Metaphors are one of the most used linguistic resources in the Spanish language. Not only are they a perfect tool for poetry, but they also help to better explain some concepts, which is why they are often present in our daily communication. However, learning what metaphors are and using them is often not easy for children.

In part, this is because their learning requires a certain level of development of logical and abstract thinking, so it is usually necessary to wait for children to consolidate their cognitive skills before teaching them what metaphors are. When children are ready to understand the function of metaphors, it is important to clearly explain to them what they are and how to recognize them. School supplies at the best price: The best options.

What exactly are metaphors?

Metaphors are a rhetorical figure that expresses a reality or concept through a different reality or concept with which it bears a certain resemblance. In other words, it is a figurative use of language that expresses a comparison between two realities or similar concepts, such as the expression “porcelain skin” to refer to white and smooth skin.

Basically, metaphors are made up of three fundamental parts: the real term, the imaginative term, and the connection. The real term refers to the reality or concept that wants to be described and the imaginative to the reality or concept with which it is compared. For its part, the connection is the vehicular relationship between the real and the imaginative term, that is, the term that allows comparison.

Unlike the simile, another comparative resource that relates two terms through a link, the metaphor does not use links, that is, the imaginative term represents and replaces the real term at the same time. For example, a simile would be “his skin is like porcelain” while the metaphor of the same sentence would be “his porcelain skin”. For this reason, it is often used in poetry as a resource to give a more elegant and creative touch to the verse.

The main types of metaphors

Depending on their composition, there are different types of metaphors:

  1. common metaphor. Also known as a simple or impure metaphor, it directly relates the real term to the imaginative one. As for example in the cases: “he is a bundle of nerves” or “time is gold”.
  2. pure metaphor. In this type of metaphor the imaginative term completely replaces the real term. Examples of this metaphor are: “he has a stone in his chest” or “sunset of life”.
  3. prepositional metaphor. In these metaphors, the real term is related to the imaginative term by means of a preposition, as in the cases: “eyes of fire” or “golden hair”.
  4. appositional metaphor. It is a metaphorical expression in which there is no link between the real and the imaginative term. Examples of these metaphors are: “youth, divine treasure” or “rain, crying from heaven”.
  5. negative metaphor. Basically, negative metaphors are those that include an adverb of negation. Examples are these cases: “not children, angels” and “stars, not eyes”.

3 exercises for children to practice metaphors

Once the children have mastered the theory about metaphors, it is important to propose activities with which they can exercise their knowledge. Here are three ideas that you may find useful:

1. Find the metaphors in a text

Learning to recognize metaphors is one of the basic skills that children must develop. An ideal exercise to train them is to ask them to point out all the metaphors they find in a text. Whether marking them in the text or writing them on paper, the goal is for children to learn to recognize them and differentiate them from other types of comparisons. To make it easier for the little ones, you can use texts that they already know, so that it is easier for them to identify the metaphors.

2. Interpret metaphors

Another excellent exercise to familiarize children with metaphors is to ask them what they mean. To do this, you can use the metaphors that you extracted from the text or some of the examples that we provide below. If you want to make it more fun, you can organize a kind of family game in which each member must describe the meaning of a metaphor, a way to motivate children to study and improve their vocabulary and oral expression.

3. Create new metaphors

Without a doubt, the best way for children to learn what metaphors are is to create new metaphorical expressions. They can be based on their environment, a reading or even their favorite cartoons, the idea is that they use their creativity to create metaphors that describe the things around them. If you want to go a step further, you can ask them to write them on paper and then classify them according to their composition. Another equally effective exercise is to ask them to create a poem in which they use metaphors to describe their ideas.

30 examples of metaphors for children to learn to recognize them

  1. It looks like a bear and a mouse character.
  2. It’s sparking.
  3. They have it under the magnifying glass.
  4. The news hit me.
  5. You are the light of my life.
  6. I looked at the pearls in her mouth.
  7. Two emeralds sparkled in her eyes.
  8. I am between a rock and a hard place.
  9. It stole a smile from me.
  10. The snows of time silvered his temple.
  11. That project is in its infancy.
  12. It was raining devilishly.
  13. The sun illuminated a sad street.
  14. It is a tomb.
  15. Crocodile tears.
  16. His heart is a desert.
  17. Those sisters are two drops of water.
  18. My cousin is a sun.
  19. His words touched my soul.
  20. The lament of the guitars was heard.
  21. A toad as fat as a truck.
  22. Upon approving, he felt his hands touch the sky.
  23. Feel butterflies in the stomach.
  24. His heart is an infinite well.
  25. This situation drowned him.
  26. The land was gray as regret.
  27. He cried rivers of tears.
  28. His spirits are on the ground.
  29. They have him under scrutiny.
  30. Put black on white.