50 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons

An Idiom isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It’s an expression that doesn’t have a meaning to it but is often used in daily conversations. So, here are a few idioms to teach your children in your class. 

  • Like a Fish out of Water

This means someone finds themselves in a situation they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Often, this happens when a pupil starts at a new school and is nervous since they don’t know anyone there. 

  • Adding Insult to Injury

This refers to an event that is made worse in some way. For instance, Anna broke her leg on the day she failed her math test. The broken leg was bad enough, but the failed math test added insult to injury. 

  • Anything but…

When something must be done, and it isn’t appealing to you, it is anything but exciting. It often can be a dreaded event. 

  • You’re barking up the Wrong Tree

Essentially, you are searching in the wrong place. For instance, Jack thought Harry was responsible for the broken window, but he was miles away when it happened. So, Harry was barking up the wrong tree to begin with. 

  • Don’t Beat Around the Bush

This refers to someone trying to avoid saying something because it’s awkward for them. 

  • Biting the Bullet

You want to get something over and done with. For instance, you’ve been putting off a tough homework assignment. So, on Friday, you bite the bullet and begin. 

  • Break a Leg

As surprising as it sounds, this is an idiom that means good luck. People often say to break a leg when they wish them well. 

  • Breaking the Ice

When someone introduces themselves, they are said to break the ice. 

  • Let’s call it a Day

When you bring an end to an event or conversation, you’re calling it a day. For example, Jenny worked for five hours on her assignment and called it a day at 7 p.m. 

  • It Costs an Arm and a Leg

Quite simply, this idiom is used to describe an expensive product. For instance, a new smart TV costs an arm and a leg. You’ll need to save for six months to be able to afford it. 

  • Why Don’t You Cut Them Some Slack?

This term means to ease the pressure on someone. For instance, Jack has been unwell and forgot to hand in his class assignment before the Monday deadline. His teacher, however, cut him some slack because she knew he hadn’t been well. 

  • You’re Cutting Corners

This idiom refers to someone saving money or time by doing something wrong or quickly. 

  • Putting Your Eggs into One Basket

This means you shouldn’t depend on a person or event before it has taken place. For instance, the dance is next week, and I’m sure Eddie will ask you out. That’s putting your eggs into one basket.

  • Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

When things are bad, there is always good to come from it. This idiom is often used in daily life, so it’s important to understand what it means. 

  • Things Just Got out of Hand

This means a situation has gotten out of your control. For example, Jenny intended to have a party with six people, but it grew to ten and just got out of hand. 

  • To Get Something out of your System

This idiom refers to someone saying or doing something they feel they have to get out of their system. 

  • Get your Act Together

This term refers to someone behaving properly. For example, Sara has been late to school every day for three weeks. Her teacher has told her to get her act together if she wants to remain in the class. 

  • Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt

When you trust or believe someone, you are said to be giving them the benefit of the doubt even if you’re not sure they’re being truthful. 

  • Giving them the Cold Shoulder

When you ignore someone on purpose, you are said to be giving them the cold shoulder. It’s often a term used when two people are no longer on speaking terms. 

  • Back to the Drawing Board

The idiom refers to going back to the beginning to start a project over with a new aim or idea. 

  • Try to Hang in There

This means you shouldn’t give up. For example, Ollie wasn’t enjoying his time at chemistry, but his mother encouraged him to hang in there. 

  • It’s a Hit or Miss

This refers to when an event or place is great or terrible. For example, Lucy’s favorite clothing store sometimes has a great range of clothing, and other times, it’s awful.

  • Time to Hit the Hay

It’s time to go to bed and sleep. 

  • It isn’t Rocket Science

This idiom is often used by those trying to stress how simple a set of instructions is. 

  • It’s Raining Cats and Dogs Outside

This simply means the weather outside is terrible, and it’s raining heavily. 

  • You’re Letting them Off the Hook

This refers to not holding someone accountable for their actions. For instance, Jerry knocked over the display, but the teacher saw it was an accident. She has let Jerry off the hook as a result. 

  • He’s Missed the Boat

You’re simply running late for an event that’s started. 

  • You’re Quick off the Mark

You’re said to be alert and deal with a situation promptly.  

  • They’re on Cloud Nine

This refers to someone being very happy about an event or day. 

  • You’re on Thin Ice Now

This idiom often refers to someone using up the last of their chances and is in danger of getting into trouble. 

  • Someone’s Pulling Your Leg

This means someone is trying to fool you. 

  • Pull Yourself Together

When someone is upset or angry, you calm down by pulling yourself together. 

  • He’s Got a Second Wind

It means someone has found a burst of energy and can keep going. 

  • Why Don’t You Spill the Beans?

You let a secret or an important piece of information slip out. For example, Maria was throwing a surprise party for John, but Jamie told him of the plan. 

  • Must take a Rain Check

You can’t do something now, so you must take a rain check for another day. 

  • It’s in Your Court

This refers to a decision you need to make. For example, Brody likes football and hockey but can only sign up for one of them. 

  • The Early Bird 

The idiom refers to someone having the best chance for success because they’ve taken the initiative and started early. For example, John left five minutes earlier and got a seat on the train. Jane left five minutes later and had to stand on the journey. 

  • Don’t Mention the Elephant in the Room

This means there is an issue no one wants to talk about. 

  • It’s the Icing on the Cake

An event is made even better. For example, James won first place in a math competition, and he later found out his reward was a trip to Disneyland. It was the icing on the cake.

  • That’s the Last Straw

This idiom refers to someone running out of patience after a series of disastrous events. For example, Lenny has accidentally broken eight of Elaina’s plant pots while playing football. The broken window, however, was when Elaina’s patience ran out. 

  • All Out

This refers to someone going the extra mile to make an event or day special. 

  • Sticking Together through Thick and Thin

This idiom refers to people sticking together to get through those good and bad days. 

  • Time Flies When It’s Fun

When you have a good time, you find the time goes quicker. 

  • Getting Bent out of Shape

When someone is upset about a specific event or thing, they are said to get bent out of shape. 

  • Make a Long Story Short

Give someone the basic information they need rather than a drawn-out conversation.

  • Being Under the Weather

This refers to someone being sick. 

  • Let’s Cross the Bridge When it Comes to it

You don’t want to deal with a problem; you rather handle it later. 

  • Try to Wrap your Head Around It

This means when you understand something that surprises you. For example, websites use domain names. 

  • You Can Say That Again

This is a term often used when you’re in agreeance with someone. For example, Jerry says how miserable the weather has been, and you reiterate it. 

  • Maybe, Who Knows?

This idiom is often used when you just aren’t sure about the answer to the problem or question. 

Idioms come in all shapes and sizes, and getting to know a few can be very useful. These examples could help your students to understand idioms better. 

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