We all know kids are famous for their creativity and amazing imaginations. If we never stopped viewing the world through the lens of a child, it would be a very different place. But thankfully, anyone who is a parent, works with children, or gets to hang out with their loved ones’ little ones has a small window into their brilliant minds. Recently, one uncle, Dedrick Flynn, shared a TikTok explaining how impressed he was that his niece referred to aquariums as “water zoos”. This sparked a trend of other users revealing all of the genius names their children have come up with for everyday items and places, and some of them are hilariously accurate.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite ‘alternative names’ down below, so that you can add them to your own vocabulary. Channel your inner child for this list and keep an open mind because you might be blown away by what these little ones have come up with, and be sure to upvote the phrases you want added to Webster’s Dictionary. Then if you’re interested in checking out a previous Bored Panda article on the same topic, we recommend reading this one next.
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This uncle recently started a trend online where adults share the best ‘alternative names’ they have heard kids come up with for everyday things
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When my daughter was a toddler she called tears “PANIC WATER”. I mean u ain’t wrong sis
Image credits: Brandee Glass
Children are so creative. When they don’t know the name of something, they have no problem coming up with their own based on what they do know. They do not have any mental barriers that adults form over time, so there is no hesitation in combining words that might sound silly to an adult but make perfect sense to them. Embarrassment is not a factor; conveying a message is what is important. But how are children so creative, and why do we all lose that imaginative spark eventually?
According to Paul King, a computational neuroscientist, “As people become ‘good at life’, they develop habits of thought that serve them well. These habits are thought styles that ‘work’ (get results, impress people, carry us through difficult situations). As we accumulate ‘thought techniques’, three things happen: First, we become more effective and able to ‘effortlessly’ (mindlessly?) navigate tricky waters.” Doing certain tasks and solving problems becomes muscle memory and second nature. We actively use our brains less often.
My daughter would call Churches “Jesus Stores”
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Like the little kid that called the dragonfly a “baby helicopter”
Image credits: user4610920515502
“Second, we adapt to social norms and accepted ways of thinking, making us more effective with people and society,” Paul explains. We become aware of what others are thinking and try not to step on anyone else’s toes or embarrass ourselves. We accept what we have been told, and we start thinking outside the box less and less. We know what an aquarium is called, so why think of calling it anything else? Why activate our brains when we don’t have to?
“Third, we become a prisoner of our own success,” Paul says. “Sticking with what works makes us both more successful and less creative. Why be random when you can be right? Unfortunately what works is what worked in the past and misses the enigmatic paths that lead to unexpected surprises.” Kids don’t yet know what is ‘right’ and what works, so they are constantly experimenting shamelessly. I wish I still had unfiltered access to that childlike bravery too.
My coworkers granddaughter called seagulls “ beach chickens”
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My daughter called a graveyard a “people garden” she was only 2
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My daughter called her ankle her “foot waist”
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Paul King does note that people who work in creative fields or those who exercise their creativity muscles are capable of keeping their imaginations fresh. “They develop predictable habits that take them into unpredictable territory. This is a lifestyle choice to stay in the uncomfortable territory of the unknown.”
“They may seek out people outside their profession, read random things, or force themselves to brainstorm whimsically,” Paul explains. “This systemization of creativity doesn’t have the bizarre arc of childhood imagination, but does combine life experience with creativity in a way that can be more impactful (and higher paying) in modern society.” So we’re not all doomed to calling items by boring names and having no creativity left in our minds, but an artist or filmmaker is more likely to have childlike wonder than someone who spends 8 hours a day crunching numbers on a computer.
My cousin called a mechanic a “car doctor” and I’ve never been the same since.
Image credits: Tim Byrd
My daughter didn’t know the word for thirsty so she said she was “water hungry”
Image credits: Cherrone
My kids call their robes “Pajama Jackets” it’s my fave
Image credits: Melissa Dee
As much as I wish I could come up with genius alternative names for every item I use throughout the day, if we all had access to the minds of children and their unbridled imaginations, kids would not be as special. According to Family Education, creativity belongs to children. That’s not to say that it is not to be enjoyed by everyone, but kids are certainly the experts in the field. “When coming from a pure place, children create only for the sake of play and for the thrill of inventing, never for a projected result,” Family Education explains. Kids are not playing and creating characters to impress anyone or receive payment. Their brains just do it for fun.
my daughter called gray. light black
Image credits: Kavonne Martin
My son calls knuckles Finger Elbows
Image credits: Sarah O Reilly
Wait until they call a rhinoceros a battle unicorn.
