25 of Our Favorite Spanish Idioms for Kids
Idioms for kids are age-appropriate phrases with a figurative meaning rather than a literal one. They tend to be tricky for language learners because they’re culture-specific, nuanced, and don’t always mean what they seem to mean.
For example, I could say that I want to show you the ropes of Spanish idioms and phrases. This expression indicates that I’m offering to teach you how to identify and use Spanish idioms through definitions and examples. This English idiom was originally used on ships, where an experienced sailor had to show a beginner how to handle the ropes of the boat.
I’ve compiled an idioms list of 25 expressions for kids in Spanish so your children or students can learn and become familiar with these unique phrases and use them in conversation. Idioms for kids are essential for speaking Spanish like a native!
Let’s get started—it’ll be a piece of cake!
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What are Spanish Idioms?
Before we jump into the list, let’s take a look at the definition of an idiom. Spanish modismos (idioms) are expressions that usually don’t make sense if they’re translated literally or word-for-word. Idioms are used in a figurative sense.
There are dozens of Spanish idioms for kids. While some are common in many Spanish-speaking countries, others are only used in specific regions of Spain or Latin America.
By studying Spanish idioms, you’re simultaneously learning about both the language and the culture of the region where particular Spanish idioms are used.
Idioms are helpful for day-to-day communication because native speakers (of any language) use idioms spontaneously. But you won’t understand what they mean in conversation unless you’ve learned them. Their meaning typically cannot be inferred through context clues.
25 Amazing Spanish Idioms for Kids
Learning these 25 Spanish idioms for kids with pictures and examples to take your current Spanish knowledge to a higher level.
Sprinkling these humorous or thought-provoking phrases into a conversation will also endear you to native Spanish speakers.
1. Tomar el pelo
English equivalent: To pull someone’s leg
The literal meaning of tomar el pelo is “to take the hair.” It refers to tricking or making fun of someone in a good-natured way. For example, if a friend tells you they’re going on a trip around the world, you could say,
Me estás tomando el pelo.
You’re pulling my leg
2. Ser pan comido
English equivalent: To be a piece of cake
Pan comido is actually “bread eaten,” and this Spanish idiom for kids means that something is super easy to do.
Mi clase de arte es pan comido.
My art class is a piece of cake.
3. Estar como una cabra
English equivalent: To be crazy like a goat
This Spanish idiom for kids is applicable when somebody is doing something weird. In English, we’d say someone is “nuts,” “bananas,” or “crazy.”
Hoy Javier está como una cabra.
Today Javier is acting a little crazy.
4. No tener pelos en la lengua
English equivalent: To tell it like it is
Pelos en la lengua translates to “hairs on your tongue.” This Spanish idiom means that someone is straightforward, opinionated, and not afraid to speak their mind.
Mi mamá no tiene pelos en la lengua.
My mom tells it like it is.
5. Quedarse de piedra
English equivalent: To be stunned
Quedarse de piedra—“to stay like a stone”—refers to being amazed. A similar jaw-dropping idiom to express surprise and astonishment is quedarse con la boca abierta, which translates to “keeping your mouth open.”
Me quedé de piedra cuando me dijo la verdad.
I was stunned when she told me the truth.
6. Estar hecho un ají
English equivalent: To be hopping mad
Ají means “chili” in Spanish. This idiom for kids means you’re extremely angry about something.
A Susana no le gustó el video. Está hecho un ají.
Susana didn’t like the video. She’s hopping mad.
7. Lo dijo de labios para fuera
English equivalent: To put your foot in your mouth
This Spanish idiom means that a person didn’t mean what they said.
Lo dijo de labios para fuera cuando dijo que ella era fea.
He didn’t mean it when he said she was ugly.
8. Ser uña y carne
English equivalent: To be best friends
Uña y carne are “fingernail and flesh.” Although this sounds strange to an English-speaker, the idiom relates to being inseparable and close friends.
Juana y Dalila son uña y carne.
Juana and Dalila are best friends.
9. Tener un humor de perros
English equivalent: To be in a foul mood
Un humor de perros is literally translated as “a dog’s mood.” This idiom for kids relates to being in a huff or a bad mood.
Ellos tienen un humor de perros porque perdieron el partido.
They’re in a bad mood because they lost the game.
10. Se me hace agua la boca
English equivalent: To make one’s mouth water
This common Spanish idiom means that the food is so delicious, it makes the saliva flow in a person’s mouth.
Se me hace agua la boca solo pensar en el pastel de chocolate.
It makes my mouth water just thinking about the chocolate cake.
11. No saber ni jota de algo
English equivalent: To not know anything about a certain topic, to be clueless
A similar expression in Spanish is no saber ni papa de algo—literally, “not to know even a potato about something.” In either case, it means to not have a clue.
No sabe ni jota de yoga.
He doesn’t know anything about yoga.
12. Temblar como un flan
English equivalent: To shake like a leaf
Flan is a delicious, gelatinous Spanish dessert. The expression temblar como un flan may alternatively be phrased as follows:
- ponerse como un flan (to become a flan)
- estar como un flan (to be like a flan)
This is one of those rare Spanish idioms for kids that you understand right away. Use it to describe how you feel in any situation that makes you tremble or shake with nervousness, fear, or excitement.
