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.
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.
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.
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.
Show the child that neither the toy nor the beanbag is really a dog, but both have characteristics that are similar to a dog.
Introduce the word “metaphor.” Explain that the word is used when two different things are compared, like a beanbag and a dog.