Descriptive Adjectives List for Kids to Level Up Their Writing 

Help kids learn what descriptive adjectives are and get a printable list to build their vocabulary and writing.

Updated December 21, 2022
young boy doing his homework

English is nothing if not a descriptive language. It's full of adjectives to describe everything from how tall you are to the color of a backpack. Whether you're a parent, teacher, or even a student looking for a list of adjectives for kids, you can find plenty of examples here. Find types of adjectives kids might learn at different age levels to make their writing and vocabulary more colorful. You'll also get a printable to keep handy, along with tips on how to teach adjectives and make it fun.

What Is an Adjective?

Words that describe people, places, and things, or nouns, are called adjectives. You can remember this by thinking "an adjective adds something." But what's a descriptive adjective? Let's break it down.

  • A descriptive adjective is one of the three main types of adjectives.
  • Descriptive adjectives, or describing words, give details about a subject.
  • Descriptive adjectives can help you understand how something looks, how many there are, what size it is, or what it's made of.

Having a clear definition of adjectives for kids is only the beginning. Now, it's time to break descriptive adjectives down.

Examples of Descriptive Adjectives for Kids

Having an extensive list of descriptive adjectives handy can help kids improve their vocabulary skills, whether they are at home or at school. You can look at a list of adjectives to see how some are describing words and others tell you different details about a noun. You'll also notice that some are simple and some are compound (like itsy-bitsy).

Adjectives to Describe a Person's Appearance

A world without descriptive adjectives would be very bland indeed, especially if you are trying to describe an adult or child. You can use descriptive adjectives to give details about their appearance, size, or age.

Looks Size Age
Adorable Average Ancient
Attractive Buff Baby-faced
Beautiful Curvy Elderly
Cute Fit Mature
Gorgeous Petite Modern
Handsome Tall Old
Hot Short Senior
Lovely Skinny Young
Picture-perfect Slim Youthful

Descriptive Adjectives for Size

If you're describing a building, animal, or object, giving details about exactly what size your subject is will make your writing come alive.

Big Small Shape
Colossal Baby Broad
Enormous Itty-bitty Circular
Gargantuan Little Curved
Giant Mini Deep
Gigantic Miniature Flat
Huge Petite Hollow
Humongous Teensy Narrow
Large Teeny Square
Massive Tiny Straight
Tremendous Wee Triangular

Adjectives to Describe Personality Traits

Whether it's how an animal or a person is acting, descriptive adjectives about personalities can be fun and useful. For example, you can say your brother has a bold attitude or your mom is a clever crafter.

Adaptable Adventurous Affectionate
Aggressive Artistic Athletic
Bold Brave Calm
Cheerful Confident Clever
Determined Eager Faithful
Friendly Generous Helpful
Lively Loving Patient
Practical Relaxed Sociable
Thoughtful Trustworthy Understanding
Wild Willing Zany

Adjectives to Describe Emotions and Feelings

Kids have lots of emotions, and they're often very big feelings. Different emotion words can help you share exactly how you are feeling.

Angry Bored Content
Delighted Disappointed Exhausted
Frustrated Furious Glum
Joyful Merry Sleepy
Upset Weak Weary

Positive Descriptive Adjectives for Kids

In a world where you want to be kind and happy, positive describing words can help you be positive too. It's fun for kids to tell their friends how amazing they are. You might even turn that into a lesson for your kiddos to write positive notes about the class using positive descriptive adjectives.

Acceptable Agreeable Amazing
Awesome Cool Cordial
Exceptional Extraordinary Fair
Impressive Kind Likable
Memorable Okay Outstanding
Polite Rare Satisfied
Sweet Well Wonderful

Descriptive Adjectives by Grade-Level

Not all descriptive adjectives are the same; as children learn and grow, they'll gain more advanced ways to describe things. The vocabulary your child has at four isn't the same as the one they have at ten. Get a quick breakdown of some common adjectives found in early elementary, upper elementary, and middle school.

Early Elementary Descriptive Adjectives

Preschoolers and kindergarteners are just learning how to define themselves, their peers, and the world around them. The descriptive adjectives they learn include color, size, shape, texture, and weather.

Busy Black Blue
Cloudy Dark Green
Loud Rough Round
Small Soft Thin

Elementary Descriptive Adjectives

Older elementary students have a better grip on their describing words. They are working to expand their vocabulary to include more complex words, like compound and proper descriptive adjectives.

Alive American English
Fluffy Left-handed Proud
Rainy Sane Simple
Spoiled Sticky Sure-footed

Middle School Descriptive Adjectives

By the time students reach the middle school level, it's all about expanding their vocabulary to make their writing more colorful and incorporating figurative language.

Curious Adventurous Scalding
Comely Exquisite Graceful
Melodic Minuscule Superior
Swift Tactful Tremendous

Printable List of Adjectives

Keeping a printable list of adjectives handy can help kids find new words to use during writing lessons or creative writing time. This list features nine categories that cover common adjectives, such as words describing feelings and words describing size. Click on the image of the list to download and print it.

Descriptive Adjective Teaching Tips

Learning adjectives can be a challenge for kids. Looking for creative ways to share adjective examples to make the most of these grammar lessons can make it more fun and engaging.

  • Buy or print flash cards with descriptive adjectives on them. Hold up a picture of a person, animal, or other noun and let kids sort through the pile of cards to find a great describing word for that picture.
  • After a child writes a paragraph or short story, circle all their adjectives and challenge them to come up with new adjectives to use in place of the circled ones.
  • Use mad lib style writing activity to help kids explore a variety of adjectives with humor.
  • Encourage kids to combine adjectives when describing items like saying "the adorable brown dog" instead of just "the dog."
  • Teach your child to use a thesaurus or kid's dictionary to liven up their writing and keep lists of new adjectives they discover.
  • You can also try banning certain generic adjectives to help your child be creative in making their writing more lively.

Describe in Detail

Writing in elementary school is important because kids really build their own vocabulary and writing style. Each descriptive adjective means something very specific, and kids can explore lists of words to find the right adjective to use at the moment. Using descriptive adjectives also just makes writing more fun!

Descriptive Adjectives List for Kids to Level Up Their Writing