Metaphors are one of the most popular examples of a figure of speech, but what are some of the top metaphor examples for kids? Learn more below.
When you were in high school English class, you probably learned how to use metaphors. You had worksheets, learned about the difference between a common metaphor and extended metaphors, and even covered implied metaphors.
Simile and metaphor each represent unique types of figurative language: a simile offers a clear, direct comparison, while a metaphor involves a more subtle, indirect analogy. Given this nuanced distinction, comprehending such abstract concepts can challenge children. Although metaphors encompass a wide variety, a closer look at a selection of metaphor types with some examples can help you write one for a child.
1. “A Heart of Stone”
Without a doubt, this is one of the best metaphors you can use with children. Almost everyone has heard this phrase before, and kids might have heard it on TV or seen it in a book. Therefore, because kids are already familiar with this phrase, they might be naturally curious about what this means.
Stones are hard. Therefore, if someone is said to have a heart of stone, it is a sign that they are not warm, loving, or compassionate. This is a great way to teach kids how to describe someone who might have hardened emotions or who might not be in tune with the emotions of others. Looking for more children’s books? You might want to check out our roundup best Dr. Seuss books!
2. “That Place Is a Zoo”
Lots of kids love to spend time with animals, so it might be helpful to use a few animal metaphors as well. You have probably heard something described as a “zoo” before, even if it was not actually a zoo. For example, the mall might be a zoo when you go shopping.
You should explain to children that this is a common phrase used to describe a place that is exceedingly crowded or busy. This can teach kids to understand how simple metaphor examples can be powerfully descriptive.
3. “It Is a Melting Pot”
You might have heard the United States described as a melting pot. There is a chance that children may have heard this turn of phrase as well. As one of the most common idioms, a melting pot is a place where multiple different ingredients (in the case above, cultures) come together to create a wonderful experience. You can use this metaphor to explain to children how the comparison between a melting pot of food and a melting pot of anything else can be a powerful descriptor.
4. “The Apple of My Eye”
It might be helpful to use other food or nature metaphors as well. For example, one of the most common phrases on the list of metaphors in the English language is the “apple of my eye.” First, you need to explain to kids that most people like apples, even if there are a few people in the classroom who aren’t a fan.
Then, you can explain to kids that the “apple of my eye” refers to something that the speaker loves more than anything else in the world. You can even mention that William Shakespeare used this metaphor in his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
5. “The Snow Is a White Blanket”
Nature metaphors are incredibly popular among children, and one of the most popular phrases is that the snow is a white blanket. Many kids love the snow because it means they might get a snow day, translating to an extra day off from school. Obviously, the snow is not a literal blanket, so that is not the literal meaning of this metaphor, but it is a powerful descriptive term that you can teach kids to use. Looking for more children’s books? You might also enjoy our list of the best Norma Bridwell books.
6. “The Tears Were a River”
Everyone cries occasionally, and sometimes the tears are heavier than others. You may have heard someone’s tears described as a river as they poured down someone’s cheeks. You can teach children that this is another metaphor they can use to describe someone’s emotions. If the tears are flowing similarly to a river, it creates a clear image of distress and heartache.
7. “The Stars Are Dancing”
This metaphor can also be used as an example of personification. Personification refers to giving something human-like qualities even if that object is not human. In this case, the stars are being compared to dancers in the night sky. If there is a shooting star passing through the night, it might give the appearance that the stars are dancing. You might even want to use a video to show children what this might look like.
8. “You Are My Sun”
Shakespeare also compared Juliet to the sun and Romeo and Juliet. Therefore, a lot of people use the sun as part of a metaphor. The sun is essential to life. Without the sun, all life on Earth would cease to exist. Therefore, describing someone as the sun is a way to elevate their level of importance. You might even want to pull up the example from Romeo and Juliet and then give children the opportunity to create their own metaphors.
9. “The Lightning Creates Fireworks”
Most kids are familiar with a thunderstorm. Some kids might still be afraid of thunder and lightning, while other kids like the crackle and pop. You might have heard lightning described as fireworks before. There is a good chance that children have heard this description as well. You can explain to children that the lightning is not creating literal fireworks but that it creates a similar sound and creates a similar picture in the sky. This might help kids more easily grasp the metaphor.
10. “Just a Band-Aid for the Problem”
There’s a good chance that children have fallen and scraped their knees before. They might have even required a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding. At the same time, you can describe to children how a Band-Aid is commonly used as a metaphor.
In the situation above, a Band-Aid for the problem is something that is temporary. Just as a Band-Aid on a scraped knee is only temporary as the body completes the healing process. If you explain to children that Band-Aids are only temporary solutions, they will have an easier time grasping this metaphor.
Final Word on Metaphor Examples for Kids
These are just a few of the most common examples of metaphors that kids might enjoy. It can be difficult for children to grasp an abstract concept, so it is important to be patient. If you allow children to develop their own metaphors, they might have an easier time understanding the ones above.
Keep in mind that some of the metaphors above are easier to understand than others. Therefore, take a few minutes to examine the metaphors above, and consider which ones would be easier for children to understand.
FAQs About Metaphor Examples for Kids
What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor?
Metaphors are comparisons made using the words like or as. If the comparison uses the word like or as, it is a simile. If a comparison is made without using the words like or as, then it is a metaphor. You might want to go through a few examples of similes with children to show them the difference.
How do I know if the metaphor will be easy for children to grasp?
You need to think about things that children come into contact with on a regular basis. Children love food, nature, and animals. This could be a good starting point.
What is an example of a metaphor?
An example of a metaphor is “Life is a journey.” This metaphor compares the experience of living to the act of traveling from one place to another. It helps us to better understand and appreciate life’s challenges and opportunities, and see them as part of a larger, more meaningful journey.
What is the simplest meaning of metaphor?
A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes something by referring to something else, usually in a non-literal way.
How can you identify a metaphor?
Identifying a metaphor involves recognizing language that is used figuratively to create a comparison between two unrelated things. Here are a few steps to help you identify a metaphor:
– Look for direct comparisons
– Pay attention to non-literal language
– Analyze context
– Note the absence of “like” or “as”: Unlike similes, which explicitly use “like” or “as” to make comparisons, metaphors don’t employ these words.
– Look for unusual associations
What is the word that means metaphor?
Words that mean metaphor are: analogy, figure of speech, symbol, comparison, simile, allegory, emblem, image, and representation.