Fun with English Idioms

There’s a website sponsoring an art contest this fall, and it’s all about English idioms! An idiom is a commonly-used phrase with a certain meaning that can’t be determined if you considered only the words themselves. For example, the idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs” means that it’s a downpour, not that cats and dogs are actually falling from the sky.  Another example is “a chip on your shoulder”; no, there’s not a potato chip on your shoulder, you’re just still upset about something that happened in the past.

Is your child ready to have fun with some English idioms? has a contest for children ages 8-12. To enter, students draw a picture of their favorite idiom – not what the phrase means, but what the words are actually saying. So for this contest, you can draw a grey sky actually raining cats and dogs or a person with a potato chip resting near his head. Homeschoolers can enter either as individuals or as a co-op class.

Ready to get started? If you can’t think of an idiom, here are some you might try:

  • Keep an eye on him
  • Hit the hay
  • Hit the nail on the head
  • Barking up the wrong tree
  • An axe to grind
  • Go out on a limb
  • Cock and bull story
  • Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • Dog days of summer
  • Out of the blue
  • Sick as a dog
  • Blue moon
  • Spitting image
  • Buy a lemon
  • At the drop of a hat

Choose your favorite and start drawing! What is your favorite English idiom?

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