USING FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Add  Color to Your Writing

in SEVEN Different Ways

Figurative Language is a creative element you can include for adding color to some of your writing.

Many writers want to share  their expressions with readers.

If you, as a writer, want to engage a reader, there are a few things all good writers do.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Establish a focus, or purpose your reader can follow and understand..
  • Have an organized sequence to your content ~ beginning, middle & ending.
  • Develop and support your “Main Idea”.
  • Use adjectives, adverbs, and synonyms  to upgrade your written expressions.
  • Edit your work for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

Need some additional  info on Vocabulary Upgrades ? 

Check out this blog post:

 CLAMDIGGERS’ SUMMER GAMES: Vocabulary Study for Grade Levels 3 ~ 6

BLB’s Resource Library had a read for you. Here’s the link: Vocabulary Study Book Lists for Engaging Grade Levels 3 ~

What Is Figurative Language ?

A writer uses Figurative Language to include a word or phrase that doesn’t have an everyday, or literal meaning.

S/he uses one or more types of Figurative Language to emphasize:

  • an emotion,
  • time,
  • amount,
  • and/or size of a situation and/or character

outside of its usual, normal place. 

Humor and drama can be part of the writer’s purpose and expression.

Usually, Figurative Language tries to explain something that is not real or factual by helping the reader form a visual image.

Writers of novels, short stories, poetry, songs, plays, speeches, news, and, even, informational, nonfiction texts will entertain and engage their readers with one or more of the different types of Figurative Language.

What Are The Different Forms, or Types of Figurative Language ?

Although there are between 10 and 15 types of Figurative Language, your 8 ~ 11 year-old child will be  learning seven of them.

As a Third Grader, s/he will be taught to recognize the difference between literal and non-literal language when reading, writing, and speaking.

Of the seven different forms of Figurative Language, usually Similes and Metaphors are introduced as the first of these types to explore. Your child may already be familiar with these 2forms of Figurative Language. S/he can identify them through the content s/he reads and hears in the classroom.

S/he will probably be familiar with the other types through interactive family, friends,  and environmental communication. They are: Idioms, Hyperboles, Personification, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia. 

Now, you may be wondering why would a writer want to use Figurative Language.

  Are There Advantages to Using Figurative Language ?

Yes ! There are more than a few  Benefits for encouraging your budding writer (and speaker)  to include Figurative Language in his/her expressions.


  • Your child hears Figurative Language expressed in music, radio announcements, speeches, commercials, movies, and TV shows. It’s important for him/her to understand what is being said.
  • Your child engages their creativity and imagination when including Figurative Language during oral and written expression.
  • As your child transitions from concrete to abstract thinking, Figurative Language can make those complex ideas, concepts, and feelings easier to visualize and, then,  understand.
  • If your child is learning the literal words & phrases of English as another language, practice with Figurative Language will  improve his/her literacy & communication skills.


  • Your child’s understanding of Figurative Language will increase her/his overall comprehension of the content being read.
  • Not only does reading text with Figurative Language engage a reader, it, also, helps your child visualize,  interpret and analyze the setting, character traits, plot, and author’s purpose of the story.


  • Using Figurative Language when writing presents your child with many opportunities for expressing his/her thoughts in vivid, colorful, unique,  and interesting ways.
  • Your child’s ability to use Figurative Language is a way to effectively change a simple thought into a beautiful, complex image. 

So, How Do I Support My Child’s Learning?

Here are a few suggestions for supporting your child’s usage of Figurative Language:

  • Make sure s/he can define the meanings of each type of Figurative Language.
  • Use a variety of different forms of Figurative Language when communicating and identify them individually.
  • Point out examples when reading, watching media, listening to music, information & advertisements as well as writing.
  • Ask questions about your child’s writing, such as “compared to what, as in, sounds like, looks like, feels like, smells like, etc.
  • See if your child can differentiate the different kinds of Figurative Language and tell you when it is NOT being used.

Try some interactive activities, too.

How About Some FUN Learning Activities ?

Games and other interactive, hands-on activities with cross-curricular inclusions are effective ways to engage your child’s learning of figurative Language.

See if you and yours enjoy identifying some of the types when doing any of these:

  • Present a collection of picture books & magazines. Take turns locating and identifying which forms of Figurative Language are being used and what they mean.
  • During your next walk in Nature or anywhere, have your child describe the surroundings using the five senses with Figurative Language phrasing.
  • Select different objects around the house and ask your child you use a specific form of Figurative Language when describing them.
  • Look a a piece of art the next time you visit a museum and both of you use Figurative Language to describe the piece and how it makes you feel.
  • Create a Figurative Language Image Gallery and play a Match game with the drawings to the form of figurative Language.
  • Write skits that include Figurative Language and act them out.

Need a few more activity ideas? Here’s a  link:

I have, also, created games and activities for each of the seven types of Figurative Language. So, keep reading……    

Product Unit Components & Elements

Each of my six  Product Units~Similes & Metaphors (combined as one unit), Idioms, Personifications, Hyperboles, Alliteration & Onomatopoeia contain the following Components:

  • Front & Back Covers
  • Contents List
  • Materials List with Construction Instructions
  • Literature List
  • Simple Lesson Plan
  • At least 4 Different Activities with Directions & Answers

The Elements follow Bloom’s Higher Order Thinking Sequence and provide opportunities for increasing Critical Thinking Skills through:

  • Definition Cards
  • May have Label and/or Name Cards
  • Storage Pocket for Game Pieces
  • May have Sort Mats
  • Fill-In & Matching Activities
  • Writing Applications

           First up ~ Similes & Metaphors


Let’s define these two types of Figurative Language:                

A SIMILE is Figurative Language that compares two unlike things using the words “like”, “as”, or “resembles”. It is very similar to a METAPHOR.

A METAPHOR is Figurative Language that compares two things, which are usually not alike and does not use comparison words                     ( like, as, resembles).

Here are Similes & Metaphors links for Kid-Friendly Lists:

You can access this 37-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:–7101599

And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:

Idioms are next….


  IDIOMS are Figurative Language phrases that are culturally-based, with meanings completely different from the  literal, every day meaning.

Here is an Idioms link for a Kid-Friendly List :

You can access this 38-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:

And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:

Personifications coming up….


PERSONIFICATIONS give an animal, object or idea human characteristics or actions.

Here is a Personifications link for a Kid-Friendly List :

You can access this 32-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:–7102654

And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:

Keep reading for HYPERBOLES


HYPERBOLES are over-the-top exaggeration phrases usually included to make a point or add humor.

Here is a HYPERBOLES link for a Kid-Friendly List :

You can access this 44-page Product Unit with learning activities, including several for Tall Tales from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:–7102911

And here’s a little 7-page Freebie to go with it:

And now for a little Alliteration…


A Tongue Twister is a form of ALLITERATION, which is repeating  the beginning letter of several words close together in a sentence.

Here is an Alliterations link for a Kid-Friendly List :

You can access this 29-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:

And here’s a little 5-page Freebie to go with it:

And, finally, onward and downward to  Onomatopoeia…


ONOMATOPOEIA uses a word to describe a sound and actually mimics the sound of the object or action that is speaking.

Here is an Onomatopoeia link for a Kid-Friendly List :

You can access this 38-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:

And here’s a little 5-page Freebie to go with it:

Teaching your growing Learners this valuable Literacy element can be a very engaging and valuable asset for encouraging creativity and understanding our Language. I hope you will find some, if not all, of these Units useful.

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