Image credits: herewegosteelers86
Family Education explains the place where pure creativity stems from as “Point Zero”, where “the doing is all that matters”. “Born from Point Zero, the creative force offers a marvelous tool for children to fulfill their need to express themselves, to grow and to explore their world.” Eventually, however, the connection to Point Zero can be broken by social pressures, rules and guidelines, classes and criticisms and insecurities. This is how many of us lose our passion for creativity that was once alive in all of us as kids. As sad as it is that we eventually lose this, we can work to make sure that children we care about hold onto it as long as they can.
I forgot to teach my kid what an owl was – he called them wood penguins ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Image credits: Ms. Smith
my daughter called a vending machine a “food ATM” once because she couldn’t think of what it was really called.
Image credits: Puffin0915
My daughter called mosquitoes “vampire bugs”
Image credits: Kristin King
When kids start to lose access to Point Zero, creativity goes from flowing freely to having a goal of achievement or success. But keeping the connection to their imagination strong can even have practical benefits, Family Education explains. When kids are taught to trust their intuition, where creativity stems from, they can become more self-reliant, have higher self-esteem and self-confidence and have an easier time making decisions. Creativity is not just about having fun and saying silly things, although there is certainly value in those, it also helps kids develop into confident individuals who understand what they think and feel.
My cousin calls the airport the “plane station”
Image credits: Love Jones
My youngest son would call any pants that weren’t shorts, “long sleeve pants”
Image credits: Shae
My kid called blood Booboo Sauce!
As adults, it’s important that we don’t stifle a child’s creativity. If they call penguins “cold owls” or geese “honkeys”, we should never make them feel bad or embarrassed about that. In fact, I’m jealous of how open-minded those kids are. I wish that my brain would let me say things like that out loud without feeling like I would be judged. “It is a great gift to children to show them how to use and respect their spontaneous intuition and to have them discover the magical surprises of creativity: a creativity that comes from a pure intimate source, from Point Zero deep in themselves,” Family Education writes.
My cousin didn’t know how to tell me she had a dream so she said “the story behind my eyes when I’m asleep”
My 2 year calls the hospital the Dr’s House.
My daughter calls tongs “salad tweezers”
We tend to assume that children only learn from adults because they are younger and have much less life experience, but we often forget what it was like to be in their shoes. There are plenty of lessons kids can teach adults, from how to harness our creativity to how to hop over two jump ropes at once. In fact, according to an Adobe “Hiring for the Future” report, 78% of workers surveyed admitted that they wished they were more creative. I bet 20 or 30 years prior those same people had no problems in the realm of creative thinking, but now they need a young person to teach them a lesson or two.
My nephew called an octopus a Snake Turtle and I haven’t gotten over it in 10 years.
My daughter calls the grocery store, the food maze
One time I told my son I don’t have money for something and he told me to get some from the “money box”. He was talking about the ATM.
Adults can even benefit from an active imagination in the workplace. One 2018 study found that in group problem solving sessions, teams that had some form of “formal creativity training” were able to come up with 350% more ideas than teams without the same backgrounds. Their ideas were even 415% more original than the other teams. Being more creative can make you more fun and a better asset at work. It’s a win win!
my son thought the tooth fairy and dentists worked together to sell dentures at the teeth store ( dentists offices)
when I was pregnant, my daughter called my tummy the baby house
My brother used to call aquarium a lobster mall.
We hope you are enjoying opening your mind to all of these alternative solutions to names of everyday objects and occurrences. Keep upvoting the responses you find most brilliant, and then let us know in the comments if you have ever heard a kid come up with a hilariously accurate name for something. Whether you plan to incorporate these names in your own life or not, you must admit they are refreshing to hear. And if you’re interested in learning even more genius alternative names, don’t forget to read this article next.
