Personification Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

Writers sometimes try to make their words more interesting and descriptive. One way they do this is through personification. In this lesson, you will learn about personification and read some examples.

What is Personification?

Have you ever been outside and noticed that your shadow was following you? Of course, you know that a shadow cannot really follow a person! It just appears when the sun shines on you in a certain way. A shadow is an inanimate thing, meaning that it is not alive.

The Shadow Follows

A shadow following someone is an example of personification. Personification is what writers do when they write about inanimate objects as if they were alive. It might help you to think of the word 'person' in personification.

Can you think of any examples of personification? Does chocolate cake ever 'tempt' you to take a bite? Does your homework ever 'hide' from you in your book bag?

Using Personification

Writers use personification for different reasons. Sometimes it makes their writing funny. Sometimes it makes the meaning of their words more clear. Almost always, personification makes writing more interesting.

The author Shel Silverstein wrote a lot of poems using figurative language. The following poem is from his book A Light in the Attic. In this poem, Shel Silverstein uses personification to be funny.


A Mouth was talking to a Nose and an Eye.

A passing listening Ear

Said, 'Pardon me, but you spoke so loud,

I couldn't help but overhear.'

But the Mouth just closed and the Nose turned up

And the Eye just looked away,

And the Ear with nothing more to hear

Went sadly on its way.

Notice that the Mouth is talking instead of the person who has the mouth. The Ear was passing by, like a person walking down the street. The Ear even talked to the mouth!

The following two paragraphs show how personification can make a simple paragraph more interesting to read. The first paragraph just states the facts. The second one describes them in more detail using personification.

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