A metaphor expresses an idea by describing something that isn’t literally true. Most commonly, this involves comparing two things that aren't alike but do have something in common. You may have to work a little to find the meaning in a metaphor.
The animal kingdom is full of strange, wild creatures that can help you compare people, feelings and more. This list of simple metaphor examples for kids involves animals and is a great place to get started.
- The classroom was a zoo.
- The alligator's teeth are white daggers.
- She was such a peacock, strutting around with her colorful new hat.
- My teacher is a dragon ready to scold anyone he looks at.
- Mary's eyes were fireflies.
- The computers at school are old dinosaurs.
- He is a night owl.
- Maria is a chicken.
- The wind was a howling wolf.
- The ballerina was a swan, gliding across the stage.
- Jamal was a pig at dinner.
- The kids were monkeys on the jungle gym.
- My dad is a road hog.
- The stormy ocean was a raging bull.
- The thunder was a mighty lion.
- In this summer heat, the kids were just a bunch of lazy dogs.
Nature offers a wealth of potential metaphors. For example, something as simple as “You are my sunshine” helps you describe the warmth that someone might make you feel, like the sun itself. Make note of the comparisons being made in these metaphors:
- The snow was a white blanket over the sleepy town.
- He is a shining star on that stage.
- Her fingers were icicles after playing outside.
- Her long hair was a flowing golden river.
- The children were flowers grown in concrete gardens.
- The falling snowflakes are dancers.
- The calm lake was a mirror.
- You are my sunshine.
- The moon was a white balloon floating over the city.
- The road ahead was a ribbon stretching across the desert.
- The park was a lake after the rain.
- The sun is a golden ball.
- The clouds are balls of cotton.
- The lightning was fireworks in the sky.
- That lawn was a perfect green carpet after getting mowed this morning.
- The stars are sparkling diamonds.
- Ben's temper was a volcano ready to explode.
- Those best friends are two peas in a pod.
Going through your day, you’d be surprised how often metaphors come up. From the park to the grocery store, keep your ears open for people speaking in metaphors.
- The kids were just bowls of ice cream melting in the sun.
- America is a melting pot.
- Her lovely voice was music to his ears.
- The world is a stage.
- My kid's room is a disaster area because he refuses to clean it up.
- Life is a rollercoaster.
- Their home was a prison.
- Her heart is a cold iron.
- He has a heart of stone.
- At recess, the playground becomes a circus.
- Books are the keys to your imagination.
- Eyes are the windows to the soul.
- Your brain is a computer.
- The car was a furnace in this summer heat.
- She was such an angel for helping me cross the street.
- My baseball coach is an ogre.
- He is a walking dictionary.
- My big brother is a couch potato.
- The teenager's stomach was a bottomless pit.
- I am so excited. My pulse is a race car.
- That dog is a smart cookie.
- He got lost in a sea of memories.
- Toddlers are rugrats.
While simple metaphors make a direct comparison between two things, saying that one thing is the other, not all metaphors are as easy to understand. Implied metaphors don't directly state one of the objects being compared. Instead, they describe one item with the words you would typically use to describe another. For example:
- The girl stalked her brother before finally pouncing on her prey.
By describing the girl this way, the writer is making an implied comparison between the girl and a lion or other predator. Implied metaphors can be difficult to figure out when you're first learning about them, but as you see more direct metaphor examples, you’ll work your metaphor muscles and have an easier time figuring out metaphors in all forms.
Similes are another way to compare two different things, but a simile uses the words like or as. For example:
- Her tears flowed like a river down her cheeks.
A metaphor makes the same comparison without like or as, which can require a little more interpretation from the reader:
- Her tears were a river flowing down her cheeks.
Metaphors help you make a point in a more interesting way and help others see something from a new perspective. Combining metaphors with other figures of speech make writing and conversations more fun for everyone.