Teachers Share the Most Hilarious Kid-Invented Words They’ve Ever Heard

Pockets = “snack holes”

Kid Invented Words: Life jacket= boat coat; broccoli= little trees; umbrella= rainbella; and cupcakes= party muffins.

Growing up, my cousin—recently arrived from Vietnam and still learning English—was struggling to find the word “colander.” After trying for several minutes, she threw up her hands and said, “You know … the bowl with holes!” It’s really pretty brilliant if you think about it. Kids come up with all kinds of words, and teachers are in a perfect position to hear (and enjoy) them. We asked teachers to share the best kid-invented words they’ve ever heard … and they did not disappoint:

Food funnies

My students called Parmesan cheese “Papa John cheese,” which totally makes sense because the cheese packs come with pizza. —Abby

Broccoli = little trees. —Stephanie

My kindergarten students get pizza made on a bagel once a week for school lunch. They insist it is “donut pizza!” —Diana

One of my kindergarten students last year said he had a quarter to buy a “rice Christmas tree” (Rice Krispie treat). —Pamela


Cupcakes = party muffins. —Deeanna

My kid called recipes “food maps” for years! —Jill

Adorable mix-ups

We’ve been talking about the importance of clean hands every day for weeks now. In every group, I remind them they can use soap and water at my sink or get the hand sanitizer on my table. Every single one of my littles calls it “hanitizer.” —Laura

One morning, I switched the polish on my toes to a different shade of purple. That day, one of my kindergarteners blurted out to his peers that I had “purple nail toes.” —Ashley

One of our second graders was playing pretend with a dollhouse type toy. He loaded the family into the pretend car. I asked where they were going, and he said, “To the bird port!” He meant the airport. —Rachel

Rainbrella for umbrella. —Brook

One of our second grade friends was absent because he “had the chicken leg.” What he really meant was chicken pox. —Kristin

I mean, you’re not wrong

One of my kindergarten students referred to “lowercase” letters as “downercase” letters. Makes sense to me… “uppercase” and “downercase.” —Jennifer

After sitting for a while in an assembly, a 6 year-old told me she couldn’t walk because she had fizzy feet and I know what she means! —Jeanette

While editing with a student, she suggested adding a “yelly” at the end of her sentence. It took a minute for me to realize she meant an exclamation point. —Mary-Carol

Describing a fox tail as smooth near the body but more wakey-uppy at the end! –Karyn

A life jacket is a “boat coat.” —Leslie

When my son was in preschool, I asked him what he played with that day, and he said “ear-noculars.” I said, “What?” He repeated himself but put his hands over his ears. I said, “Oh, headphones?” He figured that binoculars help you see better so ear-noculars help you hear better. —Karen

A student called our speech pathologist, “the lady that loves words.” —Rachel

What are the best kid-invented words and phrases you’ve heard? Come share in our Facebook group, WeAreTeachers HELPLINE!

Plus, 15 Words Teachers Officially Never Want to Hear Again.

Teachers Share the Most Hilarious Kid-Invented Words They've Ever Heard