Every language has its own idiomatic expressions where the implied meaning is different from what the words actually say. Idioms help us communicate our ideas and thoughts with brevity and wit. Understanding that there is a hidden meaning behind these expressions is like being a language detective—What are people really trying to say when they use any of these idioms?
Most of the families in our flats speak different languages at home. The kids are 5-7 years old and their English Language Skills also varies. Almost all the children were unfamiliar with these idiomatic expressions in English. Since we were trying to capitalize on the monsoon theme, we wrote down all the idioms that we could think of related to rain, storm and clouds. We selected five idioms that we thought would be easy for even five year olds to follow.
We started by asking the kids to help us understand the meaning of the selected idioms.
“We are going to say some statements. Listen to what we say and each one of you has to share what you think your statement means.
Read their responses below:
The heavens opened!
“If there is a blast, then the sky will open and all the clouds and stars will fall down.”
It’s raining cats and dogs!
Cats and dogs fall from the clouds (instead of rain).
On cloud 9.
It is like numbers on buses. Clouds have numbers and someone is on cloud number 9 and they are floating and moving.
Face like thunder.
If you have a face like thunder, it means you are loud.
A storm in a teacup.
You are catching rain in a cup.
After this we gave them some more information on the idioms:
“These sentences are called idioms. They may sound strange and funny. But these sentences actually mean something entirely different. It is like speaking in a secret language. If you know what the hidden meaning is then, you will know what we are talking about. If you don’t know what the hidden meaning is, then you won’t know what people mean when they use an idiom.”
Here is the kids’ artwork illustrating the idioms. Can you figure out what these idioms mean?