Figurative Language Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Figurative language makes writing spicy! This lesson focuses on many types of figurative language and gives you some fun examples so you can write your own! Updated: 04/24/2020

Interesting Writing

Do you ever pause after reading something and think, 'Wow, that was a really cool way to say that?' If you've ever had that thought, you might have come across figurative language. Figurative language is a special form of writing that makes interesting comparisons to allow the reader to think about a topic in a new way. Once you learn more about figurative language, you'll be able to recognize it in stories, poems, and even songs!

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Main Types of Figurative Language


The first type of figurative language that we're going to look at is the simile, which is defined as a comparison of two things using the words 'like' or 'as.'

For example, let's take a look at this sentence:

  • After a long day at the beach, my skin was as red as a tomato.

Was the skin actually that red? No, it wasn't, but by comparing it to a tomato, the reader gets a strong visual image of the sunburn.

Here's another one:

  • After not exercising for a couple weeks, the short jog was like a marathon.

What's the message here? Running a marathon is an incredibly challenging thing, even for trained athletes. So by comparing the short jog to a marathon, the message is that the jog was extremely difficult.


Another kind of figurative language is the metaphor, which is a comparison of two things without using the words 'like' or 'as.' Notice that while similes always use the words 'like' or 'as,' metaphors never do.

For example, take a look at the following sentence:

  • The child is a ray of sunshine.

Of course, the child isn't actually a flaming ball of gas, so what could it mean? Since sunshine is always a treat, it warms us up and brightens our moods. If the child is being compared to the sun, the child makes us feel good and brightens days.

Another metaphor can be found in the sentence:

  • My brother is the clown of the family.

Do you think the brother walks around in clown shoes? Probably not! By comparing the brother to a clown, it's saying that he is the silliest family member. Let's move on.


When someone give human qualities to non-human things, we call it personification. This one's pretty easy to recognize. If the thing is doing something that it wouldn't be able to do in real life, it's probably personification.

For example:

  • The tall trees danced during the storm.

Did the trees do the cha-cha? No! This example gives a visual to the reader that the trees swayed, almost as if to a beat.

Another example is:

  • The angry seas made the boat rescue nearly impossible.

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