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Unveiling Idioms: A Game of Concentration
|Grades||4 – 8|
|Activity Time||1 hour to design game (with additional time for play and optional writing/drawing activities; fewer than 4 players may take longer due to more drawing time).|
Idioms are sayings that play with the actual meaning of the words, such as “He’s pulling your leg,” or “It’s raining cats and dogs.” We regularly hear idioms in daily life, sometimes funny, generally peculiar, but we don’t often know what they mean or how they entered into common usage. Get children thinking about the meanings behind these common phrases by examining them through the creation and play of a homemade memory game. Children collect idioms from friends and family as well as inventing their own, then design playing cards depicting the idioms. The game is as expandable as the children’s imaginations.
In day to day interaction, we often use idioms without giving much thought to their literal meanings. These are common expressions we inherit from our friends and elders, and are generally metaphorical, meant to illustrate a point or idea more effectively than might otherwise be accomplished with direct speech. This activity is designed to draw children’s attention to the elasticity of language by showing them how silly or absurd many of our familiar sayings are if taken literally. By examining idioms and describing them in both literal and metaphorical terms, children see that what gives words their useful meanings depends on our ways of thinking about them.
This activity was modified from the ReadWriteThink lesson plan "Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms."