Developing writing creativity in kids requires parents and teachers to teach them complex things in an easy manner. Though kids are fast at learning, they sometimes take time to grasp complex things. One major element of descriptive writing is the use of metaphors. As understanding tough metaphors can be challenging for kids, they should be taught the use of metaphors by first starting with easy metaphor examples. However, as they start understanding metaphors, their pleasure in reading increases. Once they start to understand metaphors, they can ace the use of metaphors in their writing too.
What is a Metaphor?
Metaphors are commonly used in stories and poetry; however, metaphors for children sometimes can be confusing. So, teachers and parents first need to explain metaphors to a child. A metaphor is a word or phrase used to draw or make a comparison between two things without using words such as “like” or “as”. The metaphor definition for kids simply means a metaphor is a figurative speech word or phrase used to compare two things or activity by creating a resemblance between the two. These figure of speeches help in describing an object or action by making a symbolic comparison to some other thing that is not literally true i.e. it equates two things which are not similar by comparing them.
Importance of Metaphors
Metaphors are important in descriptive writing as they help the writer explain things differently or provide a different insight into the thing. They are used by writers in literature to make their writing more interesting, colourful and artistry. A metaphor makes words come to life by making the subject more relatable for the reader. They also make a complex idea easy to understand. Metaphors enhance writing by adding imagery to it. A metaphor seems strange when they are taken literally, but when used symbolically in poetry, literature or even speaking, they help in creating a vivid description to an object or activity by comparing to something else. Once the kid understands metaphors, he will enjoy literature more and write more effectively.
Types of Metaphors
Metaphors mean symbolically comparing two things or ideas; however, their types make their meaning much broader. The various kinds of metaphors are:
1. Extended/Sustained Metaphor
Extended metaphors are those metaphors which are used longer than a word or phrase, i.e. they are sustained or carried out throughout the whole text or poem. In simple terms, comparisons to the same object are made multiple times to create vivid imagery.
2. Implied Metaphor
In Implied metaphors, two objects or things are compared without mentioning them directly or explicitly. The implied metaphor deviates from direct object A to object B comparison by implying a comparison between the two objects.
3. Dead Metaphor
A dead metaphor is a metaphor which has been used numerous times, making it a cliché. Such metaphors, by their extensive overuse, lose their effect or power on imagery. Hence, they are best avoided.
4. Everyday Metaphors
Everyday metaphors are metaphors which compare everyday objects and things.
5. Animal Metaphor
Animal metaphors are metaphors where a comparison has been made to animals for any object or activity.
6. Nature Metaphors
Nature metaphors compare objects or activities to nature or acts of nature.
7. Mixed Metaphor
A mixed metaphor involves two or more incompatible or incongruous metaphors to make a single metaphor. Mostly they are used for comic purposes, as they combine two unrelated and recognisable metaphors.
How Are Metaphors Different From Similies?
A metaphor is a word or phrase used to draw a comparison between two unrelated things that have something in common. In similes, two things are compared directly using words such as “like” or “as”, whereas in a metaphor, these words are not used and the comparison is indirect. Metaphors state something as something else and they don’t mean the comparison literally. However, similes can be taken literally. A simile, by direct comparison, tells the reader that two things compared are similar if not the same. Whereas, a metaphor is a figure of speech telling a reader that something is something else. Metaphors help poets and writers make their point uniquely and interestingly by creating a new perspective.
Examples That Will Help Kids Understand Metaphors
To make it easy for kids to understand and create metaphors, below is the list of metaphors for kids. These common metaphors for kids will make the kids understand and create metaphors easily. The examples of metaphors are:
1. Using Strength and Size in Metaphors
Strength and size comparisons are a great way to create metaphors to create imagery of the size or the strength of someone or something.
Example:- He had the trunks of trees for arms.
This metaphor example expresses the size of the arms by comparing them to the tree trunk.
2. Using Time Comparisons in Metaphors
Time comparisons metaphors are created by comparing some object with time.
Example:-Rahul is a snail behind the wheel.
This metaphor compares Rahul time to reach somewhere by driving to a snail and everyone knows snails are known for their slow speed. So by comparing the driving of Rahul to snail’s speed, it is meant that Rahul drove at a slow speed.
3. Using Taste in Metaphors
Using taste in metaphors helps in creating the imagery of favourable or unfavourable scenarios for any activity.
Example:- The baseball game resulted in a sweet victory for our school team.
This metaphor compares the victory of the school team with the sweet taste, meaning it was a pleasant victory, making the team happy. Similarly, for the other team, it can be said the game ended in bitter defeat meaning an unpleasant defeat.
4. Using Smell in Metaphors
Sense of smell can be effectively used in metaphors to symbolically create imagery associated with pleasant and unpleasant smells.
Example:- The football game stinks.
This metaphor expresses the emotion one gets by seeing the game. The game actually doesn’t stink but a metaphor uses the smell reference to compare it to something with a bad smell, inferring it was not enjoyable.
5. Using Animals and Instruments in a Metaphor
Metaphors having an animal and instrument reference make the kid learn and understand different animal/instrument sounds along with learning the use of metaphors.
Example:- The elephant in the circus let out a trumpet blast.
This metaphor of comparing the sound of an elephant with trumpet doesn’t mean the elephant sounded like a trumpet or was playing the trumpet. It just implied the elephant made a loud noise like a trumpet.
6. Using Temperature in a Metaphor
Some funny metaphors for kids use different things as a mean of comparison of temperature.
Example:-Don’t touch the pizza; it’s lava.
Here, the pizza is not filled with molten rock or made with lava. Just that it’s temperature is too hot for anybody to touch or eat. The comparison with lava is to imply its hot temperature, so it is not to be touched.
7. Using Food Comparisons for Weather in Metaphors
Food is utilised well to create metaphors about the weather. Kids like food, so comparing the weather with food makes them understand the metaphor well and they can be creative with them too.
Example:- The fog in Shimla was pea soup.
Here, the fog has been compared to pea soup, which is thick and opaque. The metaphor doesn’t imply that pea soup formed the fog or clouds, rather the state of the fog, which was thick and difficult to see through.
8. Room Cleaning Metaphors
Different things are compared to the tidiness of the room to create a room cleaning metaphor. They are used to denote the condition of the room, especially by indirectly asking the kids to clean their room by bringing to their attention the state of their room.
Example:- Your room has mountains of clothes everywhere.
Here, the comparison of mountains with piles of clothes is to express their size, meaning the piles are rather large. Though not of the size of a mountain, they are big enough to require cleaning. So, comparing the size of the clothes pile to a mountain is to indirectly imply the room needs cleaning.
9. Using Animal and Human Comparisons in Metaphors
Using animal and human comparisons in metaphors are the most common metaphors. However, this comparison is also commonly used in similes with “like” or “as”, so don’t confuse the two.
Example:- She tamed her wild mane of hair with a scarf.
Here, the wild mane of hair doesn’t mean that the girl had wild hair like a wild animal eg. Lion. Rather, it signifies she had lots of hair by comparing her (human) to an animal.
10. Using Mirrors and Water in a Metaphor
Many metaphors for kids compare water and mirror to imply the reflectiveness of the water and the stillness of the water.
Example:- The lake in the village was a mirror.
Here it doesn’t mean the lake was solid as a mirror but it was reflective and smooth like a mirror without any ripples.
Kids may ask why use metaphors? Why not just write simply without using metaphors for imagery? The obvious answer is that simple writing effectively conveys what a writer wants to say. However, by using metaphors the writer creates unique imagery for the readers by comparing the subject with an unrelated object. The use of metaphors makes the writer unique and enhances writing.