60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (2023)

Table of Contents
Idiom Examples To Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons 1. A fish out of water 2. Add insult to injury 3. All ears 4. Ants in your pants 5. Anything but 6. Barking up the wrong tree 7. Be a fly on the wall 8. Beat around the bush 9. Beef up 10. Bigger fish to fry 11. Bite the bullet 12. Break a leg 13. Break the ice 14. Call it a day 15. Chip off the old block 16. Costs an arm and a leg 17. Cut somebody some slack 18. Cutting corners 19. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch 20. Drop the ball 21. Every cloud has a silver lining 22. Get out of hand 23. Get something out of your system 24. Get your act together 25. Get your ducks in a row 26. Give someone the benefit of the doubt 27. Give someone the cold shoulder 28. Go back to the drawing board 29. Hang in there 30. Hit-or-miss 31. Hit the sack/hit the hay 32. Hold your horses 33. It’s not rocket science 34. It’s raining cats and dogs 35. Let someone off the hook 36. Miss the boat 37. On cloud nine 38. On the ball 39. On thin ice 40. Play it by ear 41. Pull someone’s leg 42. Pull yourself together 43. Second wind 44. Spill the beans 45. Take a rain check 46. The ball is in your court 47. The early bird gets the worm 48. The elephant in the room 49. The icing on the cake 50. The last straw 51. The whole nine yards 52. Through thick and thin 53. Time flies when you’re having fun 54. To get bent out of shape 55. To make a long story short 56. Under the weather 57. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it 58. Wrap your head around something 59. You can say that again 60. Your guess is as good as mine What other idioms do you teach in your Idiom of the Day lessons? Come share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. Plus if you like this Idiom of the Day article, check out 13 puns and jokes only a true grammar nerd will get.

Idioms are expressions that have a meaning that isn’t immediately obvious from the words themselves. Every language has them, and fluent speakers use them casually without even thinking about them. But for young students or those learning English as a second language, these phrases can be really confusing. Use “Idiom of the Day” lessons with your class to help them learn these expressions and get comfortable using them.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most common English idioms, complete with meanings and examples. Share these Idiom of the Day images with your students to deepen their understanding and use of American English idioms in no time flat!

ADVERTISEMENT

Idiom Examples To Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons

1. A fish out of water

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (1)

Meaning: Someone in an uncomfortable position or situation

Example: It was Allison’s first day at her new school, and she felt like a fish out of water.

2. Add insult to injury

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (2)

Meaning: Do something to make a bad situation worse

Example: Learning she failed her science test on the same day her best friend moved away added insult to injury.

3. All ears

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (3)

Meaning: Eager to listen to what someone has to say

Example: The class was all ears when Ms. Ali mentioned a way to earn extra credit on the test.

4. Ants in your pants

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (4)

Meaning: Can’t sit still

Example: “Stop wriggling while I’m braiding your hair!” Kehlani’s mom said. “You have ants in your pants this morning.”

5. Anything but

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (5)

Meaning: Not at all

Example: When they heard about the pop quiz, the students were anything but excited.

6. Barking up the wrong tree

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (6)

Meaning: To be looking for answers in the wrong place

Example: James thought Christopher was the one who broke the vase, but he was barking up the wrong tree.

7. Be a fly on the wall

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (7)

Meaning: To watch something happen without anyone knowing you’re there

Example: Nico wished he could be a fly on the wall when his sister discovered the toad he’d left in her shoe!

8. Beat around the bush

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (8)

Meaning: To avoid saying what you mean, often because it would be difficult or uncomfortable

Example: Don’t beat around the bush. Just tell me why you can’t come to my birthday party on Friday.

9. Beef up

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (9)

Meaning: To make something stronger

Example: My teacher recommended I beef up my essay with stronger examples to support my main point.

10. Bigger fish to fry

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (10)

Meaning: More important things to do

Example: Don’t waste my time with silly little things today. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

11. Bite the bullet

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (11)

Meaning: To do something that’s uncomfortable or not fun and get it over with

Example: After putting it off for several days, Alex decided to bite the bullet and start work on the history project.

12. Break a leg

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (12)

Meaning: Good luck! Often used in the theater before a play or performance.

Example: Is your piano recital tonight? Well, break a leg!

13. Break the ice

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (13)

Meaning: To do or say something that will make people feel more comfortable

Example: OK, since none of us have met before, let’s introduce ourselves and break the ice by sharing our favorite ice cream flavor.

