Figurative language can be so hard to understand. When students are learning new words and phrases, they use context clues to develop the meaning. However, figurative language does not work this way. Whether drawing comparisons or exaggerations, students really have to spend time learning different types of figurative language. One type that is tricky to learn includes idioms! However, with these idiom examples for kids, students will start to have a better understanding of what idioms mean.
What are idioms?
Idioms are a phrase that actually means something different from its literal meaning. For example, it’s raining cats and dogs is an idiom. However, it does not mean cats and dogs are falling from the sky. Instead, it means it is raining very hard. It is often confusing for students to grasp the fact that the meaning of idioms cannot be found by breaking down the sentence. However, with time and practice, students will start to know common idioms used in society.
Idiom Examples for Kids
There are so many idioms to pick from when teaching figurative language! However, here are a few that kids really love!
- Piece of Cake: Something is very easy
- When Pigs Fly: Something is impossible
- Cost an Arm and a Leg: Something is very expensive
- Cool as a Cucumber: Someone is calm under stress
- Icing on the Cake: Something good turns great
- Hold your Horses: Someone needs to slow down or wait a minute
- Head in the Clouds: Someone is daydreaming or not paying attention
- Two Peas in a Pod: Two people are always together
- Break a Leg: Good luck
- Hold Your Horses- Wait a minute
Activities to Teach Idioms
Figurative language can be so fun to teach! When teaching idioms to students, here are some great ways to help students understand the meaning. Whether looking for whole group or small group/partner activities, any of the ones below can be adapted to help students.
Drawing the Meanings: Literal versus Figurative
For this activity, provide students sheets of blank paper and some colored pencils. Each page will have one idiom written on it. Be sure to check out the list above for great options! On one side, students draw the idiom as the words mean exactly. So, for raining cats and dogs, students will actually draw this! Then, on the other side, students will draw what the idiom actually means. Thus, great conversation will happen to help students understand the real meaning.
Many times, students love acting in front of their classmates! Thus, they can be given an idiom and its meaning and act it out for the class. The goal of the class will be to guess the correct idiom. When students are first learning idioms, it is helpful to have a list of options. Additionally, some idioms can even be acted out with a small group of students!
In order to get students up and moving, they can have stations posted around the room. At each station, there can be pictures that represent different idioms. As a group, students work to identify the correct meaning.
Another Idiom example for kids is roleplaying. Roleplay is similar to the charades games above, but it is a little more planned out. Here, students work in a small group. Then, they are given one idiom. First, challenge students to see if they know the meaning. If not, provide a small reading with the idiom used and have them use clues to develop the meaning. Lastly, students will be able to plan a short skit to act out for the class to remember.
While the book is mini, it is packed with information! For this activity, students will explain one idiom a day. To begin, they will write the idiom. Then, they will write the meaning of it. Between these, they will draw a picture to depict the meaning. This is a great activity to do by learning one idiom a day during morning work or during reading. Students can even have options and then select which of the two they include in their mini-book. If this happens, students can even partner up at the end and share their books with a classmate.
This activity can be played in a variety of formats. First, students can play the traditional matching game with cards. They can be given cards with idioms written on them and then ones with pictures or written meanings. The cards will lay face down until all matches are found. This way develops great teamwork! Or, students can be given a list of idioms and meanings. Then, they can work together to match all of the meanings to the correct idioms. After this, you can even challenge students to use idioms throughout the day!
As students begin to learn more idioms, a new challenge can be to bring in short stories. Instead of being given idioms alone, they can be incorporated into short stories. Then, students can identify the idiom and the meaning. As an extra challenge, students can even write their own short stories with idioms! To build relationships, they can even share stories with each other and have classmates find idioms in each story.
Students often love idiom examples for kids task cards! Whether working on them independently or in small groups, they are engaging and can fill any amount of class time. For instance, Idiom Task Cards is an incredible resource to use. Here, students have 36 task cards with three different question types. Even better, 67 idioms are included! Additionally, Idiom BOOM Cards are another great resource to include. Here, there are 41 task cards to help students practice in a variety of formats. After completing these resources, students are going to feel so knowledgeable when hearing idioms.
Figurative language can be tough to learn! However, with these Simile and Metaphor Examples and the idiom tips and tricks above, students will develop a deeper understanding. When this happens, they will improve their comprehension whenever reading contains figurative language. Also, before you know it, students will begin to regularly use figurative language in their conversations!
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