Planning a lesson about body part idiomatic phrases

Good day to all; it’s Dr TEFL once again to help you develop engaging, fun and simply excellent lesson plans. Today we are looking at body part idiomatic phrases. Enjoy!

English teaching resources: Idioms related to body parts

English level: C1 – C2

Objective: To have fun and learn the meaning of some idioms


Most languages have idioms and sayings, and some of them are pretty similar. For example, some of them are called similes and often start with ‘as’, e.g., as blind as a bat. Others relate to body parts, like the ones below.

Activity 1: Presentation

You could give the students a handout with these expressions.

  1. That is a bit CHEEKY.
  2. I feel bad for her; she has a real chip on her SHOULDER.
  3. You must give him some ELBOW room.
  4. She was back on her FEET in no time.
  5. You are a sight for sore EYES.
  6. No skin off my NOSE.
  7. She was born with a silver spoon in her MOUTH.
  8. I need to get something off my CHEST.
  9. I must HAND it to you; that was an excellent presentation.
  10. Keep him at ARM’s length.
  11. She found out about the company Director’s Achilles’ HEEL.
  12. The pandemic brought the company to its KNEES.
  13. Management makes regular checks to keep everyone on their TOES.

If you want to add more, please do so. First, however, make sure to check the meaning and use of all idioms you introduce in class.

You must also be aware that there are differences in body part meanings in some English-speaking countries. For example, the USA may use FANNY when teaching body part idioms, but the UK and Australia will not.

Activity 2: Matching

Give students a handout with a drawing of a body. Tell the students to write the idioms on the corresponding body parts.

In groups, have them find out if they have any similar expressions in their mother tongue.

Do the idioms relate to the same body parts or not at all?

Activity 3. Oral Activities

Tell students to make groups of three.

Using the idioms they learned, ask them to talk about family members, friends, colleagues, classmates, or situations.

Another activity can be guessing the idiom.

They must mime the idiom. Speaking is not allowed. The group that gets the correct answer gets the point.

Was your class a success?

If all has gone well, your students should have been kept on their toes and improved their idiomatic phrase knowledge. If this is true, pat yourself on the back.

Keep an eye out for my next article. See you soon.

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