Kids love anything ridiculous. Help them get to grips with metaphors and similes with this silly game. They draw a picture of the metaphor or simile, which helps them understand that the words put a picture, or ‘image’ in the reader’s head. Left and below are two I did earlier, by vandalising a Vogue magazine with a felt pen, camera – and half an onion. 

‘Mr Gum leapt out of bed like a guilty onion.’ Andy Stanton (above). This is a simile as it uses like (or as).

‘She looked at him with black fire in her eyes.’ David Walliams (right). This is a metaphor as it suggests that there IS black fire in her eyes.

To help your child remember – and understand – the difference between metaphors and similes, get them to draw these:
My brother is like a cow*.
My brother is a cow*.
Then ask them ‘what’s the effect?’ and ‘what’s the difference?’
* alter as appropriate.

You can also play a game where you transform similes into metaphors, and vice versa. The more you practise, the easier it gets. Talk to your child about the effect. Ask which they prefer and why. The benefit of this is that while most kids can put similes in their writing, very few can do metaphors. This game teaches them how to construct a metaphor.

e.g. original: Her skirt was like a wilted cabbage leaf. >
Her skirt was a wilted cabbage leaf. (metaphor)

original: The roses in her cheeks are faded. >
Her cheeks were like faded roses. (simile)