How to Teach Metaphors: 60 Metaphor Examples for Kids
If you spend time around young children, you know they are full of questions. Why is the sky blue? How many clouds are there? What is he doing? Adults spend a lot of time teaching children about the world around them. They are always learning new things about the world and how it works. Parenting is an art we are always learning more about.
Good parenting changes and evolves as our children grow. One of the best ways to teach a child something new is to use a metaphor. Simple metaphors help kids make connections and understand new things. The next time your child asks you a question, try explaining the answer with one of these metaphor examples for kids.
Last Updated January 2021
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It’s easier for a child to understand a metaphor because it gives them a strong visual picture of what you are trying to explain. This is perfect when they have never encountered the thing that they are asking you about. You can relate it back to something they know more about. Even after we grow up, we continue to use metaphors in our daily lives. Learning to use and understand metaphors is an important part of growing up and being able to communicate effectively.
What is a metaphor?
If your child asks what a metaphor is, here is how you can explain it: A metaphor is a way to imagine how one thing is the same as another thing because they have the same characteristics.
Let’s take the metaphor, “You are my sunshine.” Just like the sun brings warmth and happiness to someone’s day, you do the same by bringing happiness to someone’s day. You are sunshine because you share the characteristic of making someone happy.
A metaphor is a comparison that evokes a stronger image than a simile and makes the reader feel or see something to help them understand it. It states that something is equal to something else; it is not just a comparison between two things. In other words, a metaphor is a figure of speech; you should use your imagination with metaphors rather than taking them literally.
Simile vs metaphor
When talking about metaphors, you might come up with some that are actually similes. A simile is a comparison of two different things. They usually involve the words like, as, or than. While a simile may seem like a metaphor, it actually allows two things to be compared while remaining distinct. A metaphor suggests that one thing is something else.
- Example of a metaphor: After they broke up, his heart was broken.
- Example of a simile: His heart felt like breaking after they broke up.
It is important to remember that these two things are different, especially when writing or creating a poem. Using metaphors will allow people to understand and feel what you want them to much better than using similes. Remember there are also different levels of metaphors. Some are easy to understand and will be perfect when talking to your child. Others will be very complex and hard to understand. They may even require you to think about and decode them. These are more commonly found in poetry; however, be careful that you are not using a metaphor that is too complex for your child to understand. They will not be able to process the information correctly if it is.
The purpose of metaphors
Metaphors should create an impact on the reader. They are used to inspire and help people understand the importance of something. For example, “Max is a pig when he eats,” gives the reader a strong visual of how messy Max is when he eats. This is very important not only in a story or poem, but in everyday conversation. If someone says that his stomach is a black hole, you know it is important to have plenty of food at your event. If he had just said that his stomach is big or can hold a lot, you wouldn’t think you needed as much food. If his stomach truly were a black hole, you would need a never-ending supply of food. Not to mention that there’s a danger of this black-hole stomach consuming the entire planet!
It is important to understand how a metaphor works and know when you have heard one. They are meant to create a vivid picture or be a profound saying. The stronger the metaphor is, the better your intent will be received. Using metaphors to explain something to a child helps them by giving them a more visual picture.
Simple metaphor examples for kids
Here is a list of simple metaphor examples you can use to help teach your child. Before explaining the meaning, see if they can figure it out for themselves. Then have them create their own metaphors.
- What are you, a chicken?
- It’s raining cats and dogs!
- She’s a busy bee who always gets her work done.
- Looking at her gives me butterflies in my stomach.
- He’s a bull in a china shop.
- Don’t be a sheep; think for yourself!
- Tony was a fish out of water in his new school.
- Katie was a deer in headlights when I asked her who broke the vase.
- After two hours in the sun, he was a lobster.
- I’d like to be a fly on the wall and see what it’s like to be President for a day.
- The teacher rained on everyone’s parade by assigning homework over break.
- I’ve been flooded with friend requests since posting that video.