14. Call it a day

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (14)

Meaning: To stop working on something and plan to pick it up again later

Example: After working for three hours on her science fair project, Sofia decided to call it a day.

15. Chip off the old block

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (15)

Meaning: A person who is similar to a parent in some way

Example: Kayden loves to play chess as much as his dad does. He’s a real chip off the old block.

16. Costs an arm and a leg

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (16)

Meaning: To describe something that is very expensive

Example: A new PlayStation costs an arm and a leg, so you’d better start saving now if you want to buy one.

17. Cut somebody some slack

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (17)

Meaning: To ease up on someone, to allow them some leeway or another chance

Example: Even though Jake was late with his English essay, Ms. Davis decided to cut him some slack since she knew he’d had the stomach flu.

18. Cutting corners

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (18)

Meaning: To do something quickly and badly in order to save time or money

Example: Liza cut corners on her math homework so she could watch TV, and ended up getting most of the answers wrong.

19. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (19)

Meaning: Don’t depend on something before it’s happened

Example: I know you’re sure you’re going to get the lead in the spring play, but don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

20. Drop the ball

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (20)

Meaning: To make a mistake

Example: Aisha said she’d make the poster for our project, but she forgot. She really dropped the ball on this one.

21. Every cloud has a silver lining

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (21)

Meaning: No matter how bad something seems, there’s usually a good side to it as well

Example: Jamal was disappointed that his soccer game was canceled, but it gave him time to go the movies with his friends, and his mom pointed out that every cloud has a silver lining.

22. Get out of hand

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (22)

Meaning: To become difficult to control

Example: Ms. Rodriguez told her students they could chat while they worked, as long as the noise level didn’t get out of hand.

23. Get something out of your system

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (23)

Meaning: Do the thing you’ve been wanting to do so you can move on

Example: Mr. Patel knew his students were eager to try out the new playground equipment, so he told them to go ahead and get it out of their system before they started class.

24. Get your act together

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (24)

Meaning: Behave properly, or organize your thoughts so you can do something successfully

Example: After the third time he was late to class, Connor’s teacher told him he needed to get his act together and start showing up on time.

25. Get your ducks in a row

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (25)

Meaning: To get things organized or make plans

Example: I have so many things to get done today! I need to get my ducks in a row before I get started.

26. Give someone the benefit of the doubt

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (26)

Meaning: To trust what someone says, even if you’re not entirely sure what they’re saying is true

Example: Charlotte wasn’t sure Amelia was really late because she missed the bus, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

27. Give someone the cold shoulder

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (27)

Meaning: To ignore someone, usually because you’re upset or angry with them

Example: Will and Jessica were mad at Emma, so they decided to give her the cold shoulder until she apologized.

28. Go back to the drawing board

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (28)

Meaning: To start something over again with a completely new idea

Example: When her science experiment failed completely, Hailey knew it was time to go back to the drawing board.

29. Hang in there

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (29)

Meaning: Don’t give up, keep on trying

Example: “I’m sorry you’re having a rough day,” Lucas told Olivia. “Hang in there. I’m sure things will be better tomorrow.”

30. Hit-or-miss

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (30)

Meaning: Something that might be good sometimes and bad other times

Example: Anna was a bit hit-or-miss when it came to remembering to take out the trash on Thursdays.

31. Hit the sack/hit the hay

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (31)

Meaning: To go to bed

Example: “Nine o’clock!” said Mia’s dad. “It’s time to turn off the TV and hit the sack.”

32. Hold your horses

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (32)

Meaning: Slow down, stop and think about what you’re doing

Example: “Hold your horses!” their dad said. “You can’t go swimming until you put on sunscreen.”

33. It’s not rocket science

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (33)

Meaning: Used to describe something that isn’t complicated or difficult

Example: All you have to do is put the books back on the right shelf. It’s not rocket science!

34. It’s raining cats and dogs

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (34)

Meaning: To rain very hard

Example: I hope you brought your umbrella. It’s raining cats and dogs out there!

35. Let someone off the hook

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (35)

Meaning: To not hold someone responsible for something

Example: Logan was caught running in the hallway, but Ms. Walker let him off the hook because she knew he was late for the bus.

36. Miss the boat

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (36)

Meaning: To be too late for something that’s already started or is over

Example: Sarah wanted to join the lacrosse team, but she was too late to sign up and missed the boat.

37. On cloud nine

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (37)

Meaning: Extremely happy about something

Example: When Wyatt learned he’d gotten a perfect score on both his math and science tests, he was on cloud nine for the rest of the day.

