Cartoon detective scratching his head and  bending over to look through a large magnifying glass to view a question mark.

Inference Activities Part 1: Hands on Activities

What's in the Bag, Crime Scene, Garbage Mystery, Shoe Pair and other 'detective' activities!

Inference is an idea or conclusion that’s drawn from evidence and reasoning – basically, it is an educated guess! Listen closely to not only what is said but also guess at things that were meant but not actually said. Creative story tellers provide subtle clues to readers – teach your students to be detectives and to look for these clues!

Check out these creative activities to help your students learn to draw conclusions!

What’s in Mrs. Brauner’s Bag

. . . and more importantly, what does it mean?

large blue purse(Substitute your name.) Don’t worry guys, you can use a bookbag instead of a purse. Itinerate TVIs, you can even use that big tote bag that you haul around with you!

Load your “bag” with clues; be sure to include items that show some of YOUR hobbies and interest, or items that reflect subjects you teach! Here are some ideas:

Learn more about What’s in Your Bag activity here.

Classroom Crime Scene Inference Activity

Set up your classroom before students arrive – misplace items, add clues, etc.  Place crime scene tape across the door. Check out the E is for Explore blog post for details!

Clues from the Trash Inference Activity

Here are a couple Trash Inference Activities! Filled orange garbage bag.

Who Wears These Shoes?

This is a great activity for young students! Have a variety of shoes available – be sure to include all sizes (baby, kids, and adults) and all kinds of shoes. Start with common shoes: high heels, running shoes, baby shoes, men’s dress shoes, kids’ rubber boots, snow boots, etc. Be sure to includes shoes for specific activities/sports: baseball shoes, golf shoes, ballet shoes, riding boots, work boots, etc.)

Shoe Pair: (Another twist for the Shoe Game) Invite a variety of adults (teachers, parents, community workers and kids from other classes?) to your class. Ask each person to dress in an “outfit” that demonstrates their job or hobby – be sure that the shoes reflect this outfit! Place all their shoes together (in a line at the front of the room) and ask the students to make inferences about the shoes. Students can organize shoes by size and gender, if they need prompts to help match the shoes with the person.

Outline drawings of various shoes: high heel, workbooks, baby shoe, tennis shoe, flipflop, ice skate, old fashion shoe.Modification of Shoe Pair Game: You can divide students into groups and give them one or two pairs of shoes; ask each group to come up with a list of inferences. Groups can present their inferences in front of the class. Invite the guests to line up in the front of the room; each person should hold a number.  Each student group tries to  match their shoes with the correct person. If desired, provide groups with a written list of each shoe type and have each group try to match the shoes with the correct person by writing the corresponding person number beside the shoe.

Teacher Hint: Ask a student to describe what each person is wearing – this is crucial if a student with a visual impairment is in the class!

Create Your Own Inference Activity

Inferences Charts

As you do fun inference activities, include creating inference charts. With young students, you might create the chart together as a class, then use a print or digital handout that students fill out. Printable handout for younger students available from Abby here.


Collage of Inference Activities

By Diane Brauner

Solid black spider

Spider activities part 2


Spider activities

A colorful decorated gingerbread man cookie.

Gingerbread man: Sequence, copy and paste activities