You’re enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend and laugh at an outrageous suggestion, slapping her arm and saying, “You’re a monster!” You suddenly see your preschooler give her a sidelong glance and step away. Welcome to the wonderful world of concrete thinking. As a toddler, he learned that words have power and identify what a person or object is. Now, as a preschooler, it is time for him to explore symbolic thinking through the wonderful world of metaphors.
1 Show your child the real dog. Ask your child, "What is it?" The child should recognize that this is a dog. Make the child to describe the dog. Talk about the dog and how it looks and feels.
2 Show your child the stuffed dog and ask her to name the object. Look at the toy with your child and ask her to describe it.
3 Hold the beanbag in your hand. Move it around as you make yipping noises, pretending the beanbag is a dog. Ask your child to identify the object. Some children, especially younger children who are firmly in the concrete thinking stage, will call it a beanbag. Children who are moving into the symbolic thinking stage will call it a dog. These children are usually already playing imaginary games.
4 Show the child that neither the toy nor the beanbag is really a dog, but both have characteristics that are similar to a dog.
5 Introduce the word “metaphor.” Explain that the word is used when two different things are compared, like a beanbag and a dog.