My son calls Bacon, meat chips.
My son calls Ranch “Christmas Ketchup”
My nephew calls the toilet a poop collector.
My friends kids called hand sanitizer- Hanitizer.. and that made complete sense to me lol
Image credits: KaayyJay
my daughter called humidity “chunky air” today…
Image credits: Stacy Hennigan
My daughter called a parasailer a human kite.
Image credits: https://www.tiktok.com/@jpfrederick1898
They have an amazing way of looking at the world. My granddaughter calls funerals heaven parties
A kid I know called the previews at a movie, the appetizers
Image credits: KristyLizz
my son used to call socks foot pajamas
Windshield washer fluid will forever be “window water” for me
My 15yr now but when he was like 6 he called the thrift store the lost and found store! He wasn’t wrong
My son calls cupcakes “party muffins”
my daughter use to call butterfly’s beauty flies
My son calls the trampoline a jumpoline.
Ill never forget the day we were eating a seafood boil and my son asked me for one of my “Strong Things” (mussels)
Burps= mouth farts. Took me forever to figure out what my toddler meant when he said “I farted out my mouth”
my nephew says its ashy outside when it’s a foggy day
Aquarium is so hard to say…water zoos it is. My niece calls Parmesan spaghetti salt. Kids are brilliant!!
My nephew calls me his “Mother Uncle”
My daughter calls her nose the “booger house”
I made the little boy I nannied for scrambled eggs and he looked at me and said, “this chicken is so good!” He wasn’t wrong as well
my son called lasagna, a pasta cake!
My son calls hamburgers “taco meat sandwiches” and scrambled eggs “breakfast pasta”
My son says chompsticks instead of chopsticks and stunk instead of skunk
My granddaughter calls Day Care “Kids work”
My daughter called ketchup a tomato smoothie …so yea
My granddaughter called condensation water dust
my friend’s daughter use to say “one body instead of somebody” when she needed help. Can onebody get me some water please…
My seven-year-old niece calls French toast sticks “syrup fries”
My son calls hot chocolate, chocolate tea.
My son calls clouds sky ghosts
ambulance = boo boo truck
leaves – tree feathers
my nephew calls fire trucks water trucks, it’s way more accurate and I think he’s going to be a genius
Cashews = smile peanuts
hair soap instead of shampoo.
When I was a cna my daughter was 6 around that time, she told me a was a granny sitter. No lies detected
My sons say choice-onal instead of optional
My son said the Navy was made up of “water soldiers”. And my mind was blown
bro they do that my kid just called soda spicy juice
My son calls Beef Jerky, Meat Candy
My son calls Olive Garden “the grape restaurant”
My son called an exclamation mark a loud period when he was in kindergarten
Pencils are organic pens
My son calls blueberries, bubble plums.
My son asked for a sandwich on raw toast. Bread, he meant bread
My daughter says a unicorn is just a horse wearing a party hat. She’s got a point, to be honest
My little sister heard crickets outside and was trying to describe it to me… She said you know that noise when someone tells a joke and nobody laughs
My daughter called the Zoo “Animal Jail” when she was 5 and I’ve been fuqqed up about zoos ever since.
My 8 yo called Waffle House “hibachi breakfast”
Lol my daughter calls quesadillas a spanish grilled cheese
When my kids are building legos, they ask for “the map”(directions) to show them the way.
corn on the cob= corn on the bone. helicopter= big headed airplane. kids are hilariously accurate!
my grandson called Christmas tree ornaments the ingredients that go on the tree!!!
My son calls target “the toy grocery store”
When our grandfather passed in May my little cousin said he was now in his ‘forever sleep’
My son used to call Walmart “Go” because every time I would say “We bout to go” we went to Walmart
My youngest calls tomorrow “tonextday”
My son calls the McGriddle a pancake burger
My baby says “ink pencil” instead of pen
My niece brushes her hair into a bunny-tail because her hair doesn’t look like a pony’s tail..
My son has renamed meatloaf-ketchup brownies, cashews-moon peanuts, and pant legs are leg sleeves.
When my son was little he used to call the sunroof a top window
Welp…my kid called a jet ski a motorcycle boat