- Those two have been friends for years. They’re two peas in a pod.
- To the toddler, the jungle gym was Mt. Everest.
- Quit being such a couch potato and go outside!
- She could see the river of tears flowing down his face.
- The snowflakes danced their way to the ground.
- His head is always in the clouds.
- She blew away her teacher with her amazing presentation.
- Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
- The science fair winner is a real Einstein.
- She always called her son her little Mozart.
- I’m basically the next Ariana Grande.
- She’s the Michael Jordan of her basketball team.
- We’ve been friends for years; you’re a sister to me.
- Thanks for helping me; you’re a real saint!
- He’s cooked just two meals, and now he thinks he’s Jamie Oliver.
- You’re a gentleman and a scholar.
- Many people consider George Washington to be the father of the USA.
- By the way she carries herself, you’d think she was the Queen of England.
- There’s clearly something between those two.
- They’re two hearts beating as one.
- You’re the apple of my eye.
- He’s looking for love in all the wrong places.
- I’m crazy for you.
- The two instantly gravitated toward each other.
- She’s my better half.
- Don’t get carried away by love.
- He’s her latest flame.
- After years of arguing, the relationship was dead.
- He’s always fishing for compliments.
- Can you find Waldo in the sea of people?
- She’s a walking encyclopedia.
- My heart sank when I heard the bad news.
- If you’re feeling blue, try thinking about your favorite things.
- This new app is the Uber of food delivery.
- Don’t come into my room. It’s a disaster zone!
- The last year has been a roller coaster of emotions.
- Hard work is the key to success.
- After learning about metaphors, she was bursting with joy.
Once your child understands how to interpret and create simple metaphors, you might want to talk to them about implied metaphors. These are comparisons that don’t directly include one of the things that are being compared. Let’s take a look at an example:
The hungry children swarmed into the cafeteria.
Here, you see the word “swarmed,” and so you would think to compare the children to swarming insects, even though the word “insects” isn’t explicitly in the sentence.
Examples of implied metaphors
- She galloped all the way home.
- Afterward, he erupted in anger.
- Your negativity is infecting everyone else’s mood.
- After studying hard, she sailed through the exam and finished before everyone else.
- It’s never fun to feel love’s sting.
- The captain barked orders to the sailors.
- Your smile always radiates through the room.
- Everyone was buzzing with excitement.
- His opponent slithered away in defeat.
- The toddler waddled across the room.
Learning more about metaphors
If you are interested in learning more about metaphors and writing, you should understand romantic poetry. You could even try to write some simple metaphor books to help your child learn about them. It’s also a perfect weekend craft you can do together! Not only will they learn more about metaphors, but they will also be spending more time with you and practicing valuable skills. If you find that you really enjoy writing these metaphors for your child, try brushing up on your grammar so you are able to continue to help them throughout school. Children love learning new things from their parents.
Now that you have a full library of metaphors, you are prepared to answer your child’s next question assault. As well as using metaphors to help teach your children new things, it’s important to know about using them in your adult interactions as well. Many adults use about six metaphors a minute when engaged in conversation. Learning how to catch these metaphors and how to interpret them can help you in your everyday interactions with people. You may be able to use the information to help persuade them to do something, or just be able to understand more about what they are really thinking.
Learn more about yourself to really get conversations going with other adults.
Discovering who you are as a person is an important communication tool that will allow you to understand others better. Understanding what your child means when they say something and being able to answer their question is an important part of being the best parent you can be.
One of the best tools to use with your child is communication. Keep the lines of communication open and use these metaphor examples for kids to help answer their many questions. Remember, teachers are students as well! We are always learning and sharing new things as people!
Anyone can teach metaphors
Whether or not you’re a native English speaker, any time you can spend teaching your child is time well spent! If you’re not confident in speaking yet, our guide to English pronunciation will help build good speaking habits. In addition, our English courses for any level will help improve your English skills in no time at all.
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