Descriptive writing is one of the essential skills that children will learn in school and progress into life. They will use and expand upon it again and again within creative writing and narrative writing topics, and there are so many ways to get those creative juices flowing. In addition, children will need to prepare a narrative essay for the Year 3 and 5 NAPLAN exams, so it’s good to build their skills early with fun and exciting projects. Describing a person is a fun and easy way to start practicing the descriptive writing process.
Children should try to build a complete picture using descriptive language when describing a person.
So, How Do You Describe a Person in Writing?
They should think about describing the person’s physical appearance and personality.
Describe a Person’s Physical Appearance
Describing a person’s physical appearance is easy, as you must look at them and write down what you see.
Encourage children to get creative when describing their friends and fellow students in class using similes and metaphors.
“Megan has a round face like a shining sun.”
Eyes – Eyes are the windows to the soul, after all.
- Shape – big, small, round, oval-shaped
- Eye color – blue, brown, hazel, green, gold, black, grey, technicolor
“Ben has blue eyes like the deep blue sea.”
- Lips – thin, full, open, closed
- Mouth expressions – laughing, smiling, frowning
“Evangeline has a small nose like a button.”
- Colour – black, brunette, brown, ginger, strawberry blonde, blonde, auburn, red, bleach blonde, grey, silver, white
- Texture – straight, curly, frizzy, afro, wavy, bald
- Style – long, short, cropped, braided, pigtails, bun, fringe
“Hannah has long golden hair like a fairytale princess.”
These are just some examples of the face, but children should also have a great time describing things like body, clothing, style, and age.
Describe a Person’s Personality
Children can get super creative with language when describing a person or character in their writing topics. For example, here are some excellent adjectives to describe a person.
- Friendly – My sister is as lovely as a new puppy.
- Jolly – My grandpa is so cheerful he might be Santa Clause in disguise.
- Moody – Taliah is always moody, like a storm brewing in her belly.
- Chatty – Sarah is so talkative you can never get a word in.
- Cowardly – My dog is cowardly; he hates when visitors come to my house to pet him.
- Funny – Evangeline is so funny; she always makes me laugh.
- Tidy – I am not a very clean person; I always forget to remove cups of milk from my bedroom
- Unlucky – My sister is miserable; when she goes on holiday, it always rains
- My dad gets very grumpy if you wake him from his midday nap.
- Kind – My mum is the kindest person I know; she always gives me treats.
- Polite – I am very polite; I always say please and thank you.
- Intelligent – Chiharu is brilliant; I wish she would let me copy her work.
- Serious – My grandma is very serious; she always waits until precisely 6 pm to open her bottle of evening medicine.
Describe a Person’s Emotions/Feelings
The hardest part of describing a person is representing how they feel. Yet, children must do this when studying creative writing and start creating their own short stories, poems, and literature.
Children must think hard about describing a person or a character’s feelings because they’re constantly changing, and people can feel many different things simultaneously. Here are some emotions children might consider when describing people or characters in writing projects.
When Kids Describe a Person
There are many ways to describe a person. Here are some hilarious examples of kids relating their parents to an illustrator, from their excessive heights to their affinity for catching bad guys.
- My dad is about 43 feet tall.
- My mum is short; my dad says if she were any shorter, she would have to be in a car seat. Her hair is like a box, and she likes catching bad guys.
- My grandma should be smoking a cigarette. She has a medium smile.
- My dad is like a big sleepy bear; he sits around all day.
Teachers can encourage the class to have a little fun and start the process by splitting children into pairs. Then have them sit across from each other and write down a description of each other. The results can be very inspiring. It is a fun and light-hearted activity, but it’s also a great kickstarter in teaching children how to observe a person’s physical and personal attributes and learn to transfer their observations into writing.
Teaching Descriptive Writing: Describe a Person
Structure a Descriptive Paragraph:
Introduce the person you are talking about.
- Talk about their physical appearance
- Talk about their personality
- Try to add something special about the person
Write a concluding sentence to end the paragraph. Sum up the topic in your first line.
Teachers could provide children with a ready-made paragraph to start, in which children have to input all the adjectives and describe words to bring the character to life.
“My best friend has (long, brown, blonde) hair; she is (short and tall) and has (blue, brown, and green) eyes. She wears a (blue, green, and pink) dress and a (straw, felt top) hat. She has always been my best friend.”
You could also assign projects in class where children have to write about a person they admire. Students could use someone they’re learning about at school or their favorite family member. They should describe the person physically and remember to express their personality emotionally. Encourage older children to think outside the box using complex adjectives and strong metaphors.
Frida Kahlo was like a hurricane in a dress. Her dark brown hair and a single eyebrow made her look permanently fierce. Yet, she thought in colors that didn’t exist, and her sadness could give birth to new worlds.
Andy Warhol wore his face like people wear a hat. His hair was almost as white as snow, but he had eyes of deep black. He thought in all the colors of the rainbow—painting bright reds and blues on paper, walls, and people.
Stephen Hawking could own a room like a cat in a classroom. His glasses mirrored his cheery disposition, and his wheelchair flattened the toes of his enemies. He thought in all the ways of the universe: particles, protons, and parallel universes.
Once children have become adept at describing real people, they’re well on their way to being able to create their characters and dream up all sorts of exciting short stories. Next, they’ll have to think about using descriptive writing in fun ways, not just for people but for enchanting places and compelling plots.
Describing a person in writing is just the tip of the iceberg. But, with lots of practice, children will be well on their way to writing the next bestseller, and it all started at school with a fun little writing project.