Antes del examen de matemáticas, empezó a temblar como un flan.
Before the math test, she started shaking like a leaf.
13. Lloviendo a cántaros
English equivalent: To rain cats and dogs
“To rain to pitchers” is the literal translation of this Spanish idiom for kids. It’s an expression to describe a heavy downpour.
No salgas que está lloviendo a cántaros.
Don’t go out! It is raining cats and dogs.
14. Acostarse con las gallinas
English equivalent: To go to bed with the hens, to go to bed early
Hens wander around the farm all day, but once the sun starts to set, they automatically go back to their coop. Use this silly idiom for kids to describe any animal or person who goes to sleep very early.
Son las 5:00 de la tarde y ya estoy cansada. Hoy voy a acostarme con las gallinas.
It’s 5:00 p.m. and I’m already tired. Today I’ll go to bed early.
15. Ser un ave nocturna
English equivalent: To be a night owl
This idiom for kids is almost identical in Spanish and in English. Una ave nocturna (“a nocturnal bird”) and a “night owl” are basically the same thing.
Mi hija estudia por la noche. Es un ave nocturna.
My daughter studies at night. She’s a night owl.
16. Ser como buscar una aguja en un pajar
English equivalent: It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack
This expression is common among Spanish speakers, and it is similar to its English counterpart.
Hay unas 1.000 personas allá. Encontrar a Ana va a ser como buscar una aguja en un pajar.
There are 1,000 people there. Finding Ana is going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
17. No hay tutía
English equivalent: No way, not gonna happen, forget about it, no dice
Tutía comes from an Arabic word for “medicine” or “remedy.” This fun Spanish idiom is applicable in multiple contexts.
No iré a la escuela, ¡no hay tutía!
I won’t go to school. No way!
18. Ver todo color de rosa
English equivalent: To see everything through rose-colored glasses
The concept behind this Spanish idiom is identical to the idea in English of viewing everything with excessive positivity and optimism. It translates literally to “see everything in the color pink.”
No debes ver todo de color rosa.
You shouldn’t look at everything through rose-colored glasses.
19. Ponerse como un tomate
English equivalent: To turn as red as a tomato
If someone gets very embarrassed about something, this idiom for kids is the one you need!
Some English speakers might say, “To turn as red as a beetroot.”
La maestra se puso como un tomate cuando se dio cuenta de que tenía la camisa al revés.
The teacher turned as red as a tomato when she realized that her shirt was on backward.
20. Vista de lince
English equivalent: To have an eagle eye/a sharp eye
This expression refers to someone with great visual acuity and attention to detail. Ancient peoples believed the lynx (a wildcat) could see incredibly long distances.
Both the expression and the animal get their name from Lynceus, a Greek mythological figure who had such amazing sight that he could see through objects.
Necesitamos alguien con vista de lince que pueda localizar incompetencias y despilfarro.
We need somebody with a sharp eye who can spot inefficiencies and waste.
21. Tener más vidas que un gato
English equivalent: To have more lives than a cat
A cat has nine lives in the English idiom but just seven in Latin American lingo (El gato tiene siete vidas).
When we say that someone tiene más vida que un gato, it means that, although they may participate in dangerous activities, nothing bad happens to them. In other words, they’re a lucky duck—er, person.
22. Ser más astuto que un zorro
English equivalent: To be cleverer than a fox/sly as a fox
The dictionary definition of astuto is hábil e ingenioso y consigue cosas mediante engaños (clever, resourceful and gets things done by trickery). This Spanish idiom refers to people who are cunning and sharp in practical matters.
Será ciego, pero debe de ser astuto como un zorro.
She may be blind, but she’s as sly as a fox.
23. No tener pies ni cabeza
English equivalent: To not to make any sense
Translated word-by-word, this Spanish idiom is “to have neither feet nor head.” It means that something doesn’t make any sense at all—it’s illogical or absurd. In English, we might say it has “no rhyme or reason.”
Lo que has dicho no tiene ni pies ni cabeza.
What you’ve said makes no sense at all.
24. Andar con pies de plomo
English equivalent: To walk on eggshells/to tread carefully or warily
The literal translation of this expression, “walking with leaden feet,” originates from footwear used by scuba divers. Performing tasks at the bottom of the sea requires attention and caution.
Anda con pies de plomo en la nueva empresa.
Take your time in the new business.
25. Estar hasta las narices
English equivalent: To be sick to death or fed up with something
This idiom means that you are sick and tired of something, so it would be similar to the English idea of being ”fed up,” “annoyed,” or “tired of” something.
Quiero ir a casa. Estoy hasta las narices de viajar.
I want to go home. I’ve had enough of traveling.
See also: 3 Key Translations of ‘Harto’ in Spanish.
Practice Spanish Idioms for Kids
Idioms are an essential part of every language. These amazing expressions add meaning, variety, and sometimes even humor to what we say. Learning and using these common idioms for kids empowers them to interact in a spontaneous way with Spanish speakers. To give your child regular, meaningful Spanish instruction and practice, sign them up for a free trial class with our kid-friendly, certified Spanish teachers who can boost your child’s fluency and confidence in 1-on-1, real-time conversations.
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