I would definitely be disappointed if a teacher spoke to me like that and was discouraging #BlogCrush

  11. 20

    I have had EXACTLY the same problem at preschool. They sent out an email saying this is what they were going to do, so we discussed it. She decided what she would take (her ballet shoes) and what she would say, etc. Two weeks later, when it hadn’t happened, I asked and sure enough ” we were busy”. So mad. #blogcrush

  12. 21
    Matthew Blythe

    Am fuming at the teacher!!!! Why have show and tell if you are going to be that condescending! I hope she is not like that with the children. If that’s the trombone in the picture, that is awesome! She should have played it too! Grrr! #BlogCrush

  13. 22
    Rhyming with Wine

    They don’t really do show and tell as such at our eldest’s school either and so I found myself questioning whether she was allowed to take in a picture she had drawn a few weeks ago. It turned out that they are allowed to take things in but it isn’t at all promoted which I think is such a shame. You make such valid points here! #Blogcrush x

  14. 24

    I totally agree with you, Show and Tell is a great idea. My daughter is still at nursery (she starts school in September) but they are encouraged to take things in that they love, and they always seem to make time to talk about the things (or read as my daughter always wants to take in books) She loves listening to the other children too. and I hope this continues in reception.
    I would have been so cross with the teacher, that’s such an awful attitude for them to have. I hope that things change after you have sent your email #BlogCrush

  15. 26

    Well I have to say that Jenny’s teachcher doeasnt sound very supportive at all! We actually didn’t do show and tell at school and they don’t do it at Leo’s school but after reading this I definitely think that they should! It is important for kids to show who they are outside of school and to not just be another face in the classroom xx #blogcrush

  16. 27
    Daydreams of a mum

    I honestly credit show and tell for bringing my super shy 4 yr old out of herself. She just loves showing things that were important to her and that was worth speaking aloud for (PS show and tell or o school should be making a fuss of a little girl learning to play an instrument!) #blogcrush

+ Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.