38. On the ball

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (38)

Meaning: To be quick and alert, dealing with things right away

Example: Alice got all her homework done and practiced her clarinet before dinner. She’s really on the ball today!

39. On thin ice

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (39)

Meaning: In a risky situation or position

Example: When Mrs. Chen had to ask Ava and Noah to stop talking for the fourth time that day, she warned them both that they were on thin ice.

40. Play it by ear

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (40)

Meaning: To figure things out as you go

Example: We didn’t get a schedule in advance, so we’ll just have to play it by ear as the day goes along.

41. Pull someone’s leg

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (41)

Meaning: To tease someone or try to fool them

Example: No, the cafeteria isn’t really giving away free ice cream. I was just pulling your leg!

42. Pull yourself together

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (42)

Meaning: To calm yourself down when you’re very upset

Example: I know you’re upset that your team lost the game, but you need to pull yourself together and go congratulate the winners.

43. Second wind

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (43)

Meaning: A fresh burst of energy

Example: Quinn thought she was too tired to go to the party after playing soccer all afternoon, but then she got a second wind.

44. Spill the beans

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (44)

Meaning: To give away a secret

Example: Isabella’s surprise party was ruined when Sarah spilled the beans a few days before.

45. Take a rain check

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (45)

Meaning: To postpone a plan until another time

Example: I’d love to play basketball after school, but I’ve got to go home to mow the lawn. Can I take a rain check?

46. The ball is in your court

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (46)

Meaning: The decision or next step is up to you

Example: Nick’s mom told him he could either join the basketball team or sign up for karate class, so he had to choose one. “The ball is in your court,” she said.

47. The early bird gets the worm

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (47)

Meaning: Those who arrive first have the best chance for success or receive the best things

Example: Grayson and Jayden showed up to find the best seats in the room already taken. “The early bird gets the worm!” said Maya with a grin.

48. The elephant in the room

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (48)

Meaning: A large, obvious issue or problem that people are avoiding mentioning or dealing with

Example: After waiting for Joseph to explain his bright green hair all through dinner, his mom finally decided it was time to address the elephant in the room.

49. The icing on the cake

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (49)

Meaning: Something that makes a good situation even better

Example: The band was excited to learn they’d earned a place in the regional competition. Finding out it would take place at Disney World was the icing on the cake.

50. The last straw

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

Meaning: The last in a series of events that causes someone to run out of patience

Example: “That’s the last straw!” said Elena after her little brother’s ball landed in her cereal bowl. “Go play outside!”

51. The whole nine yards

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (51)

Meaning: Everything, all the way

Example: Grace and Nora went the whole nine yards to make sure Hannah’s birthday party was really special.

52. Through thick and thin

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (52)

Meaning: When things are good and also when they’re bad

Example: Sophie and Chloe had been best friends since first grade, sticking together through thick and thin.

53. Time flies when you’re having fun

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (53)

Meaning: When you’re having a good time, you don’t notice how quickly the time is passing

Example: “Recess is over already?” said Ben. “I guess time flies when you’re having fun!”

54. To get bent out of shape

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (54)

Meaning: To get upset about something

Example: I didn’t mean to step on your foot—there’s no need to get bent out of shape about it.

55. To make a long story short

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (55)

Meaning: To give the basic facts about something instead of a long explanation

Example: To make a long story short, Liam tripped over his shoelace and that’s how he broke his wrist.

56. Under the weather

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (56)

Meaning: To be sick

Example: Miguel won’t be at the scout meeting today because he’s feeling a little under the weather.

57. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (57)

Meaning: If that problem comes up, we’ll deal with it then, not right now

Example: We might have a snow day on Monday, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

58. Wrap your head around something

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (58)

Meaning: To understand something complicated or surprising

Example: It’s hard to wrap your head around just how big the universe is.

59. You can say that again

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (59)

Meaning: I completely agree with what you just said

Example: “This pizza is the best food I ever ate!” exclaimed Mateo. “You can say that again!” Dylan agreed.

60. Your guess is as good as mine

60 Idioms to Teach Kids and Use in Idiom of the Day Lessons (60)

Meaning: When you have no idea what the answer is to a question or problem

Example: “Do you know how to solve number four in our math homework?” Maria asked. “Your guess is as good as mine,” David replied, shrugging his shoulders.

What other idioms do you teach in your Idiom of the Day lessons? Come share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus if you like this Idiom of the Day article, check out 13 puns and jokes only a true grammar nerd will get.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated: 11/09/2022

Views: 5680

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.